It’s been 6 years since classic heavy metal legends IRON MAIDEN have released a studio album, with “The Book of Souls“ coming out back in 2015. When the band teased that something would be happening on July 15th, 2021, fans around the world set their timers in the hopes that the band would be sharing something cool. That mystery was not the theorized cooking show or other suggestions, but a new single, entitled “The Writing On the Wall.”
It’s no surprise to anyone that Bruce Dickinson is not quite what he was back in the ’90s, but with such a grand tenure in heavy metal, one can hardly blame him. In fact, the last album was release when he was still recovering from tongue cancer, so the fact that the man still sings as well as he does in this song is nothing short of amazing. Surely, Bruce doesn’t wail so wildly and he has perhaps retired his vocal air raid siren, but that doesn’t mean he has lost any of the power, emotion, or quality in his singing. Truly, he is still something impressive to behold.
The song opens with some really great rockin’ riffing before a little more of that IRON MAIDEN flare drizzles in for extra flavor. It’s hard to feel like this is super metal at first as it feels like a really sick, chill rock song in the beginning. That is, before Bruce joins in and starts his vocal storytelling. MAIDEN have often had somewhat repetitive choruses that can be a bit of a bummer at times, but even though the chorus is limited to “can you see the writing on the wall” and “can you see the riders on the storm” for the most part, the melody line and backing music make it really catchy and easy to sing along to. The riffing is so deliciously good and the solos… oh, the solos! They’re not the fastest wankery you’ve ever heard, but they are so IRON MAIDEN and they’re so stylish. From the gorgeous rhythms to the smooth soloing, Adrian Smith, David Murray, and Janick Gers show off the reason why three guitars can be amazing. Naturally, the rhythm section keeps it all together with spectacular bass and drumming from start to finish. MAIDEN have never been boring lyrically, as this track has an element of fantasy, but also a clear political commentary to go with.
Now, a new single wasn’t all IRON MAIDEN was really offering, as they also released a new animated music video, with a story written by Bruce Dickinson (don’t worry, it’s 100% less campy than The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace), featuring a mysterious figure wandering through a wasteland, accompanied by the four riders of the apocalypse. Check it out here: