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Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden, Killers, Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind (Remastered)

Label: Sanctuary
Format: CDs
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


The Iron Maiden albums from the self titled debut up through “Fear of the Dark” have been reissued before with a bonus disc in 1995, then remastered in 1998. These current remasters (the first of three more sets of four), are taken from the 2015 digital releases and all vinyl reissues which restore the original tracklisting around the globe. So with that, the debut does not include ‘Sanctuary’, nor does “Number of the Beast” have ‘Total Eclipse’, unfortunately. Both great songs. Do I hear any difference between the two remasterings? Yes, there is more separation between the instruments and I will explain further for each album.

 

Iron Maiden

On opener ‘Prowler’, this new remaster creates more space in between the bass and drums, removing any kind of extra mid range fullness while retaining Harris’ tone and notes. The drums have a little more punch and clarity, yet the symbols still buried (better though on ‘Transylvania’). The guitars are a little more up front in your face and also have more metal edge crunch than the punky unpolished original mix. During ‘Phantom of the Opera’ the harmonizing between guitars and bass really shine, but the standouts, for me, are the details, melodies, and Paul Di’Anno’s voice that come through now on ‘Remember Tomorrow’ and ‘Strange World’. ‘Charlotte The Harlot’ deserves the live treatment in a medley with ‘22 Acacia Ave’’. The original artwork and colors are also restored.
7/ 10

Killers

The Maiden album most represented by t-shirts at their concerts, yet gets the least love every setlist. A terrible shame. Why, guys? Instrumental ‘Ides Of March’ and ‘Genghis Khan’, now with a little more space in the mix, Bur’s drums and fills pop (and throughout the whole album), while Harris’ bass really jumps out in ‘Wrathchild’, the title track, and ‘Innocent Exile’. ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and ‘Another Life’- two songs that should be in the setlist more often, really attack with urgency. ‘Twilight Zone’ was a single but did not appear on the original album in 1981, instead included for North America? An odd late decision, now again absent from the 2015 remaster. ‘Purgatory’ (excellent artwork) is fast and dark, another one that should get some love live, along with half this album. Like a ‘Running Free’ type rocker, ‘Drifter’ now with this new mix you can hear more how Murray and Smith’s guitar rhythms play off each other. This album is New Wave of British Heavy Metal at its best!
8.5/10

The Number Of The Beast

Beast established the Maiden formula of twin guitar harmonies, galloping rhythms, and soaring vocals of new singer Bruce Dickinson. Also, breaking Maiden into American households with the videos on MTV for the title track and ‘Run To The Hills’, and ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ as a crowd pleasing concert staple. Not much difference in the remaster for this album, second record with Martin Birch as producer/engineer so it already had clarity and punch. ‘Prisoner’, and ‘22 Acacia Ave’, get a co-write by guitarist Adrian Smith who also has his name on some of the best Maiden tunes. Smith, and Dickinson, are Harris’ lucky rabbits foot. ‘Children of the Damned’ showcases Bruce’s range nicely, but I must mention the fiery opener ‘Invaders’ that doesn’t get much respect? ‘Gangland’ is the only inferior song amongst eight classics.
9/10

Piece Of Mind

The album which closes what Maiden call the Early Years in 1983. Birch is back and brings a little more warmth to the mix without losing the guitar’s crunch. Nicko McBrain, the new guy behind the drum kit, is introduced with the opening to ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and he delivered one of the all-time memorable drum patterns. Two more MTV hits came from “Piece of Mind”: ‘Flight Of Icarus’, and their most recognized anthem ‘The Trooper’. ‘Die With Your Boots On’ and ‘Revelations’ (currently in for Legacy of the Beast) have made appearances through the years live, moody ‘Still Life’ only during the Seventh Son tour. ‘Quest For Fire’ is the ‘Gangland’ of this album falling short, yet followed by the catchy hook in what could have been a third single, ‘Sun and Steel’’, written by Dickinson/Smith. At seven minutes, ‘To Tame a Land’ Harris’ first real attempt into the epic format, and where the remaster brings the bass more to the front.
8/10

 
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