5. Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden
'Number Of The Beast' is the first Iron Maiden album to feature singer Bruce Dickinson and was their first number one album in the UK. Dickinson had a greater vocal range and stronger presence than his predecessor, Paul Di'Anno, and the songwriting was tailored to Dickinson's increased capabilities. Bass player Steve Harris was the main writer at this time and he seemed to relish the broadening of his musical horizons.
The punk era in the UK had influenced the rock and metal scenes, leading to a harder, faster breed which became known as the 'new wave of British heavy metal' - NWOBHM for short. Maiden were the foremost practitioners of this new strain, and they made a feature of the faster galloping rhythms that became their trademark. Lyrically they took their cue from horror films and fiction, mythology and even biblical references. Musically they were way ahead of their contemporaries.
At the time of its release, the band sported two great guitarists (these days they have three), who could both shred with the best of them, and their contrasting styles kept things interesting musically whilst Steve Harris wrote the book on metal bass. The essential introduction to the majesty of prime Maiden.