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Dance of Death and A Matter of Life and Death (2003–2007)

Following their Give Me Ed... 'Til I'm Dead Tour in the summer of 2003, Iron Maiden released Dance of Death, their thirteenth studio album, which was met by worldwide critical and commercial success. Produced by Kevin Shirley, now the band's regular producer, many critics also felt that this release matched up to their earlier efforts, such as KillersPiece of Mind and The Number of the Beast. As usual, historical and literary references were present, with "Montségur" in particular being about the Cathar stronghold conquered in 1244, and "Paschendale" relating to the significant battle which took place during The First World War. During the following tour, the band's performance at Westfalenhalle, in Dortmund, Germany, was recorded and released in August 2005 as a live album and DVD, entitled Death on the Road.

In 2005, the band announced the Eddie Rips Up the World Tour which, tying in with their 2004 DVD entitled The History of Iron Maiden – Part 1: The Early Days, only featured material from their first four albums. As part of this celebration of their earlier years, "The Number of the Beast" single was re-released and went straight to No. 3 in the UK Chart. The tour included many headlining stadium and festival dates, including a performance at Ullevi Stadium in Sweden to an audience of almost 60,000. This concert was also broadcast live on satellite television all over Europe to approximately 60 million viewers. Following this run of European shows, the band co-headlined the US festival tour, Ozzfest, with Black Sabbath, their final performance at which earned international press coverage after their show was sabotaged by singer Ozzy Osbourne's family, who took offence to Dickinson's remarks against reality-TV. The band completed the tour by headlining the Reading and Leeds Festivals on the 26–28 August, and the RDS Stadium in Ireland on 31 August. For the second time, the band played a charity show for The Clive Burr MS Trust Fund, this time taking place at the Hammersmith Apollo. The same year, the band were inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

At the end of 2005, Iron Maiden began work on A Matter of Life and Death, their fourteenth studio effort, released in autumn 2006. While not a concept album, war and religion are recurring themes in the lyrics, as well as in the cover artwork. The release was a critical and commercial success, earning the band their first top ten in the Billboard 200 and receiving the Album of the Year award at the 2006 Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards

supporting tour followed, during which they played the album in its entirety; response to this was mixed.

The second part of the "A Matter of Life and Death" tour, which took place in 2007, was dubbed "A Matter of the Beast" to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Number of the Beast album, and included appearances at several major festivals worldwide. The tour opened in the Middle East with the band's first performance in Dubai at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival, after which they played to over 30,000 people at the BangalorePalace  Grounds,  marking the first concert by any major heavy metal band in the Indian sub-continent. The band went on to play a string of European dates, including an appearance at Download Festival, their fourth headline performance at Donington Park, to approximately 80,000 people. On 24 June they ended the tour with a performance at London's Brixton Academy in aid of The Clive Burr MS Trust fund.

Somewhere Back in Time World Tour and Flight 666 (2007–2009)  

On 5 September 2007, the band announced their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, which tied in with the DVD release of their Live After Death album. The setlist for the tour consisted of successes from the 1980s, with a specific emphasis on the Powerslave era for set design. The first part of the tour, commencing in Mumbai, India on 1 February 2008, consisted of 24 concerts in 21 cities, travelling nearly 50,000 miles in the band's own chartered aeroplane, named "Ed Force One". They played their first ever concerts in Costa Rica and Colombia and their first shows in Australia and Puerto Rico since 1992.

The tour led to the release of a new compilation album, entitled Somewhere Back in Time, which included a selection of tracks from their 1980 eponymous debut to 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, as well as several live versions from Live After Death.

The Somewhere Back in Time World Tour continued with two further legs in the US and Europe in the summer of 2008, during which the band used a more expansive stage-set, including further elements of the original Live After Death show. With the sole UK concert taking place at Twickenham Stadium, this would be the first time the band would headline a stadium in their own country. The three 2008 legs of the tour were remarkably successful; it was the second highest grossing tour of the year for a British artist.

