Maiden at work on new album?

adriannickoparis2014

We know there’s another Iron Maiden album coming. Is it happening right now? UPDATED on October 16, November 28 and December 15! It really is happening right now.

Iron Maiden forums have lit up with rumors about the new album, including the Fan Club forum on the band’s official website.

The chatter says that Iron Maiden are currently in Paris, France, where they are either rehearsing or recording their 16th studio album. To substantiate the various rumors there’s been video evidence of at least some of the band’s presence in the city.

Here’s the video of Nicko McBrain and Adrian Smith visiting the Davis Cup semi-finals on September 13:

Well, it seems unlikely that Smith, a resident of England, and the Florida-dwelling McBrain would hang out in Paris if they weren’t there for Maiden business, doesn’t it? And singer Bruce Dickinson has previously stated that there will be a new Maiden record in 2015, so it’s probably time to get going!

Steve Harris stated earlier that the reason his British Lion summer tour was cut a little short had to do with Iron Maiden activity. Maiden may have been writing on and off over the past couple of years, but it’s also possible that late summer 2014 was set aside for writing sessions and rehearsals in the run-up to recording sessions.

Other interesting speculation includes long-time producer Kevin Shirley, who certainly seems very busy with other projects right now. Has he been replaced for Maiden’s possibly final studio effort?

UPDATE September 26: Kevin Shirley posted on Facebook that he was “up early and off to the airport for an 11 AM flight to Paris.” His flight got cancelled, but at least we know that the Caveman is trying to get to Paris right now.

UPDATE October 16: Via the Maidenfans forum, guest writer Adam Hansen points out that Randy Bachman says he will be working with Kevin Shirley on his next album and claims Shirley is “probably the best rock producer around today. He just did Aerosmith and Journey and he’s doing Iron Maiden at the end of the year.”

So there it is, don’t you think?

UPDATE November 28: There have been Maiden sightings in Paris up until very recently, and Bruce also flew out of Paris when he visited Belgrade last week. At the same time, Kevin Shirley has been almost completely quiet on Facebook and has made no mention of what he’s up to professionally. We’re almost into December now, and it’s a safe bet that there will be new album information and hopefully behind-the-scenes pics and words when the postponed Fan Club Magazine number 99 arrives in time for Christmas.

UPDATE December 15: Well, the magazine has arrived in mailboxes, and … there’s no real news. Just the word that something will happen in 2015. Well, at least there’s a couple of shots of Nicko in the studio and nice teasing artwork by HervΓ© Monjeaud.

Anyway, producer Shirley is the closest we get to an official source on what’s going on. On December 11 he made a Facebook post from Neilly-sur-Seine, a Paris subburb, and on the same day another post on his Caveman Facebook page confirmed that he was heading back to the US after two and a half months in Paris.

So that’s it. Maiden have been recording a new album in Paris in September-December 2014. Shirley may still have overdubs and mixing to do in The Cave in the new year, but this record is surely just about done. Now we just have to wait for official word to trickle out of Maiden headquarters. Stay tuned!

If you’re not already a member you can join the Iron Maiden Fan Club right here, and get in on the speculation and sharing of rumors, and also to receive the official mag.

Thanks to IMOC member GhostofCain for the original heads up on this story in September!

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97 thoughts on “Maiden at work on new album?

  1. If that’s what’s happening and it IS going to be the final studio album, maybe they’ve convinced Martin Birch to come out of retirement for one last knob twiddle?!

    • Oh dear, wouldn’t that be a huge gamble? KISS convinced Eddie Kramer to reunite with them for KISS Alive III, and it was just a pairing that belonged in the 70s, not the 90s…

      I think Birch would never be crazy enough to return to the business and craft after 22 years, but it sure doesn’t look like Shirley is involved either, does it?

    • That would be great and Derek Riggs back too. and may be Paul Dinno and Blaze but Maiden are forever and will never stop!!!!!!

  2. One of my friends saw Nicko and Adrian in some bar in Paris . By the way the french commentator in the video actually saying that he thinks Maiden are working on their new album .

