After an exhausting world tour that lasted for 331 days (183 concerts), Iron Maiden was given 4 months to recuperate. The tour was physically draining for the singer Bruce Dickinson at most since the band rejected their opinions due to a lack of creativity. However, all of the bandmates had the same opinion for the next album. They had to make a difference in their sound, they had to progress: "I felt we had to come up with our Physical Graffiti or Led Zeppelin IV ... we had to get it onto another level or we'd stagnate and drift away" explains Bruce Dickinson.
With the 4 months given to them, the band experimented with synth sounds, especially the lead guitarist Dave Murray. And the result was an Iron Maiden album that is like no others. The whole album was very different from what they did before. It was the first record that they used synths and it became one of the core aspects of the album. Probably the only song that would remind the old Iron Maiden was the single of the album "Wasted Years". Although it wasn't a concept album, the album was based on the themes of "time-space" and also very much science fiction. The song "Stranger in a Strange Land" is very much inspired by the same-titled book of Robert A. Heinlein, and also the cover art of the album was smelling Blade Runner all over the place but it shouldn't be surprising since fantasy and science fiction a theme that often discovered in Iron Maiden's discography.
Even though the album was not considered as a fully "prog metal" album, it was sure a milestone for that developing genre, and it is also a product of a big progression, experimentation, and differentiation on the band's general sound. Enjoy the album!