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SENJUTSU

Iron Maiden

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Iron Maiden Senjutsu album cover
3.72 | 106 ratings | 10 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (40:21)
1. Senjutsu (8:21)
2. Stratego (5:00)
3. The Writing on the Wall (6:14)
4. Lost in a Lost World (9:32)
5. Days of Future Past (4:04)
6. The Time Machine (7:10)

CD 2 (41:41)
1. Darkest Hour (7:21)
2. Death of the Celts (10:21)
3. The Parchment (12:39)
4. Hell on Earth (11:20)

Total Time 82:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Adrian Smith / guitars
- Dave Murray / guitars
- Janick Gers / guitars
- Steve Harris / bass, keyboards
- Nicko McBrain / drums

Releases information

Formats:
- Standard 2CD Digipak
- Deluxe 2CD Book Format
- Deluxe heavyweight 180G Triple Black Vinyl
- Special Edition Triple Silver and Black Marble Vinyl (Selected Retailers)
- Special Edition Triple Red and Black Marble Vinyl (Selected Retailers)
- Super Deluxe Boxset featuring CD, Blu Ray and Exclusive Memorabilia
- Digital album (streaming and download)

Released on September 3, 2021

Thanks to silly puppy for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu ratings distribution


3.72
(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(44%)
44%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Rain Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Senjutsu" is the 17th album by English metal prog gods Iron Maiden. First of all a brief background of my history with the band. I remember buying "Brave New World" back in 2000 and liking it. But then lost track of them and it wasn't until 2010 when "Final Frontier" came out that I would listen to them again. That was my favourite album by them up until this year. I loved all the longer tracks on the album especially. Then their next album "Book of souls" came out five years in 2015 which I also bought and was a double album. For a band that pushes their sound and their own boundaries a lot this was ambitious even for them and featured their longest track to date which was in the 20 minute ball park.

Here we are though in 2021 and now finally after 6 years we have a new Maiden album. Obviously, there was an extensive "Book of souls" tour, but they also did a tour looking back at an older album too with their "Legacy of the Beast" tour. This year thanks to Tim's Twitter listening party where two of the albums involved were "Powerslave" and "Seventh son of the seventh son" has seen me really get into Maiden in a bigger way than ever before. While I haven't got into the whole back catalogue yet. I have listened to a lot of the 80s stuff and also bought a lot of the live DVDs they have released over the years.

In terms of the build up to "Senjetsu", Maiden did make it fun for fans by giving out t-shirts to famous music friends like Frank Turner and Tim Burgees and getting them to wear the t-shirts or post on social media to create this hype wagon. There was then a countdown to specific day and time at one point which ended up being the premier of a new song which was "Writing on the wall" which was soon followed by the album announcement. "Writing on the wall" I felt shows everything which is good about Maiden; great guitar work, great vocals and all round great song composition. I did see some reaction afterwards from reviewers saying Bruce's voice has gone but I have to disagree with that. I think he still has it.

In terms of the album, like "Book of souls" this is a double album which is roughly 40 minutes per CD. 6 tracks on the first side and 4 tracks on the second side. The first 6 tracks have what I would call some of the more accessible tracks on the album and ones which would appeal to more people. Tracks like "Writing on the Wall", "Stratego" and "Days of Future past" are the shortest tracks on the album. "Stratego" I thought was alright when I first heard it but I think it's a track which fits on the album better than listening to it as an individual track. "Days of Future past" for me is a better track. It has a fast tempo kind of like "The Trooper" without being a carbon copy. For me it's a lot more of a hit than "Stratego" and I think it deserves the single treatment and definitely an appearance in their live set.

Title track "Senjetsu" sets up them album well, being the first track. The big drum comes in straight away and the 8 minutes it lasts for feels like it's over all too soon. Much like other tracks on this album. Another track on the first side is "Lost in a lost world" which is the longest track on the first side at around 9 minutes. I would say this has one of the best outros on the album as it winds down with about a minute to go with Bruce's lyrics slotting in absolutely perfectly with the music.

To be honest I think they could have gotten away with just releasing the first disc as an album itself. Yes, it's 6 tracks but it's also 40 minutes which is more than acceptable for an album. It is nicely contained, has the longer tracks and has the more anthemic tracks. I certainly wouldn't have complained if this was the album. However, if you hear the 4 tracks on the second disc you would probably change your mind. The first disc is excellent, but the second disc reaches places and moments which are out of this world and for me arguably up there with best Iron Maiden have ever done.

