Iron Maiden Narrates the Global Pandemic Experience


Few bands are as epic—in every sense of the word—as Iron Maiden. Over the course of their 40-year career they’ve drawn on a wealth of influences ranging from 18th century lyrical ballads and classic science fiction novels to ancient mythological tales and intense historic battles. No band does the themes of death, war, insanity, magic, and dystopia better or more intelligently. So who else could possibly narrate our current predicament as effectively as Maiden? Whether you’ve already run for the hills or are hunkering down in your own personal sanctuary, read on to discover just how clairvoyant Bruce, Steve, and the rest of the boys have been in predicting the current state of our brave new world.

On the surrealism of the whole situation:

“Can it be that there’s some sort of an error
Hard to stop the surmounting terror
Is it really the end, not some crazy dream?”
—Hallowed Be Thy Name

On social distancing:

“Night and day I scan horizon, sea and sky
My spirit wanders endlessly
Until the day will dawn and friends from home
Discover why
Hear me calling, rescue me”
—Stranger in a Strange Land

On social distancing after sunset:

“Have you ever been alone at night
Thought you heard footsteps behind
And turned around and no one’s there?
And as you quicken up your pace
You find it hard to look again
Because you’re sure there’s someone there”
—Fear of the Dark

On being cooped up during lockdown:

“Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind
Can’t ease this pain, so easily
When you can’t find the words to say, it’s hard to make it through another day
And it makes me want to cry, and throw my hands up to the sky”
—Wasted Years

On getting frisky during lockdown:

“Memories rising from the past, the future’s shadow overcast
Something’s clutching at my head, through the darkness I’ll be led

Oh another time, another place
Oh another smile on another face
When you see me floating up beside you
You get the feeling that all my love’s inside of you

Please take me away, take me away, so far away”

On the effects of extended isolation on the human mind during lockdown:

“I left alone, my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind
What did I see, can I believe that what I saw
That night was real and not just fantasy
Just what I saw
In my old dreams were they reflections of my warped mind staring back at me
‘Cause in my dream
It’s always there
The evil face that twists my mind and brings me to despair”
—The Number of the Beast

On running out of essential supplies during lockdown:

“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck nor breath nor motion
As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean
Water, water everywhere and
All the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink.”
—Rime of the Ancient Mariner (with Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

On shopping and other essential out-of-the-home activities:

“You’ve got to watch them
Be quick or be dead
Snake eyes in heaven
The thief’s in your head”
—Be Quick or Be Dead

On searching for toilet paper and hand sanitizer:

“Now the contracts out
They’ve put the word about
I’m coming after you

It’s not the money I make
It’s the thrill of the chase
And I’m coming after you

I watch your every move
Study the things you do
And the pattern of your ways”
—The Assassin

On life plans being irreversibly upended:

“You lead me on the path
Keep showing me the way
I feel a little lost
A little strange today

I think I’ll take a hold
Of whatever comes my way
Then we’ll see what happens
Take it day by day

I thought I had it all
I had it all worked out
Just what my future held
That there would be no doubt”
—Different World

On the rapidly plummeting economy and sky-rocketing unemployment:

“Living on a razor’s edge, balancing on a ledge
Living on a razor’s edge, balancing on a ledge
Balancing on a ledge, living on a razor’s edge
Balancing on a ledge, you know, you know”
—The Evil That Men Do

On not knowing whether you’ve contracted the virus or a regular cold/flu:

“Can’t understand what is happening to me
This isn’t real, this is only a dream
But I never have felt, no I never have felt this way before
I’m looking down on my body below
I lie asleep in the midst of a dream
Is it now, could it be the angel of death has come for me?”
—Heaven Can Wait

On the unwavering pandering of politicians, sensationalism of traditional media, and toxicity of social media during times of crisis:

“There’s an evil virus that’s threatening mankind
Not state of the art, a serious state of the mind
The muggers, the backstabbers, the two faced elite
A menace to society, a social disease”

On the vastly varying estimates of how bad this could all get before it’s finally over:

“Another prophet of disaster
Who says the ship is lost
Another prophet of disaster
Leaving you to count the cost

Taunting us with visions,
Afflicting us with fear,
Predicting war for millions,
In the hope that one appears

No point asking when it is
No point asking who’s to go
No point asking what’s the game
No point asking who’s to blame”
—Die with Your Boots On

On the accelerating death count:

“Sometimes it makes me wonder
Sometimes it makes me question
Sometimes it makes me saddened
Always it makes me angry but…

When you can see it happening
The madness that’s all around you
Nobody seems to worry
The world seems so powerless to act

It’s out of control
Blood on the world’s hands
Each day a new toll”
—Blood On the World’s Hands

On the daily news updates:

“You watch the world exploding every single night
Dancing in the sun, a newborn in the light
Say goodbye to gravity and say goodbye to death
Hello to eternity and live for every breath”
—The Wicker Man

On getting through the pandemic:

“Tears for remembrance, and tears for joy
Tears for somebody and this lonely boy
Out in the madness, the all seeing eye
Flickers above us, to light up the sky

Unchain the colours before my eyes
Yesterday’s sorrows, tomorrow’s white lies
Scan the horizon, the clouds take me higher
I shall return from out of fire”
—Remember Tomorrow

Follow writer Rowdy Geirsson on Twitter and illustrator Matt Smith on Twitter! They both have new books out — Norse Mythology for Bostonians (Rowdy) and Barbarian Lord (Matt)! Make sure you check ’em out!!!

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