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Iron Maiden cuts new album

Detroit: Speed and warmth are the hallmarks of ‘The Final Frontier,’ Iron Maiden`s first album in four years.

The British metal sextet recorded at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas -- returning to the spot where the group had previously recorded between 1983-86.

"We breezed through the album, really," guitarist Dave Murray tells Billboard.com. "We actually finished it in six weeks. We were getting down a track a day -- all playing together as a band, Bruce (Dickinson) singing, all in the same room, so there`s a very live-in-the-studio feel to it. Once we finished a track we`d jump straight into doing some extra guitar bits. It was very quick for us."

Murray says the 10-track set, produced by Kevin Shirley, mixes "straight-ahead, uptempo rock songs with good grooves with some other tracks that are kind of longer and more complex."

One, the politically-tinged ‘El Dorado,’ is currently available for fans to download. Another highlight is the album-closing ‘When the Wild Wind Blows,’ an 11-minute track that`s one of the longest songs Iron Maiden has ever recorded.

"The rhythm`s a little bit different from what we`ve done before, and there`s lots of melodies," Murray reports. "It`s a big song. We learned it in sections just because it was such a complex arrangement, but it sounds quite natural (on the record)."

‘The Final Frontier’ is Iron Maiden`s first set of new material since 2006`s ‘A Matter of Life and Death,’ the group`s longest gap ever between studio albums. But Murray says that thanks to other projects -- including 2009`s platinum-selling, award-winning documentary ‘Flight 666’ -- the group didn`t feel the time pass.

The Iron Maiden gang is getting its kicks again on the road, atypically touring before a new album`s release. The group -- which wraps its North American trek on July 20 and kicks off in Europe 10 days later -- is playing ‘El Dorado’ amongst established favourites such as ‘The Number of the Beast,’ ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and ‘Iron Maiden.’

But Murray says it`s looking forward to bringing more of the new material to the stage in the future. "It`s summer so we just wanted to go out and enjoy ourselves and play a lot of old material are fans are going to know," he explains. "We`ll definitely be out again -- We`re not sure when, but we`ll definitely be playing more songs from the new album. But at the moment it`s nice because you`re always planning ahead and what you`re going to be doing in five years, and sometimes it`s nice to just live in the moment."

Bureau Report

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