Well kids the writing has been on the wall for a while, it may be six years since we’ve had any new music from the British NWOBHM legends but the band has been hinting at it for a few weeks. The clever social media tease campaign Belshazzer’s Fest has had Iron Maiden fans in furious discussion over what it all means. And folks here it is, the new song ‘The Writing On The Wall’. Leaping out of bed at stupid O’clock, jamming earpods in my head and firing up Spotify my first impression I wasn’t quite sure where the band was going with this. The song starts with an acoustic intro, I instantly thought Maiden had gone country, there’s a definite twang to the guitar work. This gives way to a blusey stomp, something I don’t think I’ve ever heard from this band I’ve been following since 1982.
It isn’t until Steve Harris’ unmistakable bass hits that it sounds even remotely like an Iron Maiden song. Enter the man known as the “Air Raid Siren” and there’s no mistaking with Bruce Dickinson’s vocals, this is indeed Iron Maiden. But not as we know them. The signature machine gun bass lines and Nicko McBrain’s double kick have been replaced by a bluesy swing, it’s refreshing and a little bit surprising. If you had asked me what to expect in a new Maiden single it wouldn’t be this. What we do get though is the familiar triple guitar chorus, from Janick Gers, Dave Murray and co-writer Adrian Smith. The three effortlessly transition from the bluesy swing into a more traditional sound, one that’s reminiscent of the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album. I wonder, is this the writing on the wall for the direction of a new album? If it is, I for one am all in!
‘The Writing On The Wall’ is unmistakably Iron Maiden, but it’s not without a few surprises. The band have an uncanny ability to make a six minute song feel much shorter, getting to the end of this I thought, is that it? Gimme more! Rinse repeat. For an extra layer check out the aminated video, its full of easter eggs, versions of Eddie from through the years and even a couple of smoking guards looking decidedly like Aussie bushranger Ned Kelly. Up the Irons, this will cure your lockdown blues.
Written by Gareth Williams (@notgareth)
Stream ‘The Writing On The Wall‘ here