LONDON December 1st: Bruce Dickinson last night unveiled the dramatic, action-packed video for ‘Afterglow Of Ragnarok’, the first single to be taken from his upcoming solo album The Mandrake Project. In front of a packed audience on the opening day of CCXP23, Brazil’s huge Comic-Con event in Sao Paulo, he premiered the spectacular film and revealed further details about the album and forthcoming comic series in partnership with Z2, including releasing 2,000 CCXP-exclusive versions of the comic to the delight of the international comic community.
The Mandrake Project will be released on March 1st, via BMG on Double Vinyl, Deluxe CD, Digisleeve CD & Digital formats. Across ten inventive, expansive and absorbing tracks, Bruce Dickinson and his long-term co-writer and producer Roy Z, have created one of 2024’s defining rock albums. Sonically heavy and rich in musical textures, it sees Bruce bring to life a musical vision long-in-the-making, and features some of the finest vocal performances of his career.
Recorded largely at LA’s Doom Room with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist, the line-up for The Mandrake Project was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce’s last solo studio album, Tyranny Of Souls, in 2005.
The Mandrake Project - Tracklisting
1. Afterglow Of Ragnarok (5:45)
2. Many Doors To Hell (4:48)
3. Rain On The Graves (5:05)
4. Resurrection Men (6:24)
5. Fingers In The Wounds (3:39)
6. Eternity Has Failed (6:59)
7. Mistress Of Mercy (5:08)
8. Face In The Mirror (4:08)
9. Shadow Of The Gods (7:02)
10. Sonata (Immortal Beloved) (9:51)
Fans of both Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden will notice that the album features the curiously-named ‘Eternity Has Failed’, which first appeared in a different form entitled ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ on Iron Maiden’s 2015’s album The Book of Souls, illustrating how long the creative process for The Mandrake Project has been in the works.
Bruce has previously described lead single, ‘Afterglow Of Ragnarok’ as, “a heavy song and there’s a great big riff driving it…but there’s also a real melody in the chorus that displays the light and shade that the rest of the album brings.” And the track is brought vividly to life in the cinematic video which premiered last night.
Directed by award-winning director Ryan Mackfall, written by Bruce Dickinson and acclaimed British writer Tony Lee (whose lengthy credits include 2000AD, DC and Marvel ranging from Dr Who & Star Trek to Spider Man & X-Men), the film unveils Dr Necropolis, the main protagonist at the heart of The Mandrake Project. It also sets the scene for the story to come, reflecting the dark narrative contained in the 8-page comic book prequel which features in the 7” gatefold vinyl release of the single.
Ryan Mackfall comments, “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 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. 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!”
The Mandrake Project is not just an album, but a dark, adult story of power, abuse and a struggle for identity, set against the backdrop of scientific and occult genius. Created by Bruce Dickinson, the comic series is scripted by Tony Lee and stunningly illustrated by Staz Johnson for Z2 Comics, released as 12 quarterly issues that will be collected into three annual graphic novels. The first episode will be released in comic shops on January 17th, 2024.
Bruce Dickinson and his phenomenal band will bring the music of The Mandrake Project to life with a major headline tour next spring and summer - full dates here.