Bruce Dickinson: None of us had the balls to step up – but Metallica did

A photo montage of bruce dickinson and metallica
(Image credit: Carlos Alvarez/Stringer/Getty Images/ Midori Tsukagoshi/Shinko Music)

As celebrations marking 30 years of Metallica's seminal self-titled album ramp up, Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson has shared what the album means to him, and the effect it had on metal at a time when the genre was at a "crossroads".

Speaking to Classic Rock magazine, Dickinson says: "Ourselves, Judas Priest and Pantera all reached a crossroads where we had the chance to really step up to the next level. But none of us had the balls to do it. Metallica did, though. You have to give them huge credit for grabbing the opportunity when it came up, taking the risk and deservedly reaping the enormous rewards. You cannot underestimate their achievement with this album.

“It’s one of those seminal albums that just gets it right. It’s extremely well-produced, and every note on that album is totally under control. I admire how they did it, and what they did with the songs, and it was very effective: it undoubtedly did help push metal into the mainstream. I know it wasn’t Mutt Lange who produced it, but Bob Rock had that similar thing where the producer was very much in control. 

However, it's not something Iron Maiden ever would have attempted themselves. Says Dickinson: "We could never do an album like that, because we’re not that under control, and we don’t want to be. With us, the wheels would fall off the bus and we’d end up firing the producer!"

The new issue of Classic Rock, which celebrates 30 years of the Black Album with new interviews with both the band and some of the album's famous fans, is on sale later this week

Metallica are set to reissue the ‘Black Album’ in September in acknowledgement of the album’s 30th anniversary. 

This deluxe reissue will be accompanied by the release of a huge, 53-artist Metallica tribute album, The Metallica Blacklist, featuring artists such as GhostCorey Taylor, Miley Cyrus (with Elton John), St. Vincent, Biffy Clyro, Idles, The Hu, Dave Gahan, Weezer, Chase & Status and covering tracks from the 1991 album.

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.