Heavy metal goliaths Iron Maiden will release an '80s best-of compilation "Somewhere Back In Time" as a free high-quality download.

Available from the band's Web site, the PC-compatible 320 kbps WMA audio files will time-out after three listens, at which point the downloader will be prompted to buy the album as a DRM-free file.

Due for release May 12 through EMI Records, the 15-track album gathers tracks from the band's first seven studio albums and one live album, from the years 1980-1989.

The band's longtime manager Rod Smallwood says the download exercise was designed simply to cater to fans, and introduce new listeners. In a statement issued today, he explains, "We wanted to give the kids of today a fair chance of hearing the music as we would have first heard and experienced it in our day when checking it out in a record shop - top quality sound, in their own time and in an environment of their own choosing so they are able to absorb the depth and worth of the music and lyrics that make Iron Maiden the phenomenon they are."

The British veteran rockers are currently on the South American leg of their world tour.