The shortest track on this disc is "Darkest Hour" which is still 7 minutes long. Then you have "Death of the Celts" at 10 minutes, "The Parchment" at 12 minutes and "Hell on earth" rounding off the album at 10 minutes. Now I think the best way to get across how good these songs are, is that when you look across at say 5-6 minutes through any of these songs. I don't look at it and go "Oh no another 5 odd minutes to go". At these points I'm thinking "You absolute beauty 5-6 minutes to go". These songs are all absolute epics. I must pay particular attention to "Death of the celts" as this gives me major goosebumps. The long guitar instrumental section on this is just sensational. The way the track progresses and the change in pace along with the interplay between guitarists is this best passage of music I have heard all year. "The Parchment" I feel has an uphill task following this and I think on most other Maiden albums it would stand out a lot more as it well and truly still has its moments. And when I say moments, in Maiden terms moments equals minutes. The way this song builds up and finishes with an epic guitar solo is spot on.

Overall, I think and hope this goes down as a classic Maiden album. I think it's better than "Book of souls" and "Final Frontier which was my favourite album by Maiden for a long time has now been moved off its perch. It's harder to compare it to the classic albums they did in the 80s. This is a very different beast. I have listened to this at least twice a day for the last week and I still think there is more to discover and unlock. One things for sure, if I have an hour and twenty minutes to spare in the coming months I sure know what I am going to be doing with it!

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Iron Maiden has consolidated its 21th century style since Brave New World with producer Kevin Shirley. He gives the band all freedom to work in a sort of live in the studio setting; recording bit by bit the tracks as they are written. That album - Brave New World - sounded fresh and modern at the time, but since then the progression of the band its style has come to a stalemate. As with all other albums since then I can't really stop thinking about all missed opportunities for the band. To me the songs sounds unfinished and under-produced. The importance of the overall arch of the songs is ignored, making the songs just 'long' without any build-up that justify the length. The mixing is awful and makes the songs ineffective; everything is just loud all the time. By taking back some gas during refrains or during bridges a lot of excitement could have been build. The recording of the instruments sounds however far better then on the sloppy 'Book of Souls', that sounded like a demo to me. This album has some strings / synths hidden in the mix. They could have been a welcome addition, had they been given the space to work like they did on the 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' record. The legendary vocalist Bruce Dickinson still has a very loud voice and manages to scream over most triple guitar riffing, but his voice sounds much better if doesn't have to do that all the time. My main concern with Iron Maiden latest records is however the lack of a recognizable style for each album like they had up to 'Fear of the Dark'.

Even the title track 'Senjutsu' has nothing more than a bit of ethnic war drumming to it. A good producer would have, by the way, strongly advised to give that song a short pre-chorus or break because the chorus comes out of nowhere and misses its opportunity to shine completely. 'Stratego', co-written by Janick Gers, is a relatively concise song and has some of the better melodies. Without the flat mixing this could have been a classic track for the band. 'The Writing on the Wall' has a nice folky intro and sets up the band to do something original here. The chord patterns and rhythms for the rest of the song are however Iron Maiden recycling its power chord patterns as they have done so often the last twenty years. "Lost in a Lost World' hints at how interesting a spacey folk song by the band could have sounded, but alas, after a few minutes we get boring hardrock riffs. The main melodic theme of the song (starting at 3:38) is the most effective part of the album. A bit like how the song 'Brave New World' struck at first spin. In the ending section we get to hear this part in a clean setting with Bruce not having to scream and it is really beautiful. A good producer would have forced Iron Maiden to rewrite the song and use that as an opening. The solo sections remind me of the X-factor album, though that album showed a nice restrained when it comes to the production - giving the themes a sense of depth. 'The Days of Future Past' is written by Dickinson and Smith and does indeed sound like a track that wouldn't have done badly on an album like 'The Chemical Wedding' (Dickinson solo). 'The Time Machine' is a leftovers song; it has a pleasant atmospheric opening section (where are the sound effects Shirley?) before the riffing starts. The verse riffs in the major key and vocals are among the most exciting of the record and the way Dickinson rises in pitch is very uplifting. At 3:03 another track starts out of nowhere and the form of the song is ruined. 'The Darkest Hour' has a nice opening section with a lead guitar lick reminding me a bit of the 'Somewhere in Time' period. The song has some clean guitars, which gives it some time to breath and work as a song. This is another composition by Smith/Dickinson and it sounds like a fine Dickinson solo recording like 'Taking the Queen'. Then begins the run of Harris' three epics. By the way, they all open with the acoustic bass of Harris. 'Death of the Celts' is basically a rewrite of 'Viritual XI' its 'Clansman' and you can't really blame Iron Maiden for recording it, on this album it is one of the least faceless songs. 'The Parchment' has little new to offer and it doesn't sound very memorable either. The album's closer 'Hell on Earth' fails to leave an impression on me as well. Just Iron Maiden galloping in the minor key and some simple lead guitar melodies.

