I saw a Twitter post about “Killers” turning 40, so I did what every Iron Maiden would have done or should have done. Call it up on a streaming service and press play, or find the CD/Vinyl/Cassette, put it in the tray/turntable/deck and press play.
While the album is 40 years old, I didn’t really hear it until the early 90’s. And I didn’t listen to it a lot, so if you asked me to name the order of tracks from start to finish, I would stuff it up.
“Killers” sits in that purgatory state for me, between the end of the DiAnno era and the start of the Dickinson era. Thinking about it, I became a fan of Maiden during the Dickinson era, so I heard Dickinson sing “Wrathchild” before I heard the original DiAnno version.
So how good is that bass riff to kick off “Wrathchild”?
While “Killers” doesn’t have my favourite Maiden songs, each song has a riff or a musical section that just hooks me in.
Steve Harris wrote the whole album except for the song “Killers” and he got a chance to try out his progressive way of song construction. Instead of sticking to the verse and chorus formula, he would have a verse and then music for the chorus. Or verse, verse, interlude solo section.
He experimented on this album and we got to hear better versions of those experiments with each subsequent release.
“Murders In The Rue Morgue” is a Thin Lizzy cut through and through, just a little bit faster. If you don’t believe me, listen to those verses.
“Genghis Khan” has this harmony section from about the 2 minute mark and while that harmony pattern is being played, another harmony lead starts over it, with just a few notes and bends.
“Innocent Exile” has two sections that hook me. The musical Chorus between the verses and that whole interlude/solo section. “Killers” has the intro with the David Lee Roth like wails and then it morphs into the verse riffs.
“Prodigal Son” always stands out for me, because it reminds me of “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll” from Ozzy Osbourne in the arpeggio intro. They both came out the same year.
The strumming part also reminds me of another song, but I just can’t remember it. And the solo, its brilliant, with its Clapton like bluesy lines.
The intro/verse riff in “Purgatory” is speed/thrash metal heaven. And how good is that harmony section when DiAnno sings “Take me away”?
Clive Burr never got his dues when it came to his drumming skills. The dude could play so many styles and merge them all into one song. He definitely set a standard for the Iron Maiden drum position which Nicko McBrain elevated.
Happy 40th Killers. \::/