Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden album)

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Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark.jpg
Studio album by
Released11 May 1992 (1992-05-11)
Recorded1991 – April 1992
StudioBarnyard (Essex, England)
GenreHeavy metal
Length57:58
LabelEMI
Producer
Iron Maiden studio albums chronology
No Prayer for the Dying
(1990)
Fear of the Dark
(1992)
The X Factor
(1995)
Singles from Fear of the Dark
  1. "Be Quick or Be Dead"
    Released: 13 April 1992
  2. "From Here to Eternity"
    Released: 29 June 1992
  3. "Wasting Love"
    Released: 1 September 1992

Fear of the Dark is the ninth studio album released by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Released on 11 May 1992, it was their third studio release to top the UK albums chart, and the last to feature Bruce Dickinson as the group's lead vocalist until his return in 1999.

It was also the first album to be produced by bassist and band founder Steve Harris, and the last album to feature the work of producer Martin Birch, who retired after its release and died in 2020.

History[edit]

After recording its predecessor (1990's No Prayer for the Dying) in a barn on Steve Harris' property with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, leading to negative results, for this album Harris had the building converted into a proper studio (christened "Barnyard").[1] Bruce Dickinson describes the results as "a slight improvement because Martin [Birch] came in and supervised the sound. But there were big limitations on that studio – simply because of its physical size, things like that. [It] actually ended up not too bad, but, you know, a little bit under par."[2]

At 57 minutes and 58 seconds in length, Fear of the Dark was Iron Maiden's first double studio LP, as well as the longest album from Dickinson's first tenure in the band.

The album's musical style showed some experimentation with "Be Quick or Be Dead", a fast tempo song in a heavier thrash style released as the album's first single,[3] and "Wasting Love", the group's first power ballad,[4] which dates back to Dickinson's first solo album, Tattooed Millionaire.[5] Both songs were Dickinson/Gers collaborations, which contrasted with Harris' "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", a political song from the point of view of a soldier in the Gulf War,[6] Dickinson would often introduce the song as an anti-war narrative.[7] "Fear is the Key" is about the fear in sexual relationships resulting from AIDS. The song was written around the time when the band learned about the death of Queen singer Freddie Mercury. Dickinson affirmed: "There's a line in 'Fear Is the Key' that goes: "nobody cares 'til somebody famous dies". And that's quite sadly true. [...] As long as the virus was confined to homosexuals or drug-addicts, nobody gave a shit. It's only when celebrities started to die that the masses began to feel concerned".[8] "Weekend Warrior" is about football hooliganism.[8]

Only two of the album's songs, the title track and "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", would survive on tours following 1993. "Fear of the Dark" has been on the set list of every subsequent tour except 2005,[3] in which the band only played songs from their first 4 albums.[9] ”Fear of the Dark” and “Afraid to Shoot Strangers” were the only songs played on the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour and the Maiden England World Tour which were not from the 1980s. "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" became a frequent addition on setlists during Blaze Bayley's tenure with Iron Maiden, following which it returned in 2012.[10]

"Be Quick or Be Dead", "From Here to Eternity" and "Wasting Love" were released as singles.

Guitarist Gordon Giltrap released an album of the same title in 1978. Nicko McBrain was earlier a member of Giltrap's band and played on his 1973 album Giltrap. The Gordon Giltrap logo also uses a font resembling Iron Maiden's logo.[11]

Fear of the Dark Tour was the tour supporting the album.

Album cover[edit]

According to the band's biographer, Mick Wall, the Fear of the Dark album cover depicts their mascot, Eddie, "as some sort of Nosferatu tree figure leering at the moon".[6] It was the group's first not to be designed by artist Derek Riggs, whose contributions were rejected in favour of Melvyn Grant's.[6] According to Iron Maiden's manager, Rod Smallwood, the band began accepting contributions from other artists as "We wanted to upgrade Eddie for the 90s. We wanted to take him from the sort of comic-book horror creature and turn him into something a bit more straightforward so that he became even more threatening."[6] Following Fear of the Dark, Grant has produced several more covers for Iron Maiden, making him the band's second most-frequent artist after Riggs.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal4/10[12]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5[4]

Reviews for the album were mixed, with AllMusic commenting that, while "easily an improvement over 1990's lackluster No Prayer for the Dying (both musically and sonically)", the release "still wasn't quite on par with their exceptional work from the '80s".[3] Sputnikmusic were more positive about the release, stating that "though many of the songs are still sub-par by their standards ... the band returns to the lofty heights that they enjoyed for the entirety of the 80's".[4] Billboard gave it a positive review on release, saying Dickinson's voice "shows no sign of wear and tear" and the guitar work "sounds fresh and crisp".[13]

