Yesterday, legendary heavy metal act Iron Maiden released their first new track in six years, “The Writing On The Wall,” via a massive animated music video. The band had for some time teased ‘Belshazzar’s Feast,’ the apocalyptic party that dominates the video’s narrative, and that teasing definitely paid off. On YouTube for less than 24 hours, the video has already surpassed 1.5 million views.
There’s a lot to unpack in the lush video for “The Writing On The Wall,” so we hit the bong, made some popcorn, and watched it around forty times. Here are ten things we took away from it…
Maiden are still having fun being a metal band
How many metal bands these days churn out some half-assed video where the lead singer tries to scream their way out of a wet sheet in an attempt to evoke Event Horizon? But nope, not Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden made a Heavy Metal Magazine-esque video the likes of which metal hasn’t seen in decades. Goddamn, what a good time watching this is. It seems like Maiden still know what they’re all about.
Our next Eddie is Samurai Eddie
Or maybe Oni Eddie? Either way, just as Mayan Eddie of The Book of Souls was our dominant incarnation for the last couple of years, now Japanese Eddie will conquer the globe. Get ready for a lot of shirts with katanas and shurikens on them. It’s pretty cool that the most British band on earth are going with non-white cultures for their mascot.
The past Eddies as the Bikers of the Apocalypse are AWESOME
Jesus, the moment where Powerslave Eddie spews a cloud of locusts? WE LIVE FOR THAT SHIT. Maiden did a good job of giving us not just our new Eddie, but also the versions that we’ve come to know and love. It speaks to The Book of Souls’ success that Mayan Eddie can ride next to Killers Eddie, Somewhere In Time Eddie, Dance of Death Eddie, and Powerslave Eddie without being overshadowed.
Fuck every world leader
The depictions of our world leaders in “The Writing On The Wall” is pretty spot on. We might even argue that the British Gentlemen get it too easy, but at least they get appropriately exploded by flying bugs. It’s a solid reminder that Maiden have always been political, even if that politics is, Fuck all them liars. We’ll be interested to see if Trumpers get their panties in a twist over the depiction of Donnie Diapers — though maybe they know that arguing against Iron fucking Maiden is a fool’s errand.
Fuck all the privileged assholes, actually!
Man, when the hooded wizard gets inside Belshazzar’s Feast, Iron Maiden really enjoy taking a moment to say ‘Fuck you’ to everyone who would leave the destitute outside to rot. Stupid clown pop star playing dance music for the masses? Dead. Rich dickheads dancing around and trying to stop Eddie? Also dead. All the world leaders? The Devil? Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em all
Iron Maiden’s new album will have an apocalyptic bent
When even Ed Force One is crashed in the background, you know shit is rough. While “The Writing On The Wall” obviously doesn’t feature the whole concept of the album it will inevitably be on, it definitely suggests that there’s a bleak tone to Maiden’s next step. And that makes sense — Book of Souls went hard on ancient mythology and keeping your chin up. Makes sense that this one would be about blowing up spiked edifices in the wasteland.
But the music will have a more laid-back, biker-rock feel
Let’s be honest, as far as Maiden tracks go, “The Writing On The Wall” is pretty chill. Not that it’s a country ballad or anything, just that it isn’t exactly “The Trooper,” or even “When The River Runs Deep.” It looks like whatever Iron Maiden’s new album is, it’ll probably be a little on the thoughtful side. Makes sense, those dudes have raged enough.
Iron Maiden must make bank if they can afford a video this beautiful
“The Writing On The Wall” isn’t just a cool animated video, it’s a gorgeously animated video. Where so many bands go the Newgrounds shapes-moved-by-computers direction these days, Maiden’s blend of 2D animation and CGI is breathtaking. Even the cinematography of the video is awesome. This must have cost a fuckin’ bundle — but it looks like Maiden are willing to point their budget in the right direction.
A teasing campaign only works if it pays off THIS hard
When Iron Maiden began teasing ‘Belshazzar’s Feast,’ there was always the worry of a supreme disappointment. Would this be a livestream? Another Trooper microbrew? Instead, the band delivered their first new song in six years and the most exciting music video we’ve seen in ages. We don’t care how ambitious your publicist is — don’t drop a ton of breadcrumbs unless there’s a banquet at the end.
We missed the HELL out of Iron Maiden
Man, we had no idea how much we NEEDED “The Writing On The Wall.” A new Maiden track, an awesome animated video — Iron Maiden just gave metalheads around the world the balm they desperately require for the chapped ass of the past year and a half. The band went all-out in this treat to their fanbase, and for that, we thank them. Up the irons.
Words by Chris Krovatin