Iron Maiden has been teasing fans and leaving clues since 2019, causing their followers to suspect the band is releasing new music. One of the clues was a Facebook post by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, Iron Maiden’s producer, who said he was “working hard on an unnamed but not-very-secret project.” and that it left “loud ringing” in his ears (via Loudwire).
On July 10, the official Iron Maiden YouTube account posted a video wherein frontman Bruce Dickinson made an announcement: “July the 15th. Rain or shine. Heaven or hell, man or beast, you’re invited to Belshazzar’s Feast.” Although the teaser didn’t provide other details, it was enough to excite fans who have been waiting for new music from the band since their last studio album, “The Book of Souls,” was released in 2015.
On July 15, Iron Maiden delivered and released a new song titled “The Writing on the Wall,” accompanied by an epic animated music video posted to the band’s YouTube channel.
'Belshazzar's Feast' and 'The Writing on the Wall'
Iron Maiden’s latest song and video have several references from the Bible, one of which was mentioned by Dickinson in the teaser when he cited Belshazzar’s Feast. Belshazzar was a Babylonian crown prince, and the feast he hosted appears in the Bible’s Book of Daniel. The passage reads, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand,” per Bible Gateway.
The feast was a celebration of the First Temple’s destruction, but it was halted when a hand appeared to write a message on the wall. “The fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace,” says the passage. Per Ultimate Classic Rock, the writing on the wall told of Belshazzar’s impending death because of his blasphemous behavior and the kingdom’s changing of hands.
The phrase “writing on the wall” is used to mean that something dreadful is about to happen. That may be what the song means, but the accompanying video also shows a new hope after destruction.
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