Photo Credit: Jonan Basterra

Photo Credit: Jonan Basterra

For those who have been wondering if Iron Maiden lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson‘s battle against cancer may have effected the end result found on the heavy metal group’s first ever double album ‘The Book of Souls,’ bassist Steve Harris says there’s no reason to worry.

Harris recently told Kerrang that the majority of ‘The Book of Souls’ was recorded prior to Dickinson’s diagnosis last year, which allowed for the frontman and the rest of the band to focus solely on writing and recording.

“Bruce didn’t know and none of us knew anything about – there was no inkling of any of it,” Harris said. “He’d finished all his vocal bits completely anyway, and then there were some other bits and pieces we were doing. Really, we didn’t know anything. He didn’t show any signs at all. I mean, his singing, when you hear it – he’s singing better than ever.”

For the first time in Iron Maiden history, Dickinson is the sole songwriter on the last song on their upcoming album, the epic “Empire of the Clouds.” It’s also the longest song the band has ever released, clocking in at just over eighteen minutes, and Harris says it’s also a departure from anything Iron Maiden has previously done.

“I think it’s a masterpiece, actually – I think I can say that because I didn’t write it! It sounds like Maiden but it’s totally different from what we’ve done before,” he explained.

“Eighteen minutes sounds like a long time, but it’s actually such a journey that… well, it’s best just to leave people to listen to it and see what they think. But it’s very interesting. It’s certainly not boring.”

Can the same be said for the rest of the new Iron Maiden effort? “I think you’ll see on this album that there’s a lot going on,” says Harris. “There’s a hell of a lot to take in. I think there’ll be bits and pieces that will hit people initially but I think they’re going to need a few listens.”

It won’t be until next year that Iron Maiden will head out on tour in support of ‘The Book of Souls,’ which will be released on September 4. This decision was made so the band’s vocalist could have time to recover from his cancer treatment, and in the meantime Iron Maiden are busy preparing a new epic stage show.

“Whenever we do a new album we always go out with a new stage show – that’s exciting in itself,” Harris stated excitedly. “We always feel like every show is sacred these days anyway, and I suppose even more so now after the scare with what’s happened with Bruce. It makes everything more important to us.”