The Aftermath

Album: The X Factor (1995)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is one of Blaze Bayley's most significant contributions to Iron Maiden. The former Wolfsbane lead singer took over on vocals for Maiden starting with the The X Factor album and continuing through their 1998 release Virtual XI. He wrote the song with bassist Steve Harris and guitarist Janick Gers.
  • The song deals with World War I, and is written from the perspective of a soldier in the trenches. Blaze Bayley's great-grandfather fought and died in that war; Blaze had a photo of him in his notebook which triggered the memory and led to this song.

    By all accounts, World War I battles were horrific. That's reflected in the lyric as we hear about the carnage and the soldier questions why he is there in the first place.
  • Blaze Bayley had been reading a lot of poetry from the World War I era when he composed this song. In particular, Bayley read the work of Siegfried Sassoon, a British poet who fought on the front lines in France and later became disillusioned with the war. Sassoon gained widespread acclaim in America for his novel, Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man.
  • Blaze Bayley has a very emotional connection with this song, which hits him hard when he performs it. In our 2014 interview with Bayley, he said: "It's a song that I occasionally do in my setlist, but it's heavy in a very emotional way, so I find myself getting very bound up with that song and sometimes mentally it's a dark place to go. So I don't always do it in my set."

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