Iron Maiden – Metal Class
With ‘Senjutsu’, their 17th album, the kings of english hard rock are signing an excellent record. This is the occasion to cross swords with their singer Bruce Dickinson in a palace in Paris.
By Benjamin Locoge / Photo by Patrick Fouque
If man takes time to add up the ages of all the band members, they are 390 years old. This is the proof that Iron Maiden is immortal. For 45 years now, british guys incarnate what is the best in metal : telluric songs, dantesque guitar solos, a demonic vocalist and a rhythmic fire. Their previous opus, the indigestible ‘The Book Of Souls’, released in 2015, seemed to relegate them to the rank of stadiums bands content to live on their glorious past. Because yes, Maiden is sold-out at the Défense Arena on june 2022 and is still able to put half a million discs on retailers displays the week of the release. And then ‘Senjutsu’ arrived on late august. Not only Maiden has done a great album « à l’ancienne », but also has emancipated from the hard rock codes to flirt with progressive rock or blues. « When Steve Harris has told me about these songs », says Bruce, « I immediately saw that, what he suggested me, was a real challenge. Steve is using his voice as an instrument, while for me it’s everything but an instrument »
. Dickinson knows what he’s talking about. Since 1981, he is the frontman, but Harris, the bassist, is still the mastermind. Harris composes, Bruce executes. With freedom to write some lyrics. But, the fans knows that all what Steve does is turning into gold. « He has accurate pictures of what he really wants », smiles Dickinson. « And when he draws a track like « The Parchment », I’m astounded. It’s a song that everyone seems to love despite its duration… It’s like it already turned as one of our classics »
. If Bruce let himself be driven by this funny situation, that’s because he knows that all can disappear from day to day. Treated for a cancer some years ago, he saw the moment when he could not sing anymore. « Then, I became silent for 10 months. I showed a great and unusual patience »
. And all came back progressively. Now, Dickinson is a respected singer and an adulated man. « I know what we owe to our fans. We’ve postponed our best-of tour because of the Covid, our next shows won’t allow us to promote this new album. The good news is that we would be able to do it into small venues in 2023 »
. When we smile on the small venues concept, Dickinson agrees. « Yes, Bercy is about 15000 people, but from our point of view, it’s like a club »
. The point is that he speaks out without trying to show off or frown. Iron Maiden began a mastodon of rock. Which knows how to question itself. It’s from now that the adventure becomes exciting.