It’s been a long 5 year wait for Iron Maiden fans. The band’s last studio album, The Final Frontier, was released in 2010. In the interim, the band has been very busy with a litany of projects. They toured the globe on a massive world tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of their landmark album Seventh Son of A Seventh Son, launched their own Trooper brand of beer, bassist and principal songwriter Steve Harris recorded and toured for a solo record, and singer Bruce Dickinson started an airline!
More recently though Dickinson had a very serious health scare that had Maiden fans holding their collective breath. The singer was diagnosed with tongue cancer in late 2014. This caused the band to delay the release of their new album for several months, while he underwent treatments.
Fortunately, it seems that those treatments were a success, and now the band is ready to get on with the future. They have announced that the aforementioned new album is to be titled The Book of Souls, and will be released worldwide on September 4th. And if that’s not good enough news, they have also revealed that it will be the first double studio album of the band’s 35 year career.
According to the official press release:
IRON MAIDEN’s eagerly awaited new studio album The Book Of Souls will be released globally on 4th September through Parlophone Records (Sanctuary Copyrights/BMG in the U.S.A.). It was recorded in Paris with their longstanding producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley in late 2014, with the finishing touches added earlier this year. However, the band decided to delay its release so that vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who was recently given the all-clear from a tumour, would have time to recuperate sufficiently to join in the preparations for the album’s launch.
The stunning cover art was created by Mark Wilkinson, who has worked with the band previously, and because this 11-track album has a total running time of 92 minutes, it is IRON MAIDEN’s first ever double studio album. There’s a broader split on the songwriting compared to previous Maiden records, with bassist and founder member Steve Harris contributing to seven of the tracks; 6 of them with Maiden’s guitarists and one sole composition. This is also the first time since 1984’s Powerslave that an IRON MAIDEN studio album also features two tracks written solely by Bruce Dickinson, one of which is the longest song Maiden has ever recorded! And also two Dickinson/Smith collaborations.
“We approached this album in a different way to how we’ve recorded previously. A lot of the songs were actually written while we were there in the studio and we rehearsed and recorded them straight away while they were still fresh, and I think that immediacy really shows in the songs, they have almost a live feel to them, I think. I’m very proud of The Book Of Souls, we all are, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it, and especially to take it out on the road next year!”
“We’re really excited about The Book Of Souls and had a fantastic time creating it. We started working on the album in late summer 2014 and recorded it at Guillame Tell Studios in Paris, where we’d done the Brave New World album back in 2000 so the studio holds special memories for all of us. We were delighted to discover the same magical vibe is still alive and very much kicking there! So we immediately felt at home and the ideas just started flowing. By the time we’d finished we all agreed that each track was such an integral part of the whole body of work that if it needed to be a double album, then double its going to be!”
The full tracklisting is:
1. If Eternity Should Fail (Dickinson) 8:28
2. Speed Of Light (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:01
3. The Great Unknown (Smith/ Harris) 6:37
4. The Red And The Black (Harris) 13:33
5. When The River Runs Deep (Smith/ Harris) 5:52
6. The Book Of Souls (Gers/ Harris) 10:27
7. Death Or Glory (Smith/ Dickinson) 5:13
8. Shadows Of The Valley (Gers/ Harris) 7:32
9. Tears Of A Clown (Smith/ Harris) 4:59
10. The Man Of Sorrows (Murray/ Harris) 6:28
11. Empire Of The Clouds (Dickinson) 18:01
2CD deluxe hardbound book limited edition
2CD standard edition
Triple heavyweight black vinyl
High res audio (24-bit Mastered for ITunes and non-Mastered for iTunes)
Standard res audio (16 bit/ 44.1 kHz)
The Book Of Souls is the band’s 16th studio album since their eponymous debut in 1980 charted at #4 in the UK, in a career achieving sales of over 90 million albums worldwide. Their previous album, 2010’s The Final Frontier was Maiden’s most successful chart-wise to date, reaching Number One in 28 countries and was their highest chart debut in the U.S reaching #4 in the Billboard 200.
Due to Bruce’s illness the band had to delay touring plans but promise to be out on the road again early next year, giving time for Bruce to make a full physical recovery to be ready for the rigours of Maiden live performances.