    • Cool, it seems well established that they are in Paris. The commentator wouldn’t really know what they’re doing, but there’s really no other thing they could be doing there. πŸ™‚

  3. I hope that, whatever happens, Steve does not end up producing the album alone!

    I am really looking forward to hearing the new material. If it is anything like the albums they have released since the reunion, I am going to be pleased.

    • I agree with you on both counts. Except that I now tend to find Frontier too drawn-out and lacking enough strong ideas. So I’d really like to hear shorter and catchier songs again. πŸ™‚

      But there’s certainly no way Steve won’t at least co-produce, is there?

      • My favourite among the reunion albums is “A matter of life and death” (it is in my Maiden top 5). “The final frontier” and “Brave new world” come next, with “Dance of death” being the one of the four I like the least (more filler material here). Anyway, i find all of them vastly superior than any of the albums they released during the 90s…

  4. If there’s no Shirley, who is it? Martin Birch returning seems ludicrous to me. More likely than Will Malone, but still. I don’t hope Nigel Green gets called back. And we know Doug Hall, who could have assisted Harris-as-producer, is out of the picture.

      • Was Purple’s NOW What?! any good? Would be funny if Maiden inherited yet another Purple producer. πŸ˜€

        Some fans have been wishing for Roy Z since 1999, but that would mean Shirley was out because Bruce/Adrian wanted him out, and Steve agreed to get less control of things. Yeah right, likely scenario…

      • The Deep Purple album was good, not stellar, but it is a great sounding record.

        I don’t think Roy Z would ever produce Maiden as he is too close to Bruce’s solo career.

      • I’m hoping he’s lined up, ’cause I’m one of those Caveman defenders. πŸ™‚ But going by his FB page he’s booked until the end of October. By then Maiden would probably be recording, if they go by their usual routine and pace, don’t you think?

      • I am not sure Maiden will go straight into recording the album; they might have some (not much) time off between rehearsals and recording. At least that is what they have done in all recent albums.

        I hope they will still be working with Kevin. He is no Martin Birch, but I like what he has done with Maiden, the production for “A matter of life and death” in particular.

      • By the way Christer, if I am not mistaken, Kevin Shirley is booked until the end of September/early October. On 4th September he said:

        “A very proud and happy Caveman after a joyous performance by Joe Bonamassa at Red Rocks! We all did an enormous amount of work and it paid off. Now another month of editing and mixing to complete everything…..”

      • @Ade Dennis- could be, Maiden have been known to rehearse in Paris at a certain studio called Planet Live. (This is where the pre-tour rehearsal takes place in Behind the Beast).

        However, just because Shirley is working on one project through October doesn’t mean he can’t take on another one!

    • 1) If it’s Rick Rubin, I’m going to start making voodoo dolls NOW.
      2) …and yeah. That’s pretty much it.

      What a kick if they got Martin out of retirement, but I don’t want to induce a stroke imagining the fantasy. As Cain said, as long as Harry doesn’t do it by himself, then at least we can be assured that Bruce won’t sound like he’s singing outside in the desert.

  5. @Ghost: On the previous few records I believe they wrote and rehearsed late in the Fall and recorded early in the new year? Since they’ve started rehearsing new material so soon after this summer’s tour, I’d think they have recording sessions lined up this side of Christmas to get the album out in the first half of 2015. Can’t see Maiden ever spending more time in the studio than normal, anyway.

    Unless they DO get Rubin, in which case Ms. Ray has to fashion enough voodoo dolls for both herself and me.

    • @Christer: If I remember correctly, it was writing and rehearsing in autumn and recording after Christmas for “Dance of death”, “A matter of life and death” and “The final frontier”. For “Brave new world” they did some writing before the Ed Hunter tour and some writing after the tour, followed by recording the album.

      • Yes, that’s true. All of the previous three were recorded early in the year, so they were written in the autumn. Brave New World was recorded before Christmas 1999, mixed and mastered early in 2000. Seems they’re back to something like that routine with the next one, doesn’t it?

        Maiden have always written fast and recorded fast. Heck, The Number Of The Beast was recorded and mixed in five weeks, and even Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son took no more than about eight weeks! The major exception is The X Factor, which took about 18 months (!) to write, record and mix.

