IRON MAIDEN have posted the following "objective" and completely "unbiased" track-by-track "preview" of their upcoming album, "Dance Of Death", on their official web site:
01. "Wildest Dreams"
Previewed on the recent "Give Me Ed... Til I'm Dead" tour, this is a dynamic rocker which kicks off the album with a bang. Judging from the number of people in the European audiences who could sing the chorus after only one hearing, it's bound to become a live favorite.
Literally a "storming" (!) song, "Rainmaker" is another racy rocker which keeps up the galloping opening pace. And again, after one airing, the chorus is instantly memorable.
03. "No More Lies"
The first of the four 7+ minute epics on the album, this is an opus entirely self-penned by Steve Harris, with typically thoughtful lyrics. The low-key opening gives way to a punchy chorus, with Nicko's drums almost Bonhamesque in their intensity, and the "3 Amigos" also shine on the three-part solo.
Inspired by an infamous episode in the history of the crusading Knights Templar and powered by thunderous riffs, "Montsegur"'s high-flying arrangement mimics the horror and confusion of the historic massacre.
05. "Dance Of Death"
The centerpiece of the album, "Dance Of Death" is an eerie tale featuring powerful and graphic lyrics and a guitar-based 'devil's trill' that is taken up by the whole band as they whirl away in a demonic reel. Steve Harris' storytelling at its best and most vivid.
06. "Gates Of Tomorrow"
An urgent guitar clarion call builds into a relentlessly fast-paced song, featuring a hard-hitting chorus and enigmatic lyrics. And watch out for the sizzling guitar solo in the middle!
07. "New Frontier"
It's only taken him 20 years, but Nicko enjoys his first writing credit with this tale of the dangers of man trying to play God by subverting nature. That message aside, it's an exuberant uptempo number that kicks serious ass.
The second song on the album inspired by a historic battle, this time one from the First World War, after a sorrowful opening featuring a needle sharp guitar figure, the band burst in with an instrumental arrangement that sounds like an artillery barrage. Another memorable epic.
09. "Face In The Sand"
Another enigmatic, atmospheric song which piles on the drama as it builds in intensity, it features a big swinging melody which is echoed in the central guitar solo. A slow grower, you'll suddenly find yourself humming the chorus when you least expect it!
10. "The Age Of Innocence"
After the deceptively mellow melodic opening, the mood turns from sorrowful to scathing, as Bruce spits out Steve's lyrics of disillusionment and injustice and similarly, the surprisingly smooth chorus contrasts with the piledriving riffs of the verse.
Although it features acoustic guitars and strings, there's nothing soft about this album closer, which showcases Bruce's vocals beautifully. Its truculent chorus with its refusal to compromise echoes the sentiments of "Wildest Dreams" and rounds the album off beautifully.
"Dance Of Death", due on September 9 through Columbia Records, was produced by Kevin Shirley, who, along with bassist Steve Harris, co-produced the group's 2000 album, "Brave New World", and last year's concert set "Rock in Rio". The 11-track CD was recorded in West London prior to the band's current European tour, and will include a stereo mix and a 5.1 Surround Sound mix.
"Brave New World" debuted at No. 39 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 260,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The band will kick off a North American tour July 21 in Worcester, Mass. The trek, which will also feature DIO and MOTÖRHEAD, will be on the road through the end of August.
In other news, click here to view footage of IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA performing live at this year's Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark.