Borrowing a bit from Alice Cooper we here at WMMCM would like to say,
Welcome to our nightmare!
It’s only fitting that we start our Halloween marathon with a guy who knows he’s heading to the exit. Very soon.
From Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast album, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is the song that for me defines the band. It’s got everything that makes Maiden who they are. With Steve Harris’ hyper-fast bass runs, Dave Murray and Adrien Smith’s dueling guitars all trying to keep up with Clive Burr’s drums as the delightfully bombastic vocals from Bruce Dickenson rain down from on high. It’s an absolutely perfect heavy metal song.
We start with our subject contemplating his fate.
“I’m waiting in my cold cell, when the bell begins to chime. Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time.
‘Cause at 5 o’clock they take me to the Gallows Pole, The sands of time for me are running low…”
Quite appropriately all hell breaks loose as the priest arrives and it’s time to go.
“When the priest comes to read me the last rites, I take a look through the bars at the last sights,
Of a world that has gone very wrong for me.
Can it be that there’s some sort of error? Hard to stop the surmounting terror.
Is this really the end, not some crazy dream?”
The band is completely locked together when they head off into the lead breaks and in an Iron Maiden tradition Harris’ bass is pushed way forward in the mix of the song. If you had Steve Harris in your band its what you’d do too.
As time gets shorter and shorter our victim seems to become more accepting of his fate.
“As I walk my life drifts before me. Though the end is near I’m not sorry.
Catch my soul, it’s willing to fly away.”
At last, an admission of guilt. Then, defiance.
“Mark my words believe my soul lives on. Don’t worry now that I have gone.
I’ve gone beyond to see the truth.”
When you know that your time is close at hand, Maybe then you’ll begin to understand
Life down here is just a strange illusion.”
Hallowed Be Thy Name” was voted the Number One Heavy Metal song of all time. I agree.