Having been around for nearly a decade by this time, Iron Maiden's sound was developing from their early punk-styled streetwise songs to complex masterpieces. The Number Of The Beast saw the beginning of this change. The band's 1984 release, Powerslave, was the moment where their new style shined it brightest. Like the previous release, 1983's Piece Of Mind, this album has the classic, and most likely the best, Iron Maiden lineup. Bruce "The Air Raid" Dickinson takes the forefront and vocals and sings with raw energy and power while having refined his ability over the last two albums. Guitarists Adrian Smith and Dave Murray play the harmonies that are so tight it's hard to imagine how they pull it off. They also let off some blazing solos when the time comes. As always, bassist and main lyricist Steve Harris lets himself be heard in the low end as he pounds, slaps and jams with the rhythm of Nicko McBrain, whose drumming is masterful and incredible. The album starts off with the classic Aces High. The song starts a little slowly but once the harmony and rhythm kicks in, you know your time has come. The song is fast paced; hard, heavy and powerful with some great guitar work and a showcase of Dickinson's vocal refinement. Next comes another classic and live favorite: 2 Minutes To Midnight. Slower than the previous song, the guitars are very tight while the rhythm is powerful as Dickinson sings away with perfection. Next is Losfer Words (Big Orra), which is one of the 4 instrumentals that Iron Maiden has recorded in their career. A very cool song, the guitars shine, the bass is all over the place and the drumming is solid and consistent. Flash Of The Blade comes next and this is an awesome song about fighting and being a swordsman. The opening guitar is pretty interesting but blows into a hard song that rocks until its over. Not much to say about this song except awesome. Another song about fighting, The Duellists follows up. It is basically a continuation of Flash Of The Blade with the heavy guitars and pounding rhythm but it is definitely a great song. One of my favorites on this album, Powerslave is an incredible song. Right away, the song hits home with heaviness. Dickinson steps in with the microphone and sings incredible lyrics about an evil Egyptian god. The guitar of the pre-chorus is cool and gives the song and evil type sound but the chorus is where everything shines. Dickinson's vocals soar while the other instruments play something similar to a march or even their signature galloping sound. The song breaks down into a soft piece but picks up again and ends in perfection. The final song, the longest song Iron Maiden has ever done, is Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. All any fan can say about this song is "wow". Its is simply incredible. The guitars gallop, the bass pounds, the drums flow and Dickinson's vocals are amazing. The breakdown with the spoken part is eerie but cool. And like the song Powerslave, the song comes full circle and ends perfectly. Words can not begin to describe this song. Among Iron Maiden's 12 studio albums, a majority of fans vote this album to be one of their favorites. It has everything Iron Maiden stood for from the beginning. Although a number of these songs aren't played live anymore, they are still classics in their own right and you have to love each and every one of them. I recommend this for every Maiden fan and any fan of metal in general. Go on. Buy it.