The last part of the tour took place in February and March 2009, with the band, once again, using "Ed Force One". The final leg included the band's first ever appearances in Peru and Ecuador, as well as their return to Venezuela and New Zealand after 17 years. The band also played another show in India (their third in the country within a span of 2 years) at the Rock in India festival to a crowd of 20,000. At their concert in São Paulo on 15 March, Dickinson announced on stage that it was the largest non-festival show of their career, with an overall attendance of 63,000 people. The final leg ended in Florida on 2 April after which the band took a break. Overall, the tour reportedly had an attendance of over two million people worldwide over both years.

At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Iron Maiden won the award for best British live act. Voted for by the public, the band reportedly won by a landslide.

On 20 January 2009, the band announced that they were to release a full-length documentary film in select cinemas on 21 April 2009. Entitled Iron Maiden: Flight 666, it was filmed during the first part of the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour between February and March 2008. Flight 666 was co-produced by Banger Productions and was distributed in cinemas by Arts Alliance Media and EMI, with D&E Entertainment sub-distributing in the US. The film went on to have a Blu-ray, DVD and CD release in May and June, topping the music DVD charts in 22 countries.

The Final Frontier and Maiden England World Tour (2010–2014)  

Following announcements that the band had begun composition of new material and booked studio time in early 2010 with Kevin Shirley producing, The Final Frontier was announced on 4 March. The album, the band's fifteenth, was released on 16 August, garnering critical acclaim and the band's greatest commercial success in their history, reaching No. 1 in twenty-eight countries worldwide. Although Steve Harris had been quoted in the past as claiming that the band would only produce fifteen studio releases, band members have since confirmed that there will be at least one further record.

The album's supporting tour saw the band perform 98 shows across the globe to an estimated audience of over 2 million, including their first visits to Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea, before concluding in London on 6 August 2011. As the tour's 2010 leg preceded The Final Frontier's release, the band made "El Dorado" available as a free download on 8 June, which would go on to win the award for Best Metal Performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards on 13 February 2011. It is the band's first win following two previous Grammy nominations ("Fear of the Dark" in 1994 and "The Wicker Man" in 2001).

On 15 March, a new compilation to accompany 2009's Somewhere Back in Time was announced. Entitled From Fear to Eternity, the original release date was set at 23 May but was later pushed back to 6 June. The double disc set covers the period 1990–2010 (the band's most recent eight studio albums), and, as on Somewhere Back in Time, live versions with Bruce Dickinson were included in place of original recordings which featured other vocalists, in this case Blaze Bayley.

In a press release regarding From Fear to Eternity, band manager Rod Smallwood revealed that Iron Maiden will release a new concert video to DVD in 2011, filmed in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina during The Final Frontier World Tour. On 17 January 2012, the band announced that the new release, entitled En Vivo!, based on footage from the Chile concert, will be made available worldwide on CD, LP, DVD and Blu-ray on 26 March, except the United States and Canada (where it was released on 27 March). In addition to the concert footage, the video release includes an 88-minute tour documentary, entitled Behind The Beast, containing interviews with the band and their crew. In December 2012, one song from the release ("Blood Brothers") was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

On 15 February 2012, the band announced the Maiden England World Tour  2012–14, which was based around the video of the same name. The tour commenced in North America in the summer of 2012 and was followed by further dates in 2013 and 2014, which included the band's record-breaking fifth headline performance at Donington Park, their first show at the newly built national stadium in Stockholm, a return to the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil, and their debut appearance in Paraguay. In August 2012, Steve Harris stated that the Maiden England video would be re-issued in 2013, with a release date later set for 25 March 2013 in DVD, CD and LP formats under the title Maiden England '88.

The Book of Souls (2015–present)

Following confirmation from the group that 2010's The Final Frontier would not be their last album, Bruce Dickinson revealed plans for a sixteenth studio record in July 2013, with a potential release date in 2015. In February 2015, drummer Nicko McBrain revealed that a new album had been completed, although the release has been put on hold while Dickinson recovers from treatment for a cancerous tumour found on his tongue. On 15 May, after Dickinson had been given the all-clear, manager Rod Smallwood confirmed that the album would be released in 2015, although the band will not tour until 2016 to allow Dickinson to recuperate. On 18 June 2015, the band's website announced its title, The Book of Souls, and confirmed a release date of 4 September 2015. A critical and commercial success, it received positive reviews and became the band's fifth UK No. 1 album.