In conclusion; Iron Maiden has become a band that has its success guaranteed since the return of Bruce Dickinson. They are confident and do what they feel like. They record an album the way they want to. With the song-writing talent they have, the vocals of Dickinson and instrumental prowess they can still showcase they are sure to have another well selling heavy metal album and sold out gigs all over the world. Progressive rock fans have shown great interest as well in this album because of the lengthy epical songs. I myself am not impressed by this record that should have - yet again - been so much more. Had I been given the choice; the full Senjutsu album or a single song like 'The Flight of Icarus', I would have probably chosen the second option. The overall production sound is however the best since Brave New World and it surely is one of the better records of their 21th century run.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Very few bands succeed in getting me excited about releasing a new album since there is so much music to discover that was released over the decades prior and i have no need to be current or contemporarily "correct," however there are a few bands that just seem to have won me over and remain relevant despite having been on the scene for decades. IRON MAIDEN is certainly a band that has cast its spell on me and continues to enchant me with its musical style that has been a fascinating mishmash of metal, punk, prog and other elements since its self-titled debut emerged in 1980. While there are many classic bands like Deep Purple, Yes and Metallica that were once all time favorite bands, their new products are so pathetically weak that i cringe when i hear that they are actually contemplating a relevancy in the modern era! Well, that's not the case with IRON MAIDEN.

This band has always been a cut above the competition and over time has virtually established itself as the pinnacle of heavy metal longevity having churned out one excellent album after another and although it's true that these guys may not be up to the level as their classic seven album run, they still manage to unleash an unexpected surprise that while not their peak always seems to satisfy. Such is the case with the band's 17th studio album SENJUTSU which in Japanese ( 戦術 ) loosely translates as "tactics and strategy" and the first time the mighty MAIDEN has used a Japanese theme since its lesser known live EP "Maiden Japan" was released all the way back in 1981. However this time around, MAIDEN implements Japanese music sounds (such as the taiko drumming on the title track) and subject matter.

So? what about this new album? How does it stack up against the classics of the past? How is it relevant for the modern world of metal? Does it even matter? Well, after a few spins of actually buying this double CD set i have to say, awesome! OK, let's just get this out of the way right now. IRON MAIDEN clearly peaked in the 1980s with its masterpiece "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" and has never topped that crowning achievement and all the six albums that preceded for that matter which are unabashed classics of metal as well that have likewise never been topped but that does not mean for a minute that IRON MAIDEN are not relevant or enjoyable even in the third decade of the 21st century where metal has branched off into myriad mind-numbing directions. MAIDEN clearly established its core sound in the 1980s and has been simply refining and recycling those ideas ever since. But for me it totally works!

When it comes to aging bands that are clearly using past ideas to perpetuate a longevity in the metal universe there are a few trends i've noticed. Firstly, aging bands try to be relevant in the brave new world and try to tackle trends that they have no business doing so. Think, Queensryche of the 90s, well hell many 80s bands trying to become more "alternative" in the 90s! Then there are bands like Judas Priest that decided to go full on prog. Well, "Nostradamus" was a complete [&*!#] show and ultimately they reverted back to their classic 80s sound. And then there are those bands that just never change. You know the ones. They had their heyday in the 1990s and have had umpteen renditions of the classic album that everyone revers so deeply. But then there's IRON MAIDEN which somehow manages to be classic and new at the same time. Playing it somewhat safe yet taking a few risks.

