Legendary English heavy metal giants Iron Maiden have returned with their first new music in six years, the moody and majestic ‘The Writing on the Wall’.
Starting off with a gentle acoustic guitar intro, the song quickly kicks into a desert-adjacent blues rock stomp that sounds more at home on a Bad Company record than a traditional Iron Maiden track. Unmistakably featuring Bruce Dickinson’s banshee wail and the twin guitar attack of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, the song is still a stylistic shift away from the breakneck speeds and gallant gallop of the band’s usual sound.
Nowhere to be found are Steve Harris’ furious and thunderous bass lines of the past or Nicko McBrain’s pummeling and punishing beats. Both pair back their standard “more is more” techniques and settle into a rollicking groove. The track is still a balls to the wall Iron Maiden song, but it has a triumphant elegance rather than a take no prisoners attack, as if the band know that they reside at the top of the heavy metal mountain.
The song comes with a seven minute animated video that features Pixar executives Mark Andrews and Andrew Gordon as part of the productions collaborative team.
“I had a pretty clear idea of the concept to accompany the song,” Dickinson explained, “And when I met Mark and Andrew, on Zoom, it quickly became clear we were all very much on the same wavelength, and this was reinforced with the addition of Nicos and his young BlinkInk team. Our weekly team Zoom meetings were then usually both highly creative and a lot of fun.”
It’s heartwarming to see Iron Maiden collaborate on Zoom like a bunch of normal people trying to get their jobs done. I wonder what those meetings were like. Did Janick Gers crack jokes as an ice breaker? Did Dave Murray not now how to unmute himself? Did they leave touring keyboardist Michael Kenney in the waiting room?
“I’m very proud of the way the video turned out, it’s more like a mini-film really,” Dickinson continues. “I knew it was going to work out as soon as Mark brought my treatment to life with his incredible storyboards – I thought we could make something very special together. I think we did and hope our fans will agree. In fact it’s pretty much created by Maiden fans!”
Check out the “mini-film” of ‘The Writings on the Wall’ down below.