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Iron Maiden Fans Practically Riot Over New Album Cover

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Shortly after revealing what the band claims to be the cover art for it's new album, Dance Of Death, fans flooded the official Iron Maiden message board with complaints (16 pages worth in the case of this one thread – and there are many more.) Skunk, the webmaster for the band's official site, insists that this artwork is real and is what will arrive in stores in early September, but some fans aren't biting – the rest are depressed.

Why the big stink over this artwork? Iron Maiden has long been known for its elaborate artwork, save for a few instances (such as X Factor and Virtual XI, both post-Bruce Dickinson albums that sported lackluster artwork in the eyes of most fans.) The image of Iron Maiden is forever tied to artist Derek Riggs' creation for the band, Eddie, who has adorned every album and single cover since the band's first release. Derek and band have since parted ways, but Eddie has remained as the band's mascot, being replicated by other artists in the spirit Riggs would have used. This time around, however, something is amiss.

In what the band claims is the real album artwork, Eddie is seen masquerading as the reaper, a scythe held in one hand and the other outstreched – to you – beckoning for a dance (of death, presumably.) This in itself seems fitting material for Eddie – who has characteristically acted out something associated with the album in question every time. What is so wrong here is not that Eddie is surrounded by people, but that these people have been rendered by a 3D program – Poser from the look of it. And it's particularly badly executed computer graphics, at that. So here we have a typical Eddie figure – painted, or created using paint-simulation software such as Painter – evoking the greatness of past artwork, yet surrounded by the cheapest and cheesiest 3D artwork to be found on a legitimate band's artwork.

But some fans are insisting that this is a joke – a poorly played joke, but a joke nonetheless. The band and webmaster aren't budging, but there are some hints here and there – this tour poster, for example, shows Eddie alone, with only one CG figure appearing out of the side of the poster. There have also been comments that the artwork that has shown up on EMI's site  is different than what's been shown on the official site – the wolf's snout behind Eddie, one of the dancer's arms not around him. The artwork has even reached beyond music borders and put graphics guru at arms – as evidenced by this seven page thread on CG Talk.

So is this childishly executed artwork for real? Die-hard fans are practically having seizures at the thought, but singer Bruce Dickinson has slyly hinted that this may not be so set-in-stone. On MTV Europe's Headbanger's Ball, Bruce is reported to have indicated that fans won't see the real artwork until the release date, indicating, in a roundabout way, that what's on the site isn't really the real artwork. We'll just have to wait and see, he says.

So what's the deal? Is it a joke on fans – and a way to expose the fickle fair-weather fans – or is it a ploy for exposure? The world – well, the portion that care about Iron Maiden – will have to wait, apparently. In the meantime, take a look at the great artwork we've seen in the past, below…

(And I'm really, really amazed that I spent the amount of time I just did researching this. You can see more nutty, wacky zaniness like this at unproductivity.)

About Tom Johnson

  • The Theory

    good article. iron maiden is known, by me, for their insane covers.

    peace.

  • Arrakis

    Very good article!
    Really, to find someone who LIKES the cover would be a true miracle! I also do not like it! And find it very weird a band like IM wants to release this. I mean i’ve always know them to be almost perfectionist in relation to the all product they put out…
    Ok, i guess we’ll have to wait and see!
    Nevertheless, IT WILL BE ONE HELL OF A GOOD ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!Sure of that!

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    How appropriate for Maiden fans to give a piece of their minds. Personally I didn’t care much for the cover either, but as someone in that combustible thread pointed out, it’s the music not the cover artwork that makes the band. Cover sort of reminded me of the old Grim Reaper covers (any other metal heads here remember them?)

  • Xmachina

    Very interesting article… Bruce’s comments are surprising!!! If the final cover is different, the credibility of the official site could dramatically decrease.

  • Jeff Kent

    Interesting note. Although the posted art appeared in the Sony new release book, it has not yet been added to the Sony b2b artwork site (as of 8/19).

  • Don Juan

    Tom Johnson could call Iron Maiden or Sanctuary Management , ask about that horrible artwork and include the comments on the article.

  • SirLardsAlot

    Cool article. I post alot on that Iron Maiden forum, and it’s cool to see that our opinions are being heard.

  • http://www.ironmaidenweb.com.ar Powerfull

    this is stupid…..the dance of death cover is real

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    UPDATE: It is indeed real, I’ve seen the Japanese printing. How sad, this is easily the worst artwork I’ve ever seen for an established, well-known band. How embarassing for the band and fans.

  • beelzebub

    IRON-MAIDEN was one of my favourite bands, but I think it is getting too comercial. BUT STILL THEY ROCK!! :D

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Got the new CD last week and am still playing it.

    Nudity alert inside the CD insert! Yeah, it’s fuzzy nudity, but I think this might be a first for a Maiden cover insert. If I’m wrong about that then someone please correct me.

  • james

    Looks to me like they were trying to rip off the old Cathedral album covers, and failed miserably!!!!

  • Stego

    The demise of LP records (and their decent sized cover) killed off the need for album artwork. CDs are too small to bother nowadays, No more ‘Somewhere in Time’ type detail, pity.

  • Stego

    Eileen, I love you.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Good to know, Stego. Good to know.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    DVDs still hold for a larger palette size.

  • eric f

    give my some good info about iron maiden like awards they won / where they lived where they grown up mostly about them

  • Bill Ingram

    I have been a fan of IM since 1980, and let me tell you they are perfectionists. I agree that the cover of Dance w/ death does not even come close to what the fans would want but the issue lies with Derek Riggs. Does he not want to do it anymore? I know he had a strict contract where he could only make art for Maiden. Derek if you are out there and read this, we need you back!

  • Ferny

    Im a diehard fan and personaly i think that the music matters more than the art on the cover.

  • Random

    It’s so funny looking back on this 5 years later and realizing how convinced everyone was that this was a hoax.

  • Mr H

    Iron Maiden started to go downhill after the Seventh Son album, up to that every track was worthy in it’s own right. But after Adrian Smiths first departure and Bruce Dickinson “experimenting” with solo projects the quality seemed to drop slightly and fillers started to appear on the following two albums.
    After Bruce Dickinson left the band after Fear Of The Dark was released the band seemed to want to reinvent itself by breaking away from it’s roots by ditching Riggs artwork at the same time as Blaze Bayley joined the band sadly this alienated a lot of the fans, myself included who saw a lot of the tracks as self indulgent crap.

  • MHS

    Ah well, goes to show that you don’t judge an album by it’s cover. This is certainly one of the better Maiden albums.

  • @ii@

    fuck you