SENJUTSU is the perfect modern representation of IRON MAIDEN really and an excellent followup to "The Book Of Souls" which for the most part simply cannibalized its past glory in the form of riffs, melodies and subject matter and crafted an unthinkable double album that followed another double album! That little tidbit which is both the boon and bane of this band who having achieved unthinkable success really has no [%*!#]s left to give and sallies forth like nobody's business. This leads us to the fact that musicians who have the financial success to do what they want may not always coincide with what the fans want. Granted that IRON MAIDEN has been very generous in not getting too "out there" for their fans and keeping a consistent sound for all these decades but still many will deem this band as one that has become irrelevant as they approach retirement age. I beg to differ. Unlike many a band of the modern era who has traversed a multi-decade career, i find IRON MAIDEN to be extraordinarily adept at walking the razors edge as they run to the hills.

OK, get to the friggin album already! In short it won't win over any haters but will surely please fans who have incorporated this band's overall sound into their musical lexicon. SENJUTSU is a very atmospheric album and sounds like an extended version of the atmospheric parts of "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son." One of the complaints is that this album doesn't have enough metal in it. It is true that it's lacking the sizzling solos and riffing frenzies of the past but still retains the classic MAIDEN compositional fortitude. Side one is pretty strong with all those classic ear worms that MAIDEN has always had a penchant towards and continues even in the modern era. Bruce Dickinson's vocals seem as strong as ever although a bit less energetic than in the past. That could be said for the entire band. They have slowed down a bit but without the aggro-metal angst of the past, however it makes the compositions sounds even stronger and reveals MAIDEN as masters of compositional fortitude with the metal virtuosity simply icing on the cake.

Side two is by far the less exciting of the two sides. Padded with 10-minute plus tracks minus the opening "Darkest Hour," side two is more of a jamming session whereas side one is more about extended variations. Thinks of this like George Harrison's "All Things Will Pass" metal style and you'll get over it. Even the extended metal jams are IRON MAIDEN style and given the interesting musical scales and band interplay, i still find these jams satisfying musical experiences. Yeah, IRON MAIDEN is past its prime. So friggin' what! I'm more impressed that these guys are still making music that i find enjoyable well into their sixties! These days metal is more than just playing fast and loud and IRON MAIDEN is holding a space for 80s metal while other bands are expanding into unthinkable creative metal madness. While many bands of this stature simply release albums as an excuse for a tour, i have to say that i find each and every album released by IRON MAIDEN to be quite enjoyable even if not on the same level. True i'm like others and don't love the Blaze Bailey years but i can't say that any Dickinson album isn't enjoyable on some level and this one is no exception. In fact this one has delivered an unthinkable return value! Long live MAIDEN!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Senjutsu" is the 17th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through Parlophone BMG in September 2021. The material featured on the album was actually already recorded in early 2019 in Paris, France with producer Kevin Shirley (same studio and producer as used on "The Book of Souls" from 2015), but as a consequence of a heavy touring schedule and the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak meant the band sat on the album and kept quiet about having recorded it for over two years.

"Senjutsu" is a double album release, featuring 10 tracks and a total playing time of 81:53 minutes. Disc 1 features 6 tracks and disc 2 features 4 tracks. The album features quite a few lenghty tracks, and disc 2 features no less than 3 tracks exceeding 10 minutes in length. Itīs almost needless to say that "Senjutsu" sees Iron Maiden continuing to pursue the more progressive, atmospheric, and slow building songwriting approach of most of their post-2000 releases. The pace is predominently mid-paced and even slow at times, and you wonīt find many uptempo moments on "Senjutsu". With three guitarists in the lineup the tracks are often layered and intriguing in terms of the guitarist trio complimenting each other, and as the tracks also often feature keyboards, the album is loaded with epic atmospheric moments. Lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson has molded the melody lines to suit him singing in a lower register, which is probably wise considering his age. Although he is still a force to be reckoned with, reaching those really high notes is not something he does that often on "Senjutsu" (although he can still sing in pretty high registers when needed). While the always busy rhythm section of drummer Nicko McBrain and bassist Steve Harris deliver a tight and organic attack, the generally low pace of the songs do have a power sucking effect on their contributions.

