Could The Book of Souls Be Iron Maiden's Best Recent Effort?

by Alex Ghali

Alright, freaks and geeks, better late than never! In case you missed the news, Iron Maiden are putting on the final touches for their upcoming release, The Book of Souls. Nope, not “Still working on it,” nor “Heading back to the studio”! It’s full steam ahead for the legends, and they’ve announced a release date: September 4th of this year.

What’s more, they’ve even revealed the album art and track listing for Book of Souls. While the names of each track should strike fans as more cryptic and gripping than previous releases, the duration of each track is even more noteworthy: Maiden has enjoyed a reputation for composing lengthy epics, but they really seem to be pushing the envelope this time.

The shortest track, Tears of a Clown, is roughly 5 minutes long, while the title track, the album’s fulcrum, clocks in at 10:27. As the band knows how to end an album, it’s fitting they follow their tradition of making the last track the longest and most metal: Empire of the Clouds clocks in at a monstrous 18 minutes. This, combined with The Book of Souls being a double album, makes it the band’s most ambitious effort to date (maybe more so than my favorite Maiden album, 1986’s Somewhere in Time).

Another detail that sets this album apart from the rest of its catalogue is its context: for those of you haven’t heard, frontman Bruce Dickinson had undergone treatment for tongue cancer, and recently came out with the good news that it’s been all quashed. This may have had an impact on the recording process, but it most definitely will show on tour. In any case, we’re going optimistic and see this as Bruce and the band’s return to kicking ass. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see, but here’s what the band had to say:

“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!” – Steve Harris.

“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!”-Bruce Dickinson.

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