We knew that an Iron Maiden album would hopefully be coming out this year, and today, the band announced that the new album, coming out on September 4th will be called The Book of Souls. And while it’s been five years since The Final Frontier, the band are making up for lost time, as it will be their first-ever double album. While the 11-track album has a few songs that are under six minutes, they’ve also managed to outdo “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and record the longest song ever of theiir career, which was written solely by Bruce Dickinson. Here’s what their web site says:
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
Maiden will be touring in support of the album, but not until early 2016. Good to have them back. A double album is an ambitious move. It’s hard to think of any other than The Wall that are necessary. Here’s hoping we can add The Book of Souls to that short list.