      • And this shows that spending more time recording an album does not necessarily mean it is going to be better…

  6. @Ghost: Yup, I thought I’d leave it up to someone else to finish that thought. πŸ˜‰

    It’s certainly one of the great paradoxes of Maiden fandom, when some people moan about them not using more time in the studio. This complaint makes little sense when Piece Of Mind was written and recorded in less than 3 months and The X Factor took 18.

    I mean, Steve wrote “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” under intense time pressure. It’s quite possible he took more time in writing “Don’t Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger”…

    Give him pressure, I say.

  7. Well, we might have an answer about the identity of the new album’s producer. Kevin Shirley just posted the following on Facebook: “Up early and off to the airport for an 11 AM flight to Paris.”

    That flight got cancelled, but Shirley is trying to get to Paris right now. Could that mean anything but him hooking up with Maiden?

    Once again, thanks to Ghost for the surveillance! πŸ™‚

    • The plot thickens! This is so exciting, thanks Ghost! I bet they’re back at Guillaume Tell… hopefully the result is as fresh and groundbreaking as BNW!

      • You’re welcome! I hope it sounds as fresh as “Brave new world” but is as groundbreaking as “A matter of life and death” (IMHO the latter is a much better album).

      • Not sure, but I think this is their quickest start to an album post-tour since BNW. In which case Adrian is getting his wish this time.

        I guess they got into AMOLAD about as quick as this after the 2005 tour, so it’s really DOD and TFF that had quite a long time off ahead of writing and production, DOD in particular with more than 18 months passing between the end of touring and the start of writing.

  8. Kevin also writes that his kids are so excited to see him and they’ve been in Paris for two weeks. πŸ˜‰

    As for hopes, I hope for something different from the last couple of albums. I guess that means shorter and sharper tunes, not so many epics, different sounds, different arrangements.

    I don’t know, that’s probably unlikely. But they’ll never top Life & Death in this particular vein of Maiden, so I’d really like a conscious effort to do something … more mid-80s, for lack of a better term.

    • To be honest, I believe they should look forward, not backward, and they should not make any efforts to recreate the creative frame of mind they were in when they were in their 20s. πŸ˜‰

      A nice mix of great tracks is what they should (and I sure they can) produce. If they are long, so be it. πŸ™‚

      • I said “for lack of a better term”, Ghost. πŸ˜‰

        I agree with you completely, I’m just saying I’d like something more immediate and uptempo and shorter than the massive epics of the past few albums. Which was often what they did in the mid-80s, thus the shorthand. How about a 55-minute album?

        My reason is that I personally thought the epics of TFF was a definite step back from the quality of AMOLAD (easily my post-2000 fave), and that TFF would have benefited from a stricter focus and shorter songs.

        Anyway, referencing BNW and AMOLAD in your own stylistic wish, although in a more abstract way than I did the mid-80s, is also looking backward. We can’t really reference anything but their past work, but I don’t want them to recreate either 1984 or 2000. πŸ™‚

      • @Christer: TouchΓ©! πŸ˜†

        I was not implying they should look backward, rather than an album with a production as clear as BNW and a content as strong as AMOLAD (all killer, no filler) would be ideal for me. 55 minutes of pure gold would be great, but “Virtual XI” was not that far from the 55 minutes of (mostly) pure crap! πŸ˜†

        Anyway, one thing is clear: Maiden will write the songs they want to write and do what they want to do, not what we want them to do. That, my friend, is one of the great things about this band. πŸ˜‰

  9. @Ghost: I have no illusions that Maiden will do what I want them to do. I know full well that they do what THEY want to do, but I never accept that as an end to debate, as you know very well from numerous setlist discussions these past couple of years. πŸ˜€

    I guess I agree with Adrian, it might be a really good idea for Maiden to focus on writing some shorter songs. And that would probably be up to him to a large degree. If only Steve can stay away and not insert something (often lengthy middle sections) in every single song on the album.

    Good point about Virtual XI, just making the album shorter isn’t gonna make it great. But neither is making the album longer gonna do the job, as with The X Factor.

