Howdy folks! It was been quite some time that we cowboys discussed a heavy metal album on our Album Talk. So we thought about one of the best metal albums ever and also one of the most controversial album, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ by metal lords Iron Maiden.
I rang up fellow cowboy, musicpedia and now an emerging master chef Narendra Kusnur and we invited a friend and one of India’s most respected and revered keyboardist Subir Malik from the legendary Indian band PARIKRAMA. When Iron Maiden played Live at Bangalore in 2007, PARIKRAMA were one of two Indian bands chosen to support the metal greats. PARIKRAMA went on to be the opening act on the Iron Maiden stage at the Download Festival later that year.
Note – Language may be changed to meet the publication’s requirements.
Subir: Number of the Beast was drummer Clive Burr’s last album with Iron Maiden.
Me: And vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s first.
Subir: Yes. Burr was suffering from multiple sclerosis so every year on the 24th of June, Iron Maiden would do a charity concert to raise funds for Burr’s treatment. We, my band PARIKRAMA, were very fortunate to be a part of it in 2007. The hospitality that Maiden would dish out for their friends and family was outstanding. There would the best alcohol, food, gaming zones and beautiful girls giving massages. NORMAL MASSAGES, OK!!! But for Burr’s charity concert even they were paying for their booze etc which was very ethical. They aren’t the kinds who will forget their former band mates.
Me: Which is the case with most bands.
Subir: Most people don’t know that the song ‘Number Of The Beast’ prompted me to play bass. I self-taught myself while listening to this song. I learnt the keyboards by playing the harmonium.
Kusnur: Which Maiden songs do you cover the most?
The Iron Maiden Legacy
Subir: ‘Number Of The Beast’ and ‘Run To The Hills’ were generally covered as a tribute to Iron Maiden. One of my earlier bands would cover ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’. Iron Maiden’s songs are known to have a wide range. There is this song called ’22 Acacia Avenue’ we used to listen to on tape in those days and our jaws would drop. You know, we would wonder how have they composed this song!
Kusnur: This one is my favourite from the album along with ‘The Prisoner’.
Me: ‘The Prisoner’ begins with a dialogue between 2 individuals.
Kusnur: Just in the beginning, then it goes into a completely different tangent.
Me: Typical Maiden.
Kusnur: But Dickinson’s voice in the song is mesmerising.
Subir: Just like in ‘The Prisoner’ even in ’22 Acacia Avenue’ the song takes a turn. One and a half minute into the song, theu change the tempo completely and the way they do it is incredible. There’s a part in the song where the bass follows the vocals and it’s heavenly. Apart from ‘Number Of The Beast’, this song too pushed me to play the bass.
Kusnur: Steve Harris has a huge influence on you.
Subir: For my bass, yes. When it comes to my keyboard, Jon Lord and Ray Manzerak.
Me: The opening song ‘Invaders’ is kickass.
Subir: With some albums, you realise in the first minute or so that this album is great. This is one of those albums.
Kusnur: Every song is terrific.
(Run To The Hills)
Subir: Even the second one ‘Children Of The Damned’ which is quite different from ‘Invaders’ is flat out heavy metal. The second song starts as a ballad and then it picks up.
Kusnur: Yes, yes it does.
Subir: Long back I was reading about a song called ‘Gangland’ which they didn’t want on the album.
Me: It’s on the ‘B’ side. I think they wanted to include ‘Total Eclipse’ which was included in the later releases. They wanted to release ‘Gangland’ as a single.
Subir: I think the first single they released from this album was ‘Run To The Hills’.
Kusnur: Yes, followed by ‘Number Of The Beast’.
(The Number Of The Beast)
Me: This is one of the rare albums where the side ‘B’ songs are more popular than the side ‘A’ ones. Of course the Iron Maiden fans will know all of the songs.
Kusnur: This is the only Maiden album I listen to completely. I listen to songs from their other albums but not the whole album.
Subir: For the whole album, each and every song, is epic.
Me: Even ‘Fear Of The Dark’ is a superlative album. Though this album must rank in the top 5 metal albums of all time and surely one of the most controversial too.
Kusnur: Eddie, their mascot, is shown in a way to be embracing Satan on the album cover.
Me: Also the song, Number Of The Beast’ got them labelled as a Satanic band. The track opens with a spoken introduction from the Book of Revelation.
Around this time, things got spooky over the call and we lost Cowboy Kusnur. He did resurrect later on as it is impossible to keep him down!
You folks better stay home and safe.
See you next week.