Iron Maiden have started filling up their 2016 tour calendar as they prepare to return to the road for what promises to be a lengthy series of dates in support of their latest release, the two-LP set The Book of Souls.

The band is rolling out its concert announcements in stages, with Australia and South Africa the first territories to be publicly added to the schedule. Maiden are booked to begin its Australian dates in late April, concluding with a show in Perth on May 14, then heading to South Africa for a pair of performances on May 18 and 21. Supporting the band will be the Raven Age, a group led by George Harris, son of Maiden bassist Steve Harris.

As previously reported, those shows look likely to be prefaced by an American leg earlier in the year. According to the band's site, Maiden will start its tour with three U.S. shows in February before moving on to Mexico, Central and South America (including their first-ever concert in El Salvador), then returning to North America in late March for dates in the U.S. and Canada. The Book of Souls tour also promises to bring the band's “long-awaited return” to Japan, as well as their first-ever shows in China.

The tour's ambition befits the sales reception that's greeted The Book of Souls, which debuted at No. 4 during its first week on the U.S. charts, continuing an impressive commercial resurgence that's seen their last six albums move successively higher debut totals. Unsurprisingly, singer Bruce Dickinson says fans can expect to hear plenty of material from the new LP during the upcoming shows.

"Three songs off the new album is not enough. There’ll maybe be four or five," he told "Some of the classics that we haven’t played for a couple of tours, we can bring some of those back. There’s a few songs people have been demanding for a couple of years, we might make a few people happy, they might get what they want. But you can’t do all of the tunes. ... With the reaction to the new album, the excitement over it, and the last few albums, we’ve pretty much dismissed the idea of Iron Maiden being a nostalgia band; it’s just not the case."

Iron Maiden 2016 World Tour
4/29 - Christchurch, Australia
5/01 - Auckland, Australia
5/04 - Brisbane, Australia
5/06 - Sydney, Australia
5/09 - Melbourne, Australia
5/12 - Adelaide, Australia
5/14 - Perth, Australia
5/18 - Cape Town, South Africa
5/21 - Johannesburg, South Africa

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