Hard rocking IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson is keeping his eye on new British band THE DARKNESS - because he's not sure whether they're "for real" yet.

The I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE group have taken Britain by storm with their retro rocking antics, from frontman JUSTIN HAWKINS' FREDDIE MERCURY-inspired falsetto to his bizarre spandex jumpsuits.

And heavy metal veteran Dickinson is reserving judgement on them until he figures out if they're playing an elaborate trick on the record-buying public.

He says, "I haven't seen them live. I can't make out whether they're taking the p*** in a very clever way or whether they're really serious and committed to rock. I have to go see them.

"It could be for real or he could be a manipulative, lying son of a b*** who's laughing at his audience for buying his album."

17/09/2003 21:17