In October 2011, Fear of the Dark was ranked No. 8 on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1992.[14]

Fear of the Dark became the third Iron Maiden album to top the UK Albums Chart.[15] It is the band's most successful record in North America after the inception of Nielsen SoundScan in 1991, with 438,000 copies sold as of 2008.[16]

Track listing[edit]

Fear of the Dark track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Be Quick or Be Dead"3:21
2."From Here to Eternity"Steve Harris3:35
3."Afraid to Shoot Strangers"Harris6:52
4."Fear Is the Key"
  • Dickinson
  • Gers
5:30
5."Childhood's End"Harris4:37
6."Wasting Love"
  • Dickinson
  • Gers
5:46
7."The Fugitive"Harris4:52
8."Chains of Misery"
3:33
9."The Apparition"
  • Harris
  • Gers
3:53
10."Judas Be My Guide"
  • Dickinson
  • Murray
3:06
11."Weekend Warrior"
  • Harris
  • Gers
5:37
12."Fear of the Dark"Harris7:16
Total length:57:58
1995 reissue bonus disc
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Nodding Donkey Blues"
3:16
2."Space Station No. 5" (Montrose cover)11:57
3."Roll Over Vic Vella" (parody of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven")
  • Berry
  • Harris (adapted lyrics)
4:45
4."I Can't See My Feelings" (Budgie cover)3:48
5."No Prayer for the Dying" (live)Harris4:24
6."Public Enema Number One" (live)
  • Murray
  • Dickinson
3:57
7."Hooks in You" (live)
3:45
Total length:35:52

Notes[edit]

  • "Space Station No. 5" contains a hidden track titled "Bayswater Ain't a Bad Place to Be", which was previously released as a hidden track on the UK edition of the "Be Quick or Be Dead" single.

Personnel[edit]

Production and performance credits are adapted from the album liner notes.[17][18]

Iron Maiden[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 11
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20] 8
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[21] 12
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[22] 36
Finland (The Official Finnish Charts)[23] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[24] 6
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 5
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[26] 25
Italian Albums (Musica e dischi)[27] 7
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[28] 11
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[29] 4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[30] 6
Spain (AFYVE)[31] 26
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 8
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 1
US Billboard 200[35] 12
Chart (2010) Peak
position
Greek Albums (IFPI)[36] 53
Chart (2017) Peak
position
Italian Albums (FIMI)[37] 88
Chart (2019) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[38] 63
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[39] 69

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[41] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Gold 100,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 316. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  2. ^ Berelian, Essi (June 2000). "The Wicked Man". Classic Rock (15): 36–43.
  3. ^ a b c d Prato, Greg. Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Stagno, Mike (17 September 2006). "Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 290. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  6. ^ a b c d Wall, Mick (2004). Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills, the Authorised Biography (3rd ed.). Sanctuary Publishing. p. 289. ISBN 1-86074-542-3.
  7. ^ James, Darren (2005). "No Sleep". Metal Hammer Presents: Iron Maiden 30 Years of Metal Mayhem: 92–93.
  8. ^ a b Dumatrey, Henry (June 1992). "Interview with Bruce Dickinson". Hard Force Magazine (in French) (2).
  9. ^ "Eddie Rips Up The World Tour Begins in Prague; Setlist Revealed". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 29 May 2005. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  10. ^ Alderslade, Merlin (22 June 2012). "First Iron Maiden 'Maiden England' US Tour Setlist Revealed, Rest of World Weeps With Jealousy". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Gordon Giltrap". www.giltrap.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  12. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 August 2007). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 3: The Nineties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-894959-62-9.
  13. ^ "Album Reviews: Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Billboard. 30 May 1992. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  14. ^ Grassi, Tony (24 October 2011). "Photo Gallery: The Top 10 Guitar Albums of 1992". Guitar World. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Iron Maiden UK Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Iron Men". Billboard. 120 (20): 51. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  17. ^ Fear of the Dark (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 11 May 1992.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  18. ^ Fear of the Dark Remastered (Media notes). Iron Maiden. EMI. 1998.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  19. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 2150". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22April 2018.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  23. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 166. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  24. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste – I". Infodisc.fr (in French). Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2012. Select Iron Maiden from the menu, then press OK.
  25. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 1992. 35. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  27. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Album". Then, in the "Titolo" field, search "Fear of the dark".
  28. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  29. ^ "Charts.nz – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  31. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Iron Maiden | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  35. ^ "Iron Maiden Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Greekcharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  37. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  38. ^ "Ultratop.be – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". Music Canada. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  41. ^ "French album certifications – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 26 April 2013. Select IRON MAIDEN and click OK. 
  42. ^ "British album certifications – Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 April 2013.