Iron Maiden’s debut record remains one of my personal favourite albums. I listened to it at a time when I was influenced by Steve Harris’s incredible flurry on his Fender Precision basses. To go back and hear that first record was mind-bending. The second album “Killers” added a rougher edge to the evolving sound structure of the band. It would be the last studio album with vocalist Paul Di’Anno whose contributions often get overlooked by some interpretations of metal history.
Bassist Steve Harris already emerged as the lead songwriter for Maiden. His powerful bass work rightfully is recognized as a solid foundation. He emerged as a gifted composer with excellent arranging skills. His bass playing was and still is front and center of the mixes. The instrumental lead-off “The Ides of March” gives listeners an insight into where this musical journey is going. Coasting from “Wrathchild” and “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a perfect trip through tempo changes and intricate musicianship.
“Innocent Exile” has Steve Harris charging out of the gate with another bass introduction to a song before taking many different turns. It is a track few appear to talk about in Maiden’s history. Even while clocking in at just under for minutes it invokes a feel of progessive metal with an interesting short story for lyrics. Paul Di’Anno turns in one of his arguably finest vocal performances. It is a great song before leading into the album’s title track. “Killers” features a few amazing prominent descending lead guitar lines in between verses. That is one track I would love to discuss with Steve Harris and how the amazing guitar work was factored into the composition.
“Prodigal Son” has a perfect place on the record. It slows things down a bit while keeping the musical trip travelling. More progressive-rock elements appear prominent. The album then closes with two brilliant smashers in “Purgatory” and “Drifter”.
Like the first record, the tracks on Killers offers a complete record of interesting turns. You would think the musician performances are from super-skilled and well-seasoned veterans. It’s a start to finish fascinating listen. It was a slowly-closing page and chapter on the band’s history leading up to Bruce Dickinson joining, which would also change the landscape of metal for good and for the better.