Bruce Dickinson Details New Solo Album ‘The Mandrake Project’ With More to Decode
Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson has unveiled the details for The Mandrake Project, his first solo album since 2005. The first single, "Afterglow of Ragnarok," has also been released and now there are more clues and messages for fans to piece together.
Dickinson has teased that there are many facets to this release, with a 12-part graphic novel series arriving in January, months ahead of the album.
The album will feature 10 songs, including "Eternity Has Failed," which appeared in a different form on Iron Maiden's 2015 album The Book of Souls.
With more to dive into, there are Latin phrases and curious numbers now attached to The Mandrake Project, which will surely fuel more speculation as to what Dickinson has cooked up.
What Is The Mandrake Project About?
A press release describes Dickinson's latest ambitions in the studio and on the page as a "dark, adult story of power, abuse and a struggle for identity, set against the backdrop of scientific and occult genius."
Fans can begin to glean bits of the narrative via the music video/motion picture short for "Afterglow of Ragnarok," the debut single from The Mandrake Project and first new solo track from Dickinson since 2005's Tyranny of Souls.
After first learning of the mysterious Necropolis character during the end of "If Eternity Should Fail," we finally have our first look at Dr. Necropolis in this cinematic treat.
Director Ryan Mackfall says of the visual component, “Many years before I was a director, I have fond memories of various music videos that spoke to me and one of those was ‘Can I Play With Madness’ by Iron Maiden. For me it defined what a music video is. Little did I know, many years later I’d be on a call with one of the stars of that video, Mr. Bruce Dickinson, discussing ideas for a music video."
Bruce Dickinson, "Afterglow of Ragnarok"
"Bruce has felt like a kindred spirit from that moment and it was therefore only right that we attempted to bring the story of ‘Afterglow Of Ragnarok’ to life in a live action form," Mackfall continues, "Naturally the music is a big part of the engine of the music video and this track was a heavy hitter from the first play. But beyond that I firmly believe it’s also the passion of the artist that defines the results - Bruce’s passion is unmatched. I really hope the fans find themselves taking Necropolis’ journey with the mandrake juice time and time again. This is just the start of something very special!”
About The Mandrake Project Graphic Novel Series
The story of The Mandrake Project will play out across 12 quarterly issues that will be collected into three annual graphic novels spanning three years, the first of which arrives on Jan. 17. It is created by Dickinson, scripted by Tony Lee and illustrated by Staz Johnson.
Head to the Z2 Comics website for more.
"It’s a trilogy loosely linked to the album. And it's very dark. It's for adults, there's family, family abuse, science, people who believe in the occult and do strange things that take place in other dimensions," the singer/author/pilot/fencer/brewmaster (what else did we forget?) tells Globo in a recent interview.
What New Clues Are There to Decipher?
The album cover (seen further below), the mandrake-adorned medallion features the Latin phrase "morte capti, non carcere," which translates to "arrested by death, not in prison."
Compound that with the second half of the first verse from "Afterglow of Ragnraok" — "And I will not be free / I cannot choose to be / Till my creator takes the chains off me" — and there may be some ideas to connect.
The front half of the medallion also has two years inscribed on the left and right — 1941 and 1968. Perhaps we'll learn the significance of those years later on.
Meanwhile, the back half of the medallion (seen above on the cover of the graphic novel) has the 12 months of the year inscribed in sections of the outside ring while the numbers 20-40 all appear on the inner ring with a star positioned at the top.
If you are a numerologist and have some ideas, please let us know!
In the "Afterglow of Ragnarok" video, a quote from English poet William Blake appears on the screen — "I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare, my business is to create."
Dickinson has long been inspired by Blake, with the poet's work influencing prior solo works.
Actor Craig Russell plays the role of Necropolis, starting in present day Los Angeles. He sits in the middle of a chalk-lined pentacle on the floor, encircled by candelabras, string-tied folders with redacted The Mandrake Project documents and scrolls. He holds the aforementioned medallion, drinks a curious potion and his mind enters another dimension as he tries to uncover what this project is all about, later being restored by a couple paddles to the chest, courtesy of his presumed partner Leah.
Needless to say, this is only just the beginning.
When Does The Mandrake Project Come Out?
The Mandrake Project will be released on March 1 through BMG. Pre-order your copy here.
Bruce Dickinson, The Mandrake Project Album Art + Track Listing
01. "Afterglow Of Ragnarok" (5:45)
02. "Many Doors To Hell" (4:48)
03. "Rain On The Graves" (5:05)
04. "Resurrection Men" (6:24)
05. "Fingers In The Wounds" (3:39)
06. "Eternity Has Failed" (6:59)
07. "Mistress Of Mercy" (5:08)
08. "Face In The Mirror" (4:08)
09. "Shadow Of The Gods" (7:02)
10. "Sonata (Immortal Beloved)" (9:51)
Bruce Dickinson - vocals
Roy Z. - guitar, bass
Dave Moreno - bass
Mistheria - keyboards
*Tanya O'Callaghan on bass for all shows
Iron Maiden's Eddie - A Look at Over 40 Years of Metal's Best Mascot
Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita