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IRON MAIDEN

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Iron Maiden biography
Founded in Leyton, London, UK in 1975 - Still active as of 2018

One of the most influential bands to have ever graced the heavy metal genre, IRON MAIDEN have always been proud of their prog influences, which include Jethro Tull and Genesis. Their sound, at the same time heavy and intricate, is characterised by Steve Harris's thick, propulsive bass lines, and by fast, furious yet elegant guitar riffing. The band can also boast of some of the genre's most intelligent, articulate lyrics, which range way beyond the usual topics covered by the average heavy metal band.

Formed at the end of the Seventies in London's East End area by bassist and mastermind Steve Harris and guitarist Dave Murray, the band (whose name comes from a medieval torture device) released their first, self-titled album in 1980, at the height of the musical phenomenon known as New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM for short), which IRON MAIDEN spearheaded together with the likes of Saxon and Diamond Head. At the time, their sound was still somewhat influenced by punk, especially due to lead singer Paul Di'Anno's raw, aggressive vocal style. Soon after their debut's release, second guitarist Dennis Stratton left, and was replaced by Adrian Smith, who was soon to become one of the foremost contributors to the band's musical output.

Di'Anno left the band after the release of their second album, "Killers": his replacement was one of the genre's most distinctive, influential voices, Samson's former singer Bruce Dickinson, nicknamed the "Air Raid Siren". The band's first album with Dickinson on board, 1982's "The Number of the Beast", still ranks among heavy metal's undisputed masterpieces. Drummer Clive Burr left after that album, to be replaced by seasoned drummer Nicko McBrain, who has been a member of the band ever since. It was the start of a very favourable period for IRON MAIDEN, which saw them become one of the hottest live acts around, as well as release a string of extremely successful albums, such as "Powerslave" (featuring a 13-minutes-plus take on ST Coleridge's "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"), and the concept "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", considered by many one of the seminal works of the Prog-Metal subgenre.

The release of "Seventh Son. " - which, incidentally, was their seventh studio album - coincided with the start of a difficult stage in the band's career. In fact, guitarist Adrian Smith left to pursue a solo career before the release of ...
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IRON MAIDEN discography


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IRON MAIDEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 653 ratings
Iron Maiden
1980
3.61 | 591 ratings
Killers
1981
3.85 | 744 ratings
The Number Of The Beast
1982
3.77 | 649 ratings
Piece Of Mind
1983
4.13 | 818 ratings
Powerslave
1984
3.99 | 683 ratings
Somewhere in Time
1986
4.22 | 849 ratings
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
1988
2.55 | 434 ratings
No Prayer For The Dying
1990
2.99 | 495 ratings
Fear Of The Dark
1992
3.19 | 383 ratings
The X Factor
1995
2.30 | 360 ratings
Virtual XI
1998
3.97 | 602 ratings
Brave New World
2000
3.58 | 421 ratings
Dance of Death
2003
3.64 | 469 ratings
A Matter Of Life And Death
2006
3.61 | 445 ratings
The Final Frontier
2010
3.84 | 288 ratings
The Book Of Souls
2015
3.71 | 107 ratings
Senjutsu
2021

IRON MAIDEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 263 ratings
Live After Death
1985
2.93 | 94 ratings
A Real Live One
1993
2.73 | 89 ratings
A Real Dead One
1993
3.25 | 76 ratings
Live at Donington
1993
3.93 | 55 ratings
Maiden England
1994
2.99 | 67 ratings
A Real Live Dead One
1998
4.05 | 127 ratings
Rock in Rio
2002
3.92 | 39 ratings
BBC Archives
2002
3.63 | 48 ratings
Beast Over Hammersmith
2002
3.63 | 76 ratings
Death On The Road
2005
3.73 | 85 ratings
Flight 666 (The Original Soundtrack)
2009
3.43 | 55 ratings
En Vivo!
2012
3.70 | 20 ratings
Maiden England'88
2013
3.76 | 17 ratings
The Book of Souls: Live Chapter
2017
3.98 | 13 ratings
Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico
2020

