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metal talk
15th September 2015

iron maiden

Iron Maiden's sixteenth studio album, 'The Book Of Souls' was released earlier this month and it's gone down an absolute storm with both fans and press. It's gone into the UK charts at number one and created a massive positive vibe ahead of the 2016 Book Of Souls World Tour which will be the biggest and most ambitious tour ever undertaken by any band in history.

But have you ever wondered what former members of the band think of Maiden's latest offering? We certainly did and so we contacted every single former member plus some prominent non-playing former members to gather their opinions.

We've still got some responses to come in as one former member has just returned from touring South America and hasn't had a chance to listen yet, another is busy in the studio recording a new album while some are away and currently not contactable so we'll be bringing you part two in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, here's what former Iron Maiden members think about 'The Book Of Souls'.

Article continues below...

KEITH WILFORT (Head of the official Iron Maiden Fan Club, 1979-1996)

"I think it's the best truly group effort since 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' although 'Dance Of Death' came close. The approach of recording the songs "on the fly" as opposed to weeks of rehearsals and having more songwriters than mainly Steve really makes this album feel like a true group effort.

"The production is excellent and the musicianship is also excellent. There's also elements of vintage (pre-1990) Maiden in there too which they had strayed too far from in recent albums. If this does indeed turn out to be the last album, they would be going out in style."



"OK. I have been asked to give my impressions/comments on the new IM album 'The Book Of Souls'. I am flattered by the request. So, what do I think?

"This latest release is IM doing what they do best.. being IM. Immediately recognisable, quirky and anthemic. However... I don't think the importance of the album lies purely with the material - it is far deeper than just a handful of good songs.

"In my opinion, the IM of these days personifies so much more... unity, family values, staying true to what you believe, coupled with their pioneering spirit. All of these have held the band in good stead, allowing them to reach world wide recognition on a scale that they themselves wouldn't have thought possible.

"The importance of which lies deeper than just sales. It allows young musicians to be able to believe in their dreams, knowing that you do not have to conform to Record Executive's perception of how to "make it". Change allows new acts to flourish and follow their chosen path both in composing and performance.

"To use a sporting analogy: If a relay race is to be won the new guys have got to be there on the team, but the guidance, knowledge and experience has to come from the old guard...

"So ladies and gentlemen, I give you the experience that is Iron Maiden... continuing to follow their chosen path whilst setting the trend in what has yet to come. Long may they remain the role models that they have become - poignant, influential and relevant in today's music industry... "Scream for me... (you fill in the blank)". Thunderstick."


DEREK RIGGS (Creator of Eddie, 1980-1992)

"The whole thing is really nothing to do with me. Have fun, D..."


DOUG SAMPSON (Drums 1977-1979)

"The opening track sets you up for one of the best Maiden albums to date. Not one album filler. A sure fire winner."


STEVE 'LOOPY' NEWHOUSE (Roadcrew/Personal Assistant, 1978-1985)

"From the opener, 'If Eternity Should Fail', to the closer, 'Empire Of The Clouds', I struggle to find a weak song. If 'If Eternity Should Fail' isn't the new tour set opener, then maybe I've missed something.

"Then the band crash through a couple of great metal riffs, including the US only single, 'Speed Of Light', before we hit the only Steve Harris solo composition on the album, 'The Red And The Black' which starts and finishes with a bass guitar flamenco, but is filled with bone crunching bass for the thirteen minutes in between.

"'When The River Runs Deep' kicks in with a driving Nicko and Steve drum and bass combo, fuelled by three guitars that must have been on fire all the way through and that leads us into the title track and the closer for side one. This has 'Powerslave' written all over it but is a lot more polished. I noticed that Bruce's vocals really stand out on this track but what you also notice is the blend of three guitars doing what I haven't heard before; sounding like three guitars rather than Janick twinning with one of the other two.

'Death Or Glory' is reminiscent of a few tracks they did on 'Powerslave'. I can hear 'Flash Of The Blade' and 'Big 'Orra' all rolled into one, which isn't a bad thing, as 'Powerslave' is (or was) my favourite Maiden album.

'Shadow Of The Valley' is standard Maiden galloping metal. But this track is also back to the roots Maiden. I can almost imagine Di'Anno singing this. Although it might be slightly longer than Paul could manage in one go. 'Tears Of A Clown' is slightly different. It's a song penned by Adrian and Steve, about the death of funny man Robin Williams, trying to make sense of the comedian's untimely death and features some great lyrics.

'The Man Of Sorrows' is a Murray/Harris composition and starts like something we have all hummed without realising it, but soon enough it hits its stride and kicks you around the room, and when you think you've heard it all before you find you are way off the mark. And then there’s the final track.

'Empire Of The Clouds' is not just another great song. This monster is bigger than Godzilla on steroids. It grows on you, and your partner, and eventually devours your entire family. With a simple piano intro, and the slight string accompaniment, it slowly builds and finally crushes your brain into submission. Bruce has his finest moment, but I wouldn't put it past him to write something bigger before he's finished.

Overall, nine out of ten. I'm tempted to say ten out of ten, but what holds me back is the artwork. Eddie used to look a lot better. And going back a bit, I said that 'Powerslave' was my favourite Maiden album.

Not anymore.

Not by a long way.

If you haven't heard 'The Book Of Souls' yet, don't just take my word for it. Just get it.


BOB SAWYER (Guitars, 1977)

"...just listened to 'If Eternity Should Fail' - love the moody intro...!!! Yep, great stuff as usual from the 'Maidens....!!! Glad to have been part of their past....!!!"


CLIVE BURR (Drums, 1979–1982)

We couldn't possibly have published this article without including the one and only Clive Burr, who sadly passed away in March 2013, so we contacted Clive's partner, Mimi Highfield-Burr, who spoke on Clive's behalf...

"Clive would have absolutely loved the new Iron Maiden album. He would have been on the phone to his former band mates to offer his congratulations and best wishes. It's a great album and Clive would have been really happy that his old band are still creating great music after all these years and are still very successful."
Mimi Highfield-Burr, on behalf of Clive Burr.


Part two to follow in the not too distant future...

Steve 'Loopy' Newhouse releases his book, 'Loopyworld - The Iron Maiden Years' in early December and we'll have full details on the site in the lead up to the release. In the meantime you can read Loopy's MetalTalk column, The Early History of Iron Maiden, by clicking here.

Erwin Lucas also brought out a book earlier this year called Outside Iron Maiden and it's the definitive book on what former members have done since leaving Iron Maiden. Read all about it by clicking here.

Erwin has also compiled an album of tracks by artists with a strong Iron Maiden connection called 'Origins Of Iron'. A big part of the profits of the album will go to the MS Action fund in memory of Clive Burr. Samson, Architects Of Chaoz and Lizard are donating their complete share. You can read all about the album by clicking here.

Click here for MetalTalk's review of 'The Book Of Souls'.

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