Sound — 10
Though their 1980 self-titled debut hit hard and is sometimes regarded as the band's best album, there's no doubt in my mind that Iron Maiden's 1981 followup LP, "Killers," was the band's first great album. And boy, what an album it is. Hitting hard right from the start, the opening instrumental "The Ides Of March" is a perfect way to set the mood for the monumental, epic proportions that the subsequent songs deliver. With blistering guitar harmonies (a classic Maiden staple that really wasn't established until this album; they booted Dennis Stratton and pulled in Adrian Smith, and the rest is history), a powerful drum line (Clive Burr, though not the best Maiden drummer, certainly added a great dimension to the sound), and, as usual, the most monumental bass you have ever heard, the opener, though just an instrumental, still manages to stir up the adrenaline you need to open up the album. Pretty much every other song on the album is worth mentioning, as well. Though I won't bore you with an extensive song-by-song analysis. May I be one of those annoying reviewers and say "You'll just have to get the album and hear it for yourself"? Heh heh, nah, I'll go a bit more in-depth. Adopting a more sophisticated production value than the debut, the album still does a great job at not being "overproduced." The raw, hardcore Maiden edge is still very present; just in a clearer, crisper manner. It's still intense classic Maiden at its finest. Let's just say it's not as perfectly-produced as "Number Of The Beast" (which, let's face it, folks, was pretty ridiculously overproduced). In a nutshell, it was one of the most fitting Maiden album productions to date.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, the band hasn't changed much since their debut, which, to be fair, was only a year before. Still, some of the lyrics, when matched with Di'Anno's rough vocals, attain a classic style all their own. The title-track manages to be gruesome and gory, while at the same time being suspenseful and just an overall kickass song. There's no better way to describe it. With "Prodigal Son", the band take on a mellower, more folk-ish style, both lyrically and musically. I could almost describe the song as Beatles-esque, but I don't know, that could just be crazy old me. Overall, the lyrics are pretty similar to the debut's lyrics, but you have to admit, that's still pretty awesome.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I feel that this is one of Maiden's best albums. Not their #1 best, but easily, let's see, yeah, #3. Right behind "Piece Of Mind" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." In my eyes, it shows a stunning jump from the debut, and was really the first album in which the band established a signature sound. Guitar harmonies are much more prominent, the bass still makes up major parts of the songs, the drums are much more precise and intense, and Di'Anno sings way better on this album than on the debut. I mean, don't get me wrong, the debut was awesome; but "Killers" manages to be one of the most stunning achievements of the band's career.