Longtime Iron Maiden producer Kevin Shirley revealed he used to receive death threats from fans of the band. The vitriol came after Shirley took over producing duties from classic-era studio ace Martin Birch.

Few relationships between producer and artist were more fruitful than the one between Martin Birch and Iron Maiden. Birch recorded every Maiden album from Killers to Fear of the Dark, spanning a full decade of brilliant work.

Following the Blaze Bayley era, Birch came into the fold for Brave New World, which welcomed Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith back into the band. The album was a pivotal moment for Maiden, giving fans anthems like “The Wicker Man” and “Blood Brothers” while rejuvenating the group beyond all expectations. However, Kevin Shirley wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt from some fans.

“I’ve learned that you have to be pretty thick-skinned when dealing with some Maiden fans,” Shirley tells Metal Hammer. "In the early days of me producing them, I got emails filled with vitriol and even death threats because I wasn’t [late producer] Martin Birch, so you have to let it run off you, like water off a duck’s back. "But I love [Senjutsu] and I hope the fans like it, too – I can’t wait to see these tracks live one day.”

Iron Maiden’s 17th studio album, Senjutsu, will be released Sept. 3. Watch our exclusive interview with Bruce Dickinson about the new record here.

The Top 25 Metal Mascots

We count down the larger than life figures that have stood as the face of so many metal bands.