    In any case, the current line-up of Maiden wouldn’t be capable of producing something as crap as Virtual XI even if they tried. And neither would Kevin Shirley. Boy, am I the only one who’s quite thrilled that he will still be producing them? πŸ™‚

    • @Christer: I also agree with Adrian that it might be a good idea to include some shorter songs, but shorter does not necessarily mean better; remember “No prayer for the dying”!!

      • I obviously want shorter songs that are GOOD, that goes without saying. Same thing with the longer songs, actually. Neither shorter nor longer equals better.

        As for No Prayer, I actually think that the shorter songs is one of the album’s very few strengths. Had it been a few years later, Harris might have drawn tracks like “Holy Smoke” out to 9 minutes. πŸ˜‰

        I’d like some freshness and variation after two very epic-heavy albums in a row, that’s all.

  10. @Adam and Ghost: You both mention Brave New World as a fresh-sounding record, and I agree. However, that was the last time a Maiden record was properly mastered wasn’t it? Sterling Sound NYC and all?

    I like the work Shirley did on that album, and I think his work might have been compromised on Dance Of Death because Harris decided to go with an unprofessional master. Seems to me there’s a killer mix there being sabotaged by a bad master.

    They ended up not mastering A Matter Of Life And Death at all, if I remember correctly? Which is weird, but I love that album anyway.

    And although I’m not so fond of most tracks on The Final Frontier, I love the sound of it. Reminds me of Seventh Son, actually. Warm and full.

    • To be honest, unless you count AMOLAD, I think the last time a Maiden record was TRULY mastered properly was SIT/SSOASS. BNW is pretty good, certainly better than DOD and TFF, but it’s a little on the loud side. I agree with you on the former, especially on such dynamic, rich tracks as Paschendale and Journeyman, the master squeezes all the life out of them. I find TFF to be pretty muddy and loud too, however.

      AMOLAD for the win! πŸ˜€

    • In terms of how they are produced, mixed and the overall sound, of all the reunion albums, AMOLAD is the one I prefer. BNW might be a bit clearer, but the drums are a bit too high on the mix and the 3 guitars are more difficult to distinguish. TFF would come next (I like how it sounds, but could have benefited from a more polished sound), with DOD last thanks to that mastering job (the DVD audio version sounds better though).

      In terms of the material, AMOLAD is also my favourite (and in my personal top 5 from the band). TFF would come second (it has some absolute gems), followed closely by BNW with DOD the least good of the four, in spite of having some cracking songs and one of Maiden’s best songs of all time in the form of ‘Paschendale’.

      • I agree with nearly 100% of what you both say. πŸ™‚

        Ghost: Good point about the guitars on BNW! When you listen back to it now, you can tell that Shirley hadn’t quite figured it out yet. In those terms DOD is far ahead.

  11. Although it’s since become one of my favourite albums, I pretty much ignored AMOLAD for a long time. I though the production was muddy and it needed polishing without making it sound clinical. I though Bruce was too far back in the mix and the guitar sound wasn’t bright enough. Since I went back and listened to it in terms of the songs rather than the production, my opinion has changed.

    • Ade, I understand what you mean, and I think it has a very simple explanation: Shirley intended AMOLAD to be properly mastered, and guitars and vocals are always brought forward a bit through that process. But Steve Harris has a way of interrupting Shirley’s plans… πŸ˜‰

      I guess it’s obvious, Harris prefers to keep closer to a garage aesthetic. If it wasn’t for Shirley and Adrian Smith, the recent albums would probably have sounded closer to what Harris supervised in the 90s…

      • Maybe Caveman should tie Steve’s hands together for this album when he gets anywhere near the mixing desk!

  12. To me personally, the best production and sound from the reunion albums is BNW by a long shot. I prefer a much clearer, less muddy sound. DoD is virtually unlistenable to me. AMOLAD is not too bad, plus the songwriting on that album makes it an awesome album overall. TFF is meh.

  13. There’s been no official information, but Shirley updated his Facebook profile with a Jimmy Barnes review last night. Shirley’s location was given as Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. πŸ˜‰

    • I’d say! πŸ™‚ And anything to the contrary at this point would really be shocking. But Rod sure made Kevin keep a lid on it this time. πŸ˜€

      • Silly Rod, thinking he’d keep us rabid fans in the dark… well, if it’s being worked on at the end of this year as suggested hopefully that means we’ll see an early(ish) 2015 release! That would certainly be in step with Nicko’s assertion that they’re playing more shows next year.

