With the coming of Iron Maiden’s eighth album, a few changes have occurred with the band. The most noticeable is their new label. From 1980-1988 they had been with EMI/Capitol Records. However, their most recent album is their first with Epic Records, which hints at a possible new contract. It’s possible that even though the band has been around for eleven years, we may continue to see more from them in the future.
Along with the label change, they also replaced one of their lead and rhythm guitarists, Adrian Smith (co-writer of previous songs like “Moonchild,” “The Evil That Men Do,” etc.) with Janick Gers. So far, Gers has not participated in any songwriting. The influence of Smith’s songwriting has not completely disappeared from their new album since the song “Hooks in You” was written some time before he left the band. Bass guitarist, Steve Harris, wrote two new songs which appear on “No Prayer…” One of them, “Mother Russia,” is a song about the current revolution in the Soviet Union. Harris also co-wrote the first track on the album, “Tailgunner,” with front-man Bruce Dickinson. That song, like many other hard-hitters from Iron Maiden, is about the Allies’ bombing of Germany during World War II. With European history as a major source of the band’s songwriting material, Iron Maiden has created an interesting, mythical and definitely original sound for themselves.
Iron Maiden must be doing something right because although they receive no radio air play in England (their homeland), they still hit number one with almost every release. A good example was their first release off “No Prayer…” called “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter,” which hit number one almost immediately after release. The band gets no radio air play in the U.S. either, yet a huge number of their fans live here. MTV is willing to air many Iron Maiden videos but this is restricted to only one show (“Headbangers’ Ball”) which airs once a week and even then the band’s videos are rare. Nevertheless, Iron Maiden is still going strong and selling multi-platinum albums consistently. n