Album cover
Studio album by Iron Maiden
Released 11 May 1992
Recorded Barnyard Studios, Essex, England, 1991 - April 1992
Genre Heavy metal
Length 58:29
Language English
Label EMI, Epic (United States)
Producer Martin Birch, Steve Harris
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: September 1992
  4. "Fear of the Dark (live)" Released: 1 March 1993

Fear of the Dark (1992)

Fear of the Dark is the ninth studio album released by British 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 lead vocalist until his return in 1999.

It was the first album to be produced by Steve Harris, and the last to feature Martin Birch (who retired after its release).


The Fear of the Dark album cover was the band's first not to be designed by artist Derek Riggs, whose contributions were rejected in favour of Melvyn Grant's. 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." Melvyn Grant has since drawn several more covers for Iron Maiden, making him the band's second most-frequent artist after Riggs.

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"). 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."

The album's musical style showed some experimentation with "Be Quick or Be Dead," a fast tempo song released as the album's first single, and "Wasting Love," the group's sole power ballad, which dates back to Dickinson's first solo album, Tattooed Millionaire. Both songs were Dickinson/ Gers collaborations, which contrast with Harris' "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," a political song from the point of view of a soldier in the Gulf War, although Dickinson would introduce the song at Castle Donington as about "how shitty that war is, started by politicians and finished by people who don't want to kill anybody."

Only two of the album's songs, the title track, and "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," would survive on tours past 1993. "Fear of the Dark" became a popular live track, and was the only song played on the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour which was 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.

"Be Quick or Be Dead," "From Here to Eternity," "Wasting Love," and a live version of the title track were released as singles.

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


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." 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." Billboard had a positive reception upon release, saying Dickinson's voice "shows no sign of wear and tear" and the guitar work "sounds fresh and crisp".

In October 2011, Fear of the Dark was ranked number 8 on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1992.

Fear of the Dark became the third Iron Maiden album to top the UK Albums Chart. 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.

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Be Quick or Be Dead" Bruce Dickinson, Janick Gers 3:24
2. "From Here to Eternity" Steve Harris 3:38
3. "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" Harris 6:56
4. "Fear Is the Key" Dickinson, Gers 5:35
5. "Childhood's End" Harris 4:40
6. "Wasting Love" Dickinson, Gers 5:50
7. "The Fugitive" Harris 4:54
8. "Chains of Misery" Dickinson, Dave Murray 3:37
9. "The Apparition" Gers, Harris 3:54
10. "Judas Be My Guide" Dickinson, Murray 3:08
11. "Weekend Warrior" Gers, Harris 5:39
12. "Fear of the Dark" Harris 7:18
Total length:
1995 reissue bonus CD
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Nodding Donkey Blues" Dickinson, Gers, Harris, Nicko McBrain 3:18
2. "Space Station No. 5" (Montrose cover) Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Montrose 11:58
3. "I Can't See My Feelings" (Budgie cover) Tony Bourge, Burke Shelley 3:50
4. "Roll Over Vic Vella" (parody of Chuck Berry's "Roll over Beethoven") Chuck Berry 4:48
5. "No Prayer for the Dying" (live) Harris 4:23
6. "Public Enema Number One" (live) Dickinson, Murray 3:58
7. "Hooks in You" (live) Dickinson, Adrian Smith 3:44
  • "Space Station No. 5" Contains a hidden track entitled "Bayswater Ain't a Bad Place to Be" (Previously available as a hidden track on the UK Single of 'Be Quick Or Be Dead')


  • Bruce Dickinson - vocals
  • Dave Murray - guitar
  • Janick Gers - guitar
  • Steve Harris - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Nicko McBrain - drums
Additional personnel
  • Michael Kenney - keyboards