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The Chemical Wedding (Bruce Dickinson album)

The Chemical Wedding is the fifth solo album by English heavy metal singer Bruce Dickinson, released on 15th September 1998 through Sanctuary Records. The record draws some inspiration from the works of William Blake, featuring sung and spoken excerpts of his prophetic works and poetry (notably And did those feet in ancient time on the track Jerusalem), and with cover art from his painting The Ghost of a Flea, although the name of the album and its title track derive from the Rosicrucian manifesto the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. As with the previous album, it featured Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, then a member of Dickinson's solo outfit.

The Chemical Wedding
The Chemical Wedding.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 September 1998
RecordedJanuary–June 1998, Studios: Sound City, Silver Cloud in Los Angeles, California, USA
GenreHeavy metal
LabelSanctuary (SMRCD214)
ProducerRoy Z
Bruce Dickinson chronology
Accident of Birth
The Chemical Wedding
Scream for Me Brazil
Singles from The Chemical Wedding
  1. "Killing Floor"
    Released: 1998

The film, Chemical Wedding, with a screenplay by Dickinson, was released in May 2008. It features the title track from the album on its soundtrack, but concerns a story about the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley and is otherwise unrelated.



Lyrical themesEdit

Dickinson: "Each song has a sort of frame in which it operates. The first song is about fear, the second song is about tragedy, the third song is about union. You could pick a theme or a topic for each song so that's what the song is about and then you put it in a frame. For example, one of the songs is about failure and the song is called "The Trumpets of Jericho". In the story of the trumpets of Jericho in the Bible, the walls fall down when the tribes of Israel walk around the city and blow their trumpets. Except in this song they don't, it doesn't work. You've done everything right, everything's cool but the wall's still standing. And what do you do? How do you face up to that fact? And it's all part of the whole alchemy thing. What were the alchemists trying to do? They were trying to achieve something that was virtually impossible, they spent their whole lives trying to do it, and all of them failed, or pretty damn near all of them failed. So, what does that feel like, and how does that work, and why keep carrying on. So that's the way the songs kind of work. And you don't have to go into them in all this detail, you could just sit back there and let it hit you over the head like a sledgehammer cause the album works it's just a really heavy album. But it's all there if you want to dig through the words."[1]

Metal Storm: "The lyrics sound as if they were copied right away out of the unholy scriptures, capture the most of the time very empty feeling, warm and comforting sounds you can only expect from the 'Chemical Wedding' and 'The Alchemist' songs."[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [3]
Chronicles of Chaos          [4]
Metal Storm          [2]
Sputnikmusic     [5]
Rock Hard (de)9/10[6]

Critical response to The Chemical Wedding was generally favourable, with Allmusic praising its "modern metal aesthetic".[7] Sputnikmusic said, "Professionally written and recorded, Bruce Dickinson once again pours his soul into his music, and the result is spectacular", and went on to deem it "one of the best metal albums of the late 90s".[8] In 2005, The Chemical Wedding was ranked number 388 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[9]

Track listingEdit

Original track listing
1."King in Crimson"Bruce Dickinson, Roy Z4:43
2."Chemical Wedding"Dickinson, Z4:06
3."The Tower"Dickinson, Z4:45
4."Killing Floor"Dickinson, Adrian Smith4:29
5."Book of Thel"Dickinson, Z, Eddie Casillas8:13
6."Gates of Urizen"Dickinson, Z4:25
7."Jerusalem"Dickinson, Z, William Blake6:42
8."Trumpets of Jericho"Dickinson, Z5:59
9."Machine Men"Dickinson, Smith5:41
10."The Alchemist" (The song "The Alchemist" ends at 6:08. After 2 minutes of silence [6:08 - 8:08], begins an untitled hidden track: it is a brief spoken piece, that says: "And all this vegetable world appeared on my left foot. As a bright sandal, formed immortal of precious stones and gold. I stooped down, and bound it on. To walk forward through eternity".)Dickinson, Z8:27
Expanded Edition
11."Return of the King"Dickinson, Smith5:06
12."Real World"Dickinson, Z3:59
13."Confeos" (The song "Confeos" ends at 5:13. After 2 minutes of silence [5:13 - 7:13], begins an untitled hidden track: it is the brief spoken piece contained on the song "The Alchemist".)Dickinson, Z7:35

Additional recordingsEdit

According to an interview with Rock Brigade in October 1998, Bruce mentioned that the band recorded a cover of the Scorpions song, "The Zoo". Although never released as a b-side or bonus track, it did see release that same year on the compilation "ECW: Extreme Music".


Guest musicians

  • Arthur Brown — voice (tracks 5, 7, 13)
  • Greg Schultz — keyboards (track 4)

Chart positionsEdit

Country Chart (1998) Position
Finland Finnish Albums Chart 22[10]
Germany Media Control Charts 41[11]
Japan Oricon 64[12]
Sweden Sverigetopplistan 31[13]
United Kingdom UK Albums Chart 55[14]


  1. ^ Interview with Bruce Dickinson conducted on 19 August 1998 by Seriah Azkath
  2. ^ a b Metal Storm review
  3. ^ The Chemical Wedding at AllMusic
  4. ^ Chronicles of Chaos review
  5. ^ Sputnikmusic review
  6. ^ Breusch, Matthias. "Rock Hard review". issue 137. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  7. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "The Chemical Wedding > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  8. ^ Stagno, Mike. "Bruce Dickinson The Chemical Wedding". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  9. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 54. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  10. ^ "Diskografia Bruce Dickinson" (in Finnish). Finnish charts. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  11. ^ "Chartverfolgung – Bruce Dickinson" (in German). Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  12. ^ "ブルース・ディッキンソン-Oricon Style ミュージック" (in Japanese). Retrieved 9 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Diskografi Bruce Dickinson" (in Swedish). Swedish charts. Retrieved 8 July 2008.
  14. ^ "Chart Stats – Bruce Dickinson". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2008.

External linksEdit