Disc 1 opens with two rather uninspired mid-paced tracks in the title track and "Stratego". The former is a slow and repetitive track and the latter isnīt particularly memorable either. Thankfully "The Writing on the Wall" is a pretty great track, showing that Iron Maiden can still develop their sound and try new things which still make sense within the boundaries of their musical style. The almost 10 minutes long "Lost in a Lost World" follows and again itīs a slow building epic track, which features some great moments, but is ultimately a little too long and honestly a bit dull. "Days of Future Past" and "Time Machine" donīt really rock the boat either (the latter features a nice main lead theme, which is repeated quite a lot through the song, but thatīs about it for the positives), and upon conclusion itīs only "The Writing on the Wall", which stands out on disc 1 as something a little out of the ordinary for Iron Maiden.

Disc 2 opens with "Darkest Hour", which is another relatively unremarkable track, and the same can be said about the 10:20 minutes long "Death of the Celts", which follows. Massive epic tracks featuring many layers of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocals, but they arenīt the most accessible nor the most memorable tracks. The album concludes with two more lengthy tracks in the 12:39 minutes long "The Parchment" and the 11:19 minutes long "Hell on Earth". Both are slow building and progressive structured songs, which are solid, but nothing out of the ordinary for post-2000 Iron Maiden. Itīs the type of material the band could write in their sleep, and being Iron Maiden the end result is of course of a high quality, but there is a long way from delivering something solid to delivering something excellent.

"Senjutsu" features a dark and a little murky sounding production, and I have to say that I donīt think Shirley did a particularly great job producing the album. The sound doesnīt suit the material that well and itīs like the songs donīt open up to the listener but instead remain in an inaccessible format. As if it isnīt enough that the generally slow-to mid-paced tracks often suck the energy out of the performances, the sound production further enhances the feeling that the songwriting and the playing are relatively uninspired. Itīs not that it isnīt a professional sound production job, but Iron Maidenīs music would by now prosper from a different production approach.

So upon conclusion "Senjutsu" is not really the triumphant return that fans have been waiting for the last 6 years. Itīs a solid heavy metal album with progressive songwriting structures and ideas, performed by a seasoned crew, but the album does not feature the most inspired compositions, and the lack of pace tends to suck the energy from the tracks and the performances, and when the sound production doesnīt manage to help the material shine either, weīre left with a solid but not great effort, and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is probably me being a little too nice.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Review #29: Senjutsu Despite the passage of time, Iron Maiden have shown me, and I guess many people, the potential they can still hold today. When I finished listening to this, the only thing my head could expire was the desire to applaud endlessly, because what Maiden has achieved with this ... (read more)

Report this review (#2787589) | Posted by Saimon | Thursday, September 1, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I approached Iron Maiden's seventeenth full-length album Senjutsu in the same way as I approach all new releases from glorious bands of the past: with a mixture of hopeful excitement and reluctant dread that the new album won't be anywhere near the glory days of years past. In this sense, Senjutsu t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2655467) | Posted by lukretio | Saturday, December 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Let's be honest, IRON MAIDEN has never done any prog far from it! They release their 17th musical baby after a scheduled end of the pandemic to thrill fans around the world. IRON MAIDEN could get into melodic prog metal somewhere, for some of its tracks with a progressive bass; IRON MAIDEN off ... (read more)

Report this review (#2633575) | Posted by alainPP | Saturday, November 13, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First of all, thank God for letting these guys make such high quality music so advance in their lives and careers, there is a lot of great classic bands putting out top shelf records in the past 2-3 years, incredible! With that being said, let's dive into this exiting surprise, NWOBHM pioneers a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596512) | Posted by ElChanclas | Friday, September 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #112. I bought my first Iron Maiden album when it was released, back in 1981. Yes, it was the album Killers, and I was 13 years old. Since then, I listened to many different styles of music, but I was always following Maiden's releases. Their last album, The Book of Souls wasn't ... (read more)

Report this review (#2592711) | Posted by The Jester | Tuesday, September 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Despite long length in many songs and tempo and rythm changes it is still not prog metal, (but yes, is becoming even more prog related if you will) and still sounds like pure Maiden. With the 17th studio album Iron Maiden delivers one of the top 3 works since the 1999 reunion (the others being Brav ... (read more)

Report this review (#2592680) | Posted by Jmgf | Tuesday, September 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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