While some progenitors of heavy metal have the decency to go senile and broadcast their bumbling senior years on cable TV (here’s looking at you, Ozzy), others insist on continuing to create more or less the same music for decades. One such band is Iron Maiden. The British metalheads have released 16 studio albums, 13 live albums, and enough singles, compilations, and box sets to keep an undead army headbanging for eternity. They’ve even released signature beers to accompany their fast-paced, riff-heavy rock music.
And after the long-awaited release of a new video for their latest single "The Writing On the Wall," fans are eagerly speculating that the band has new music in store for them. That’s not just because singles tend to signal the release of an album. The music video for the song is packed full of hidden details that both harken back to the band’s decades-long past and foretell its apparently eternal future. Let’s take a look at these fun Easter eggs hidden throughout the video and see what details Iron Maiden chose to sneak in there for the fans, who are always trying to break down mysterious clues from the band.
The dying man is wearing a torn shirt from Iron Maiden’s ‘World Slavery’ tour
The video begins with a sick, emaciated man stumbling through a scorching desert landscape. In his hand, he carries a flyer for "Belshazzar’s Feast," an allusion to the story in the Bible in which God smites Prince Belshazzar for his arrogance, profligacy, and blasphemy. Covered with visible sores, his eyes sunk back into his head, and his clothes in tatters, the guy doesn’t appear to be in good shape.
However, despite his current condition, his torn T-shirt reveals that he at least had a good time while on this earth. The shirt sports the logo of Iron Maiden’s famous 1984-85 "World Slavery" tour, which, according to unofficial Iron Maiden biographer Neil Daniels, has gone down in rock history as "one of the longest [tours] of all time and one of one of the most iconic, too." It wasn’t the band’s first tour, but it was the one that showed the world how much of a heavy metal powerhouse the band was at the time. (It also showed how badly the band could name a tour. Some of the dates scheduled for South Africa were actually cancelled due to the poor choice of title.)
The ruined Cart and Horses Pub represents an important moment in the band’s history
The metalheads at Loudwire went over the video several times to find all the fanboy details for those among us who have a hard time even naming an Iron Maiden song. For example, less than a minute into the video, we see the ruins of a bar called the Cart and Horses Pub. If you know your Iron Maiden history, you’ll recognize this name instantly. The Cart and Horses was a public house in London’s East End where the very first Iron Maiden lineup played regular shows in 1975 and ’76.
According to the Cart and Horses official website, the pub considers itself "The Birthplace of Iron Maiden." Founder and bassist Steve Harris had another band named Gypsies Kiss, which lasted a total of six gigs. He formed Iron Maiden in 1975, the rest of the original lineup being Ron "Rebel" Mathews, Dave Sullivan, Paul Mario Day, and Terry Rance. Lead singer Bruce Dickinson wasn’t a part of the band in these early years. Dickinson joined Iron Maiden in 1981.
This subtle clue hints at a new full-length Iron Maiden album
As the video progresses, we see four Grim Reaper-looking figures tearing through the desert on motorcycles. Given Iron Maiden’s penchant for the darker parts of the Bible, we can assume that these are a hip, heavy metal takeoff on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, of Book of Revelation fame. The keen eyes over at Loudwire made this connection, as well, but they also noticed something prophetic about these biblical harbingers of the end of the world.
At around the 1:08 mark in the video, you’ll see tally marks on the body of one of the horsemen’s bikes. Some claim they appear to number 17, leading fans to infer that they’ll soon have a brand new full-length studio album from Iron Maiden sometime soon. The band’s last studio album was 2015’s "The Book of Souls," so no one can say fans haven’t been patient. For now, however, they’ll have to continue to be patient, as the video was not accompanied by any news of a 17th Iron Maiden album.
Each horseman of the apocalypse is a different version of Eddie
Speaking of the Four Horsemen, any Iron Maiden fan will recognize that each one is a different version of the band’s mascot, Eddie, who can be seen on the cover of just about every album they’ve released. In fact, the guy’s toothy mug can be spotted on posters, CD box sets, barrels of toxic waste, and all kinds of things strewn throughout the video’s dystopian landscape. Iron Maiden has been rehashing his image for over four decades now, so it should be no surprise that several characters in the video are some version of him.
Loudwire noticed that one of the riders is Eddie from the cover of 2003’s "Dance of Death," and that he carries the hatchet held by the big-haired Eddie on the cover of "Killers," from 1981. The other bikers include Cyborg Eddie from 1986’s "Somewhere In Time," Pharaoh Eddie from 1984’s "Powerslave," and the snarling, face-painted Eddie from 2015’s "The Book of Souls." Loudwire even went so far as to conjecture that a scythe wielded by "Dance of Death" Eddie is the same as that on the cover of the band’s Best-Of box set "From Fear to Eternity," from 2011, but closer inspection reveals that they’re not really the same scythe. It very well could be that Iron Maiden just has a thing for scythes.
Samurai Eddie, from the beer can, ultimately saves the day
After all those Eddies, you’d think they might have run out of room for the guy in the storyboards, but no, he plays a pivotal role in the vengeance exacted on all the people in Belshazzar’s Feast who couldn’t care less about the starving people dying in the desert just outside. One such reveler is a big fat man who rides to the feast in a car sporting upside-down American flags with the stars noticeably absent. His license plate reads "Pres 1" and Roman numerals representing the number 666 are spray-painted on his car. This jerk ultimately gets his brain hacked out of his skull by an Eddie. The riders take care of him and other feasters, but for Belshazzar himself, who we see sucking the life force out of helpless bodies floating in tubes of green goo, we need a different kind of Eddie.
Cue Samurai Eddie. "Samurai Eddie?" you ask. There’s no album cover with a Samurai Eddie on it. Well, you’ve just shown your hand as a totally not hardcore Iron Maiden fan. If you were, you’d have recognized Samurai Eddie from the band’s Trooper Sun and Steel lager. Anyway, Samurai Eddie saves the day and the people in the goo tubes, gives them an apple, then they and the Horsemen Eddies ride away into the sunset as several nuclear blasts destroy what appears to be everything, including all the other fun hidden details in Iron Maiden’s new video for "The Writing On The Wall."