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IRON MAIDENArtist of the Month, September 1996

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden has returned to tour the United States for the first time in four years and H.E.A.R. is proud to honor the band as this month's Artist of the Month. The gigs will help introduce their new studio album, The X Factor, the 10th album released by the band in its 15 year career, and the band's newest vocalist, Blaze Bayley. The first single from The X Factor, "Man on the Edge", was a Top 10 metal single and the video released with the single received heavy air play in the U.S. and abroad. The second single from the album, "Lord of the Flies", features covers of UFO's "Doctor, Doctor", and The Who's "My Generation" and should be a fan fave.

Recording The X Factor took over a year, longer than any of the earlier Maiden efforts. Part of the reason was the amount of material the band had to choose from. Even with CD length, the band had to struggle and cut some songs they liked to end up with the 11 tunes on the disc.The X Factor also reflects a few changes from the band's normal production style. The band co-produced the album with Nigel Green (Def Leppard, AC/DC) instead of Martin Birch. Birch had been the producer working most closely with the band since 1981. "Martin is all but retired, but working with Nigel wasn't a completely new experience for us because he'd been the assistant engineer on the Killers and Number of the Beast albums," explained Steve Harris, bassist and founding member of the band. "Since those early albums Martin's gone on to do so many different types of music. That was what attracted us to him. But the new album definitely has a bigger, heavier sound than what we've done before. We paid more attention than ever to getting the drums heavier and to make sure the arrangements breathed a bit more." You can hear the results of this fine tuning particularly well in the hard-hitting Lord of the Flies and Look for the Truth. Look for the Truth is one of Harris' favorites, mixing slide guitars, a colossal chorus, and the typical Iron Maiden ear-drilling rhythms. With Martin Birch co-producing and Bayley making his recording debut with the band, The X Factor in many ways marks off new territory for Iron Maiden, exciting territory that rocks as hard as anything they've ever done.

A Bit on Blaze:
Blaze Bayley was chosen from more than 1,000 singers hoping to replace Bruce Dickinson when he left the band. Bayley, formerly a singer with British rockers Wolfsbane, quickly made his mark within the band, co-writing some of the new material with Harris and guitarist Janick Gers.

Losing Dickinson, the band admits, knocked them off track just a bit. "Since Bruce left, morale had been up and down a bit, but Blaze has given us a real kick in the behind," Harris said. "I've always thought a singer shouldn't just be the mouthpiece on stage, he should be the band's frontman on and off stage, giving it everything between the songs and in real life. All or nothing. A real animal. And Blaze is that. He's just what we wanted."

H.E.A.R. is happy to salute Iron Maiden, one of the survivors of the rock and roll wars, and still working hard to make their music vital, energetic, and wild. Congratulations, boys.

 





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