Iron Maiden to Release Third Set of Digipak Reissues – Fear Of The Dark – The X Factor – Virtual XI – Brave New World

Iron Maiden has announced the third series of digipak reissues via Parlophone today. New editions of excellent Maiden albums Fear Of The Dark, The X Factor, Virtual XI, and Brave New World released on July 26th. Following on from 2014/2017’s black vinyl releases and 2015’s Mastered for iTunes project, The Studio Collection – Remastered features recordings taken from the same remasters as the 2015 hi-res digital releases. The albums supersede the previously available studio catalogue and all titles will also be made available on streaming platforms. As a bonus for collectors, one CD from each batch of releases will also be optionally available in a specially artwork box featuring a 1:24 scale figurine and exclusive patch. In the July 26th batch, this will be Fear Of The Dark. All four albums in this set are available for pre-order now from the link below. Continue reading

Iron Maiden Books Dates For 2017 European Tour

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Metal legends Iron Maiden will “up the irons” some more in 2017 as they sojourn further on their Book Of Souls World Tour. All shows will be supported by American southern rockers Shinedown. Continue reading

Iron Maiden Announces US Tour Dates

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In a post to their Facebook account Iron Maiden has announced brief tour dates for the United States. The 9 date trek will cover major cities. No news about further dates at this time, since following these dates the venerable heavy metal legends have other dates book around the world. Canadian dates are forthcoming. Fan club pre-sale is October 6th. General tickets go on sale October 10th.Book of Souls (Parlophone) is out now.

 

Maiden will open The Book Of Souls World Tour in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 24 February 2016, playing nine shows in total, finishing up at The Forum, LA on April 15th.

The dates are:
FEB 24 – Ft Lauderdale, FLA – BB&T Center
FEB 26 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
FEB 28 – Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Events Center
MAR 30 – New York – Madison Square Garden
APR 05 – Detroit, MI – Palace Of Auburn Hills
APR 06 – Chicago, IL – United Center
APR 11 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
APR 13 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
APR 15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum

Canadian fans please note that your dates will be announced very soon!

Tickets are on sale Oct 10th with fanclub presale on Oct 6th – see ironmaiden.com for details.


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Iron Maiden Books First Official Tour Dates For 2016

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Iron Maidenhas announced the first of what expects to be a long string of tour dates in support of the just released, smash hit album Book of Souls (Parlophone). Announcing dates for New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, more date are are soon to be revealed. The band has confirmed previously that a tour of the US will begin in late February. So far all dates will feature The Raven Age in the direct support slot, the band led by Steve Harris’s son George Harris.

Front man Bruce Dickinson has commented on getting Maiden back on the road:

“We cannot wait to get back out on tour.

“When we start in the USA in late February, it will be 19 months since our last show at Sonisphere in the U.K., so we are raring to go.

“Maiden thrive on touring and getting out to our fans, it’s what we do best, so it will be a great feeling to board our new Jumbo Ed Force One with the crew and the gear and head round the globe and get back on stage for you guys.

“We haven’t played in AU and NZ for a number of years, so it will be a pleasure to play for our Antipodean cousins again, irrespective of who wins the dates with destiny at Twickenham in a few weeks’ time!

“Of course, we haven’t decided on the set list as yet and won’t until we start rehearsing, but we really look forward to playing a number of new songs live, especially as the recording was so much live. However, as it’s been a while since we saw you all, I am sure we will include plenty of older fan favorites too. I think the fans will be delighted by what we have in mind. We are also in the middle of creating the new show and rest assured we are working hard to bring you all something spectacular, something with a lot of heart! You certainly deserve it for your patience.”

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Tickets go on sale at noon local time on September, 24th.

Iron Maiden Tour Dates with The Raven Age:

Apr 29 : Christchurch Horncastle Arena, NZ
May 01 : Aucklane Vector Arena, NZ
May 04 : Brisbane Entertainment Centre,
May 06 : Sydney Allphones Arena, AU
May 09 : Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, AU
May 12 : Adelaide Entertainment Centre, AU
May 14 : Perth Arena, AU
May 18 : Cape Town at the Grand Arena, SAF
May 21 : Johannesburg Carnival City Festival Lawns, SAF

Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls

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The arrival of a new Iron Maiden album is nearly always something to be celebrated. Probably the most consistently inventive and compelling heavy metal band of the past thirty years, the band’s new record, a double album effort, The Book of Souls (Parlophone/Sanctuary/BMG), is their 16th opus. For a band with such a celebrated history, it is a joy and delight to confirm that it stands resolute as one of the best things the band has produced. Ever.