      • Ooops, you said Maidenfans board and not Maiden website board, where I had just posted the information contained in the interview with Randy Bachman before coming here to do the same. I am not the fine fellow you are referring to then! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

      • @Ghost: Both you and Adam are fine fellows, outstanding detectives that are owed many pints of Trooper by Maiden Revelations. πŸ™‚

  14. @Adam: Thanks for the heads-up, I credited you in an update of the article.

    Yeah, it sure seems that recording in October would mean the record could be out … I don’t know, March or April maybe?

    They probably want to spill some beans in the December magazine. And with the next one set for February, that would surely carry the full announcement? The record should then be here by May I’d think.

    Seems to be about the same schedule as BNW.

    • No problem Christer! Thank you!

      Yes, and it seems as though they might even be recording in the same studio as BNW! Unless they’e just rehearsing in Paris… the IM facebook page posted a picture of Nicko in their London office a couple days ago. Maybe they’re off to Sarm Studios again for the recording? Either one seems plausible at this point!

      • Yes, I suppose so. It’s easy for them to pop over to London on weekends though. Anyway, Shirley was still in Paris last night, as per his Facebook update from Neuilly-sur-Seine.

      • True, true. I may be grasping at straws. I just want more concrete news dammit! πŸ˜€

        I’m actually thinking about going whole hog and joining the FC (I was previously online-only)… because, let’s face it, this might be the last time we ever get to experience a new Maiden studio album release!

      • Yes, I’d actually be surprised if they didn’t pick Paris at least partially because of the studio.

  15. @Adam: It was beyond frustrating when the online-only option was removed, wasn’t it? I decided I had to be a full member, just for the pre-sales and the very few bits of actually worthwhile info we get.

    Since the forthcoming issue of the mag has been delayed until December, and the band is comically quiet right now (obviously even to the point of gagging Shirley), it’s a safe bet that the next issue will have studio reports and other interesting info. I think this is probably a good way to go when members HAVE to buy the whole old-school package if they want to join.

    Back in the 80s the FC mags where often the only place to get early word about studio work.

    Now, the questions keep piling up: Will there be some other monumental announcement made in December? What’s the band’s dynamic future plans that were mentioned in the recent vinyl announcement? Will they (shock) announce this to be their final studio album, even…?

    • Yeah I was pretty pissed off when they made the change. The forum access would’ve given me cause to stay in the past, but having moved over to Maidenfans I find I much prefer the environment there. I suppose I’ll have to rejoin for the presales eventually anyways!

      • You’d recommend Maidenfans? I’m a little embarassed to say I have never tried it.

      • @Christer, It’s a great little community. A lot more relaxed, open-minded, and less “bandwagon-y” than some other Maiden forums. Not quite as much activity, though, as it’s a smaller group. I’d definitely recommend it!

        I’ll see you on the FC board, btw, I just resubbed last night πŸ˜€

    • In regards to your second point, I wonder if anything will come of that “interactive Maiden museum” suggested by Bruce around the end of the tour? He did say at the last gig that their future is going to be “more real” for us than it is for them…

      • Yeah, I wonder about that. My feelings are always split on such issues. On the one hand, it would be fun. On the other, the day Maiden is in a museum…

      • I dunno, I’d be pretty excited to see some of the past Eddies, stage props, and maybe even instruments up close and personal. And if they’re going to do it, I’d prefer they go all-out with their own exhibit rather than just shove some moldy old spandex in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or a Hard Rock Cafe Somewhere.

  16. Maybe we’ll get a Maiden Museum and a themed restaurant along the lines of Nicko’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Ribs in the States.

  17. Pingback: Iron Maiden Tease 2015 Plans With Fan Club Christmas Card

    • Yeah, the card also says that “something” will happen in 2015. πŸ˜€

      We didn’t want to post that until FC members have had a chance to get it in the mail, since it’s no more than what we already knew. πŸ˜‰

  18. Pingback: Happy Holidays! | maidenrevelations

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