Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on ‘The Book of Souls’ + 18-Minute Opus ‘Empire of the Clouds’

Yesterday (Sept. 1) we had the honor of sitting down with legendary Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson. We got to speak with Bruce about a ton of subjects, but in this clip the singer goes deep into Maiden’s 16th album, The Book of Souls, and the record’s epic closing track, “Empire of the Clouds.”

Iron Maiden approached The Book of Souls in a somewhat different fashion than previous records. Armed with a few handfuls of loose ideas, the legendary metal band entered the studio without completed tracks ready to go. “Normally, what we’ve done in the past is you go into a rehearsal studio and you write the songs, then you learn the songs, then you kind of forget the song … You lose something in the translation there. So on this occasion we decided we’d do the whole process in one hit and cut out one iteration of repeating it and relearning it.”

Bruce reveals that the new album’s opening track, “If Eternity Should Fail,” was originally meant to be featured on his next solo album, but got turned into an Iron Maiden song instead. The song was also recorded in Drop D, which is a first for Iron Maiden.

As for the 18-minute “Empire of the Clouds,” which Maiden bassist Steve Harris calls a “masterpiece,” Bruce composed the track almost entirely on his own. Experimenting with piano parts, he actually crafted the song in a fairly unconventional nature and allowed the track’s story to unfold almost subconsciously. “As I had all these bits wobbling around, I went, ‘My god, there’s a sort of structure to it, it’s almost like an overture! My god, I’ve got four movements in it! I think I’ll go and have a movement myself!’”

Allow Bruce Dickinson to take you into The Book of Souls with the video above! The Book of Souls will see a Sept. 4 release, so be sure to pre-order your copy or a variety of bundle packs by clicking here.

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