The cover artwork for IRON MAIDEN's upcoming album, "A Matter of Life and Death", has been posted online at this location.
"A Matter of Life and Death" is scheduled for release in early September via EMI. The album's first single, "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", will precede the album on August 14.
Said bassist Steve Harris, "This is a very intense album in many ways, and we really wanted to go with a lead track that demonstrated that in the best way rather than going for a shorter track on the album just to please the chart rules. 'Benjamin Breeg' is a great example of the feel of the album in its really heavy riff and lyrically it's a very dark, atmospheric and powerful song which really epitomizes what the album is all about for us. So it made a natural choice for us."
In true MAIDEN style, the single will be released in two special limited-edition formats, which by content will not be eligible for the U.K. singles chart. Manager Rod Smallwood explained: "There are various chart rules compliant to number of tracks, the maximum running time, price structure and all the rest of it. As for the new MAIDEN single, it's simple: we're putting out a two-track CD — 'The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg' and 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' (Legends Session) and if it's too long to qualify for the charts, then so be it. We have no problem with it being non-chart-eligible."
EMI will also release a special 7" picture disc with collectable sticker of the "Crossed Guns" logo. B sides to both formats are from last year's amazing BBC Radio 1 "Legends" session recorded especially for the Zane Lowe show.
"A Matter of Life and Death" was recorded at Sarm West Studios in London with producer Kevin Shirley, who also worked on the last two MAIDEN albums, 2000's "Brave New World" and 2003's "Dance of Death".
"'Brave New World' and 'Dance Of Death' were both good records," frontman Bruce Dickinson told Kerrang! magazine. "But they weren't anywhere near as good as this one! This one is 'Dance of Death' without the effort. This whole album feels effortless. It's like driving a big, gas-guzzling motor car. You just put your foot down and there's limitless power under the bonnet."
"It's been unbelievable," added Steve Harris. "We booked the studio for three months and we finished the whole thing in two. I think the preparation was good. We didn't have the rows we usually have! We really focused on each song and it was a very positive experience."
"The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", which will be the first single to be taken from the record, is described by Kerrang! as "an intricate seven-minute epic that starts with a creepy, ominous intro before erupting into a crushing, almost LED ZEPPELIN-esque riff and a powerful, emotive chorus."
"It's very different for us." admitted Harris. "It's very riffy. The intro has an almost nursery rhyme eeriness. Sometimes you try to create a mood and sometimes it's just there. Everyone's going to ask who Benjamin Breeg is, but you'll just have to find out for yourself!"
With regards to whether "A Matter Of Life And Death" marks a fresh lease of life for MAIDEN, Harris said, "Five years ago we were thinking about possibly retiring at this point, but now we're at this stage there's no way! Why should we? I don't know why, but I always had it in my head that we'd do fifteen studio albums, so we've got at least one more to go!"
The complete track listing for both the single and the album is as follows:
Limited-Edition Two-Track CD:
01. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
02. Hallowed be thy Name (Radio 1 "Legends" Session)
Limited-Edition 7" Picture Disc (To Include "Crossed Gun Logo" Sticker):
01. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
02. Run to the Hills (Radio 1 "Legends" Session)
03. The Trooper (Radio 1 "Legends" Session)
"A Matter of Life and Death" track listing:
01. Different Worlds (Smith/Harris) (4:17)
02. These Colours Don't Run (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) (6:52)
03. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) (8:44)
04. The Pilgrim (Gers/Harris) (5:07)
05. The Longest Day (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) (7:48)
06. Out Of the Shadows (Dickinson/Harris) (5:36)
07. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg (Murray/Harris) (7:21)
08. For The Greater Good of God (Harris) (9:24)
09. Lord Of Light (Smith/Harris/Dickinson) (7:23)
10. The Legacy (Gers/Harris) (9:20)