Great Metal Albums of 1981: Iron Maiden- Killers


As I reminisce about the great music that came out in 1981, I realise that I haven’t really been giving full accolades to what a great year it was musically. 1981 was great for twofold reasons. First, many of the established superstars came out with some great albums but also some of the more up and coming acts also let themselves be known in that year. One of the latter was definitely Iron Maiden. While I had heard of them in 1981, it wouldn’t be until the following year before I had actually heard them and I can’t remember which song it was but I know I liked it. I would eventually listen to and like their second album, “Killers.”

This album plays a major role in getting Iron Maiden the notice on the metal stage that would eventually propel them into the ionosphere of superstardom. There would be adjustments made in the future, especially in the area of lead singer. I’m not going into the Di’Anno/Dickinson debate but I will venture this: Listening to the track “Wrathchild” on the album and the live version on “Live After Death,” I prefer Bruce Dickinson’s voice as far as Iron Maiden goes. However, I don’t think that Bruce’s voice would be better suited on the next track “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” But enough of that, “Killers” is still a fine album from Iron Maiden.

The tracks already mentioned are good ones and I love the guitars at the intro of “Another Life.” “Innocent Exile,” another great track, is more like the trademark sound of Iron Maiden and the title track follows nicely after. The two instrumentals on the album, “Ides of March” and “Genghis Khan” are also very well done. However, as the album closes with the remaining tracks, the one that definitely sticks out for me is “Prodigal Son.” The slow acoustic intro grabs your attention and just when you think the song is going to be Iron Maiden’s token ballad, it surprises you by going harder once again proving that the guitar combination of Smith and Murray deserves to be up there with many of the best combos of dual guitarists.

Track Listing:

1. Ides of March

2. Wrathchild

3. Murders in the Rue Morgue

4. Another Life

5. Genghis Khan

6. Innocent Exile

7. Killers

8. Prodigal Son

9. Purgatory

10. Drifter

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Paul Di’Anno- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Dave Murray- guitars

Adrian Smith- guitars

Clive Burr- drums

Iron Maiden may not have been a household name in 1981 but their album “Killers” makes a clear statement as to why they would become one. You can feel their hunger on the album and know full well that they would be a force for good in the world of heavy metal.

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17 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1981: Iron Maiden- Killers”

  1. Your right about 1981 being a great year for music! I discovered Leppard as well as Maiden with the excellent Killers release and also got Into UFO as well! Actually on the Number Of The Beast tour. Maiden opening song was Murders In the Rue Morgue! Dickinson does pull it off( to me anyways) but yeah this album just blew me away as soon as I seen it in the record store!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I discovered Def Leppard in 1982. I would have to find a version of Bruce singing Murders in the Rue Morgue but when I heard it, I couldn’t picture him singing it in my mind. I never listened to much UFO though, going to have to rectify that.


  2. I had never really realised how many great albums came out in 1981! I love Killers, I think I probably prefer it (slightly) over the debut but they’re both excellent so it’s hard to say for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another stellar review. Your appreciation for “Killers” really shines through. Even though Maiden was the new up-and-coming band during my high school years, I never listened to them. It wasn’t until I was about 31 or 32 that I picked up four of their LPs on a whim (when you could still buy used LPs for $1-$2). The first one I listened to was “Killers” and by the end of Side 1 I knew I had found a favorite “new” band. I prefer Dickinson’s voice but I’m glad my introduction to them was via Di’anno. This album is a classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Nail,” meet “head!”


  5. I think Ides / Wrathchild is probably one of my favourite ever metal 1-2 punches. Eddie never looked meaner either!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m actually listening to the Eddie’s Archive, disc 2, in my car right now. So I heard a lot of these songs today, live. I have a live version of “Murders” with Bruce singing on the Maiden single for Running Free. It’s not bad but it’s a D’Anno song. I never really loved that song until I later got Killers and heard the original.

    Liked by 1 person

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