Iron Maiden returns with an overtly political animated epic by Nicos Livesey

The film takes viewers through a dystopian world ruined by pollution and drought, ruled by the elite class as they prepare for a party. Meanwhile, a mysterious cloaked figure summons the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse to the desert, where a vampire is feasting off the souls of the young. Livesey describes how he wanted the film to feel “epic and cinematic, vast and rich, but drenched in Maiden’s aesthetic,” looking to sci-fi and heavy metal for inspiration, as well as the band’s established visual heritage. “I wanted to harness the old Derek Riggs album artworks as much as possible and infuse it with some old school cartoon vibes,” says the director, pointing out the film’s hard lighting, swirling skies and flames burning in the desert. He also cites the work of sci-fi illustrator Peter Jones, comic book artist Mike Ploog, and legendary artist Roger Dean, particularly Dean’s use of light – “his paintings definitely have a Maiden feel about them” – plus films Heavy Metal and Rene Llaloux’s Gandahar.
British heavy metal icons Iron Maiden have worked with some of the leading names in animation to create a truly epic video for new track The Writing On The Wall. Directed by lifelong Maiden fan Nicos Livesey, produced by Blinkink, and creative directed by veteran Pixar artist and director Mark Andrews, the film mixes 2D cel animation and CG elements to create a visual feast fitting of the song’s big messages. It brings to life a story written by Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, inspired by the biblical stories of Belshazzar’s feast and Daniel, “mashed up” with Adam and Eve and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Livesey explains to It’s Nice That, “all wrapped up in a lot of messages about greed and the destruction of the planet, with the top one-percenters sitting in their shiny castles, leaving everyone else outside to rot on a dying planet. It’s meant to be pretty on the nose about the current planetary situation”.
Creative director Mark Andrews adds that they were heavily influenced by Maiden’s cover art, going for “a highly graphic, almost comic book design sense,” with a lot of input on character design from Dickinson himself. “Especially our Daniel character and the four horsemen were all Bruce. He described them as Nazgul on Harleys.” He describes also drawing references from Mad Max: Road Warrior and the original Planet of the Apes, plus “throw in a little of Terry Gilliam’s 12 monkeys for the interiors and Boom! We are on our way!”

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