Given the backdrop to the arrival of this record, notably lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s unexpected brush with cancer, one could be forgiven – and forgive the band – if you thought that, given the turmoil, something sub-par might turn up. Not a bit of it. Far from The Book of Souls being a “will this do?” contractual obligation effort, The Books of Souls sees the band in ridiculously fine fettle, delivering an album with heart and chutzpah in equal measure. It is a record of heft, of innovation and invention. It is an album to cheer from the rooftops.

The first two songs on the album are Dickinson only compositions and, perhaps more so than any Iron Maiden album even since his debut on 1982’s The Number of the Beast (EMI) his personality and musical talent positively radiates and dominates the record. ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ and ‘Speed of Light’ are both superb tracks, full of power and emotional range, substance and guile. On ‘The Great Unknown’ and ‘When the River Runs Deep’, the creative and intelligent interplay between Adrian Smith and Steve Harris is much in evidence. Harris’s role as a key driving force in Maiden has never been in doubt; Smith’s song writing is taught and focussed as ever, his musicianship breathtakingly accomplished. It’s a performance of valediction.

For an album that lasts the length of a movie but contains only eleven tracks it is perhaps inevitable that much of the focus on The Book of Souls will revolve around the album’s epic songs: ‘The Red and the Black’, ‘The Book of Souls’ and ‘Empire of the Clouds’.

‘The Red and the Black’ is a Harris-penned song and his only solo effort on this album; however, when it is as powerful and inspiring as this, you need not worry. This is a magnificent composition, fourteen minutes of atmospheric, captivating metal that is so brilliant put together that you can only sit back and admire the artistry at work. Whether it’s the infectious wo-oh-ohs, the cheeky and cunning nods to ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ on parts of the musical interludes, or the sheer bloody joy of it all, it scarcely matters. This is Maiden at their most epic, most versatile and most bellicose.

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Photo from www.ironmaiden.com

The album’s title track is similarly effortlessly brilliant. A continent-sized riff eases the listener into one of those epic, universe spanning classics that lets Bruce and his not inconsiderable lung power free. It’s familiar, alien, exotic, defiantly Maiden. The middle part sounds awfully like ‘Losfer Words’, the instrumental track off 1984’s Powerslave (EMI) but, as with the rest of the record, this sounds more like a band embracing their heritage rather than plundering it.

It’s the piano that initially knocks you sideways on the stunning coda that is ‘Empire of the Clouds’. Dickinson’s retelling of a British R101 Airship disaster of 1930 is, simply, majestic. This is historical narrative set to a Maiden soundtrack, passionate in its re telling the tale of human frailty and human heroism. This is progressive music at its very best: complex without indulgence, structured but not arch. Above all, it’s a song that for all the talk of it being eighteen minutes long, is actually something that would benefit from being longer. It’s an extraordinary way to end what is, let’s not be coy here, an extraordinary record.

The Book of Souls is everything that you hoped it would be and more. In this world of short attention spans, the announcement that Iron Maiden’s new album was going to be a proper double, weighing in at a hefty 92 mins felt like some statement of intent. Iron Maiden have never been ones to follow the vagaries of fashion and given their history and their collective sense of purpose they were deeply unlikely to start that kind of nonsense at this stage in their career.

An album that works on a number of levels – the strength of the songwriting, the collective and individual musicianship, the range and power of the entire album are all deeply impressive. This is a record about confronting mortality in an adult and mature way but it is no maudlin self-indulgence and is resolutely in favour of life and resolutely life-affirming.

The Book of Souls is the collective endeavour of a band still resolutely in love with music and still gracious and humble enough to want to share that with its audience. Happy and glorious, from epic start to bombastic end.

 

10/10

MAT DAVIES