The new record was recorded at Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris, which they had previously used for 2000's Brave New World, with regular producer Kevin Shirley in late summer 2014. With a total time of 92 minutes, it is the group's first double studio album. In addition, the release's closing song, "Empire of the Clouds", penned by Dickinson, replaces "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (from 1984's Powerslave) as Iron Maiden's longest song, at 18 minutes in length. A music video for the song "Speed of Light" was issued on 14 August.

In February 2016, the band embarked on The Book of Souls World Tour, which saw them play concerts in 35 countries in North and South America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe, including their first ever performances in China, El Salvador and Lithuania. As with 2008-09's Somewhere Back in Time World Tour and 2010-11's The Final Frontier World Tour, the group travelled in a customised aeroplane, flown by Dickinson and nicknamed "Ed Force One", although this time they used a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet. In September 2016, the band confirmed that the tour would be extended into 2017 with further European shows.

Image and legacy

Iron Maiden were ranked No. 24 in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock", No. 4 in MTV's "Top 10 Greatest Heavy Metal Bands of All Time" and No. 3 in VH1 Classic's "Top 20 Metal Bands". The band also won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002 and were inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk whilst touring in the US in 2005.

Iron Maiden frequently use the slogan "Up the Irons" in their disc liner notes, and the phrase can also be seen on several T-shirts officially licensed by the band. It is a paraphrase of "Up the Hammers", the phrase which refers to the London football club, West Ham United, of which founder Steve Harris is a fan.

Iron Maiden's mascotEddie, is a perennial fixture in the band's science fiction and horror-influenced album cover art, as well as in live shows. Originally a papier-mâché mask incorporated in their backdrop which would squirt fake blood during their live shows, the name would be transferred to the character featured in the band's debut album cover, created by Derek Riggs. Eddie was painted exclusively by Riggs until 1992, at which point the band began using artwork from numerous other artists as well, including Melvyn Grant. Eddie is also featured in the band's first-person shooter video game, Ed Hunter, as well as their mobile role-playing gameIron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, in addition to numerous T-shirts, posters and other band-related merchandise. In 2008, he was awarded the "Icon Award" at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods, while Gibson.com describes him as "the most recognisable metal icon in the world and one of the most versatile too".

Iron Maiden's distinct logo has adorned all of the band's releases since their debut, 1979's The Soundhouse Tapes EP. The typeface originates with Vic Fair's poster design for the 1976 science fiction film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, also used by Gordon Giltrap, although Steve Harris claims that he designed it himself, using his abilities as an architectural draughtsman.

Influence on other artists

According to Guitar World, Iron Maiden's music has "influenced generations of newer metal acts, from legends like Metallica to current stars like Avenged Sevenfold," with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich commenting that he has "always had an incredible amount of respect and admiration for them." 

Kerry King of Slayer has stated that "they meant so much to me in their early days" and Scott Ian of Anthrax said, "they had a major impact on my life."

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold states that Iron Maiden "are by far the best live band in the world and their music is timeless", while Trivium singer Matt Heafy comments that "without Iron Maiden, Trivium surely wouldn't exist". Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor says that "Steve Harris does more with four fingers than I've ever seen anybody do. And Bruce Dickinson? Dude! To me, he was the quintessential old-school heavy metal singer. He could hit notes that were just sick, and he was a great showman. Everything made me a fan. And there wasn't a dude that I hung out with that wasn't trying to draw Eddie on their schoolbooks", while their music also helped Jesper Strömblad of In Flames to pioneer the melodic death metal  genre, stating that he had wanted to combine death metal with Iron Maiden's melodic guitar sounds.

Other heavy metal artists who cite the band as an influence include Chris Jericho, lead singer of FozzyCam Pipes, lead vocalist of 3 Inches of Blood, Vitaly Dubinin, bassist of Aria, and Mikael Åkerfeldt, guitarist and lead vocalist of Opeth. Both current and former Dream Theater  members John PetrucciJohn Myung and Mike Portnoy have stated that Iron Maiden were one of their biggest influences when their band first formed.

