Sometimes the anticipation of rippage makes a song go so much harder. Consider Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast,” one of the truly great metal classics. There is no doubt that a song called “Number of the Beast” is going to get live, but Maiden knew the value of a good build up. First, there is the text from the book of Revelations: Woe to you O earth and sea for the Devil sends the beast with wrath because he knows the time is short… And you get hyped and think, ‘Oh, man, this song is going to bring it.’ Then the guitar starts with a riff that jams and Bruce Dickinson starts in with Harris’ bad poetry and you just feel that tension start to rise. Dickinson can hardly bear it himself, letting a little steam bubble out at 45 seconds in, and the rest of the band takes his cue and starts to rev their engines, and, god damn, that pot gets boiling and you just get ready to rage hard. Then at around 1:20, Horatio Caine says, “Looks like this beast’s days are numbered” and puts on his sunglasses, and Dickinson lets out a wail that makes Roger Daltrey cry himself to sleep at night. The lid blows off the mother, and for the next three-and-a-half minutes or so it’s constant back flips. God damn, this song rips.
And just for good measure, here’s another classic Maiden track: