‘What a great time for metal’: Rob Halford Speaks To Iron Maiden’s Rise In Popularity And ’90s Heavy Metal

Tilly antoine, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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During a recent conversation with Metal Pilgrim, Rob Halford of Judas Priest spoke about playing alongside fellow heavy metal British icons Iron Maiden back in the ’80s. The two bands took part in the World Vengeance tour, around the time Iron Maiden released The Number of the Beast. Rob Halford speaks to watching the band perform live back in the ’80s, recently reflecting on heavy metal memories with fellow Maiden members, and metal bands that saw success in the ’90s.

Per Rob Halford, initially talking about playing alongside Iron Maiden during the World Vengeance tour:

“It’s a thrill because you’ve got two British metal bands really pushing this movement through that part of the world. I used to watch Maiden most nights and look and go, ‘Man, these guys are gonna be huge.’ Just the songs, the energy on stage, just everything about them just screamed that they were gonna be a massive band. So, for us to be working together for some of those dates was remarkable, if you had a chance to see it.

“I was in Copenhell [a music festival in Denmark] just recently talking to Steve [Harris, Iron Maiden bassist], and Nicko [McBrain, Iron Maiden drummer] was there, and both of us were just full of metal memories.

“As I’ve said many times, it was the start of a decade as well, and every decade in rock and roll, at the beginning of every decade exciting things happen. I think it’s human nature. [From] events in music through cyclical events of rock and roll, the start of the ’80s has always been very powerful and potent. Like the start of the ’90s — SlayerMetallica, Maiden, Pantera, Anthrax— everybody was dropping really strong records in the ’90s. So, yeah, what a great time for metal. The first five years of the ’80s was just crazy.”

Even with other subgenres like nu metal and grunge becoming super popular during the ’90s, do you think the decade was also a strong period for heavy metal and thrash bands? You can check out the video where Halford speaks to Iron Maiden and ’90s metal below.