Appearance in media

The band's name has been mentioned prominently in several songs, such as the singles "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus, "Back to the 80's" by Danish dance-pop band Aqua. and "Fat Lip" by Sum 41. Iron Maiden have also been referenced in Weezer's "Heart Songs" (from their 2008 self-titled "Red" album), Blues Traveler's "Psycho Joe" (from 1997's Straight on till Morning), and NOFX's "Eddie, Bruce and Paul" (from their 2009 album Coaster), which Sputnikmusic describes as "a humorous retelling of Paul DiAnno's departure". Also, Swedish power metal band Sabaton have made references to the band in their songs "Metal Machine", "Metal Crue", and "Metal Ripper", with the former mentioning various Iron Maiden songs (namely "Fear of the Dark" and "Afraid to Shoot Strangers"), and the latter including lyrics from "The Number of the Beast".

In 2008, Kerrang! released an album, entitled Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden, composed of Iron Maiden cover songs played by artists such as MetallicaMachine HeadDream Theater, Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Avenged Sevenfold, and others who were influenced by Iron Maiden throughout their careers. In 2010, Maiden uniteD, an acoustic tribute band consisting of members of AyreonThreshold and Within Temptation, released Mind the Acoustic Pieces, a re-interpretation of the entire Piece of Mind album. Many other Iron Maiden cover albums exist (each featuring various artists), including piano, electro, string quartet and hip-hop tributes.

Iron Maiden songs have been featured in the soundtracks of several video games, including Carmageddon 2Grand Theft Auto: Vice CityGrand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty CityGrand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and DamnedTony Hawk's Pro Skater 4SSX on Tour and Madden NFL 10. Their music also appears in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series of rhythmic video games. Iron Maiden songs have also appeared in films, such as Phenomena (entitled Creepers in the US), and Murder by Numbers; while MTV's animated duo Beavis and Butt-head have commented favourably on the band several times.

Transformers author Bill Forster is an avowed Iron Maiden fan and made several Iron Maiden references, including song lyrics and the phrase "Up the Irons" in his books, including The Ark series and The AllSpark Almanac series.

Claims of Satanic references

In 1982, the band released one of their most popular, controversial and acclaimed albums, The Number of the Beast. The artwork and title track led to Christian groups in the United States branding the band as Satanists, encouraging people to destroy copies of the release. The band's manager, Rod Smallwood, later commented that Christians initially burnt the records, but later decided to destroy them with hammers through fear of breathing in the melting vinyl's fumes. The claims were not restricted to the US, however, with Christian organisations managing to prevent Iron Maiden from performing in Chile in 1992.

Contrary to the accusations, the band have always denied the notion that they are Satanists, with lead vocalist, Bruce Dickinson, doing so on-stage in the Live After Death concert video. Steve Harris has since commented that, "It was mad. They completely got the wrong end of the stick. They obviously hadn't read the lyrics. They just wanted to believe all that rubbish about us being Satanists." Harris has also stated that "The Number of the Beast" song was inspired by a nightmare he had after watching Damien: Omen II, and also influenced by Robert BurnsTam o' Shanter. Furthermore, the band's drummer, Nicko McBrain, has been a born again Christian since 1999.

Ed Force One  

For their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour in 2008 and 2009, Iron Maiden commissioned an Astraeus Airlines Boeing 757 as transport. The aeroplane was converted into a combi configuration, which enabled it to carry the band, their crew and stage production, thereby allowing the group to perform in countries which were previously deemed unreachable logistically. It was also repainted with a special Iron Maiden livery, which the airline decided to retain after receiving positive feedback from customers.

The aircraft, named "Ed Force One" after a competition on the band's website, was flown by Dickinson, as he was also a commercial airline pilot for Astraeus, and plays a major role in the award-winning documentary,Iron Maiden: Flight 666, which was released in cinemas in 42 countries in April 2009. A different aeroplane (registered G-STRX) was used for The Final Frontier World Tour in 2011 with altered livery, adopting the artwork of The Final Frontier album, and features heavily in the 2012 documentary "Behind the Beast". For the The Book of Souls World Tour in 2016, the band upgraded to an ex-Air France Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, supplied by Air Atlanta Icelandic (registered TF-AAK) and customised by Volga-Dnepr Gulf, which allows for more space without the aircraft having to undergo a significant conversion to carry their equipment.

Musical style and influences

Steve Harris, Iron Maiden's bassist and primary songwriter, has stated that his influences include Black SabbathDeep PurpleLed ZeppelinUriah Heep, Pink FloydGenesisYesJethro TullThin LizzyUFO and Wishbone Ash. In 2010 Harris stated, "I think if anyone wants to understand Maiden's early thing, in particular the harmony guitars, all they have to do is listen to Wishbone Ash's Argus album. Thin Lizzy too, but not as much. And then we wanted to have a bit of a prog thing thrown in as well, because I was really into bands like Genesis and Jethro Tull. So you combine all that with the heavy riffs and the speed, and you've got it." In 2004, Harris explained that the band's "heaviness" was inspired by "Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in." On top of this, Harris developed his own playing style, which guitarist Janick Gers describes as "more like a rhythm guitar," cited as responsible for the band's galloping style, heard in such songs as "The Trooper" and "Run to the Hills."

The band's guitarists, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers, each have their own individual influences and playing style. Dave Murray is known for his legato technique which, he claims, "evolved naturally. 

I'd heard Jimi Hendrix using legato when I was growing up, and I liked that style of playing." Stating that he "was inspired by blues rock rather than metal," Adrian Smith was influenced by Johnny Winter and Pat Travers, leading to him becoming a "melodic player." Janick Gers, on the other hand, prefers a more improvised style, largely inspired by Ritchie Blackmore, which he claims is in contrast to Smith's "rhythmic" sound.

Singer Bruce Dickinson, who typically works in collaboration with guitarist Adrian Smith, has an operatic vocal style, inspired by Arthur BrownPeter HammillIan Anderson and Ian Gillan, and is often considered to be one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time. Although Nicko McBrain has only received one writing credit, on the Dance of Death album, Harris often relies on him while developing songs. Adrian Smith commented, "Steve loves playing with him. [They] used to work for hours going over these bass and drum patterns."

Throughout their career, the band's style has remained largely unchanged, in spite of the addition of guitar synthesisers on 1986's Somewhere in Time, keyboards on 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and an attempt to return to the "stripped down" production of their earlier material on 1990's No Prayer for the Dying. In recent years, however, the band have begun using more progressive elements in their songs, which Steve Harris describes as not progressive "in the modern sense, but like Dream Theater, more in a 70s way". According to Harris, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was the band's first album which was "more progressive", while they would only return to this style from 1995's The X Factor, which he states is "like an extension of Seventh Son..., in the sense of the progressive element to it". The development contrasts with the band's raw sounding earlier material, which AllMusic states was "clearly drawing from elements of punk rock", although Harris firmly denies this.

Official Website   

 


Members

Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals (1975–present), keyboards (1988, 1998–present)  

Dave Murray – guitars (1976–1977, 1978–present)

Adrian Smith – guitars, backing vocals (1980–1990, 1999–present), keyboards (1988)  

Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals (1981–1993, 1999–present), piano (2015)

Nicko McBrain – drums, percussion (1982–present)

Janick Gers – guitars (1990–present)

Former members   

Doug Sampson – drums, percussion (1977–1979)

Paul Di'Anno – lead vocals (1978–1981)  

Dennis Stratton – guitars, backing vocals (1979–1980)  

Clive Burr  † – drums, percussion (1979–1982)

Blaze Bayley – lead vocals (1994–1999)  

Live members   

Michael Kenney – keyboards (1988–present)  

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Official videos   Play all

Woman in uniform   

Wrathchild   

Run to the hills   

The number of the beast   

Flight of Icarus   

The Trooper   

2 minutes to midnight   

Aces high   

Wasted years   

Stranger in a strange land   

Can I play with madness   

The evil that men do   

The clairvoyant   

Infinite dreams   

Holy smoke   

Tailgunner   

Bring your daughter to the slaughter   

Be quick or be dead   

From here to eternity   

Wasting love   

Fear of the dark   

Hallowed be thy name   

Man on the edge   

Afraid to shoot strangers   

Lord of the flies   

Virus   

The angel and the gambler   

Futureal   

The wicker man   

Out of the silent planet   

Brave new world   

Wildest dreams   

Rainmaker   

No more lies   

The reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg   

Different world   

The final frontier   

Speed of light