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 final Iron Maiden album to be produced by Martin Birch, who retired shortly 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 wasn't from the 1980s. "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" became a frequent addition on setlists during Blaze Bayley's tenure with Iron Maiden.
Fear of the Dark Tour was the tour supporting the album.
- "Be Quick or Be Dead" - 3:24
- "From Here to Eternity" - 3:38
- "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" - 6:56
- "Fear Is the Key" - 5:35
- "Childhood's End" - 4:40
- "Wasting Love" - 5:50
- "The Fugitive" - 4:54
- "Chains of Misery" - 3:37
- "The Apparition" - 3:54
- "Judas Be My Guide" - 3:08
- "Weekend Warrior" - 5:39
- "Fear of the Dark" - 7:18
- Bruce Dickinson – vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Janick Gers – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Nicko McBrain – drums
- Michael Kenney – keyboards