IRON MAIDEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.67 | 6 ratings
Live at the Rainbow
1981
3.50 | 2 ratings
Video Pieces
1983
4.00 | 4 ratings
Behind the Iron Curtain
1985
4.25 | 4 ratings
12 Wasted Years
1987
4.14 | 29 ratings
Maiden England
1989
4.67 | 3 ratings
The First Ten Years - The Videos
1990
4.00 | 1 ratings
From There To Eternity
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live at Donington
1993
3.60 | 5 ratings
Raising Hell
1994
4.50 | 2 ratings
Classic Albums: The Number of the Beast
2001
4.03 | 85 ratings
Rock In Rio
2002
4.00 | 6 ratings
Visions of the Beast
2003
4.45 | 58 ratings
The History of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days
2004
4.20 | 5 ratings
Death on the Road
2006
4.70 | 99 ratings
Live After Death
2008
4.31 | 92 ratings
Flight 666: The Film
2009
3.94 | 35 ratings
En Vivo!
2012

IRON MAIDEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.80 | 5 ratings
The First Ten Years
1990
3.79 | 55 ratings
Best of the Beast
1996
3.04 | 26 ratings
Ed Hunter
1999
2.26 | 35 ratings
Edward the Great
2002
3.34 | 34 ratings
Best of the B'Sides
2002
3.57 | 21 ratings
Eddie's Archive
2002
2.83 | 27 ratings
The Essential Iron Maiden
2005
2.73 | 45 ratings
Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980 - 1989
2008
3.38 | 38 ratings
From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990 - 2010
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Beast Collection
2014

IRON MAIDEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 43 ratings
The Soundhouse Tapes
1979
2.97 | 40 ratings
Women in Uniform
1980
3.00 | 25 ratings
Live!! +one
1980
2.93 | 38 ratings
Running Free
1980
3.10 | 40 ratings
Sanctuary
1980
2.94 | 31 ratings
Twilight Zone
1981
3.13 | 37 ratings
Purgatory
1981
3.34 | 54 ratings
Maiden Japan
1981
3.67 | 21 ratings
Wrathchild promo
1981
3.73 | 40 ratings
Run to the Hills
1982
3.98 | 41 ratings
The Number of the Beast
1982
3.12 | 40 ratings
Flight of Icarus
1983
3.57 | 44 ratings
The Trooper
1983
3.98 | 40 ratings
2 Minutes to Midnight
1984
4.39 | 44 ratings
Aces High
1984
3.64 | 14 ratings
Where Eagles Dare promo
1984
3.63 | 24 ratings
Running Free 1985 live
1985
3.94 | 25 ratings
Run to the Hills 1985 live
1985
4.40 | 42 ratings
Wasted Years
1986
4.11 | 37 ratings
Stranger in a Strange Land
1986
3.66 | 35 ratings
Can I Play with Madness
1988
4.11 | 36 ratings
The Evil That Men Do
1988
4.08 | 36 ratings
The Clairvoyant
1988
2.00 | 6 ratings
An Interview With Iron Maiden
1988
4.04 | 26 ratings
Infinite Dreams
1989
2.61 | 28 ratings
Holy Smoke
1990
2.90 | 29 ratings
Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter
1990
3.33 | 3 ratings
No Prayer for the Dying
1990
3.33 | 3 ratings
Tailgunner
1990
3.00 | 3 ratings
Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter
1990
2.00 | 6 ratings
Talking To Iron Maiden
1990
3.36 | 28 ratings
Be Quick or Be Dead
1992
2.83 | 23 ratings
From Here to Eternity
1992
2.96 | 24 ratings
Wasting Love
1992
3.24 | 29 ratings
Fear of the Dark
1993
3.63 | 24 ratings
Hallowed Be Thy Name
1993
3.38 | 29 ratings
Man on the Edge
1995
3.46 | 26 ratings
Lord of the Flies
1996
3.00 | 5 ratings
Virus
1996
3.33 | 3 ratings
Virus CD1
1996
4.50 | 2 ratings
Virus CD2
1996
3.00 | 1 ratings
In Profile
1997
3.50 | 2 ratings
Maiden Hell
1998
3.40 | 5 ratings
Futureal
1998
4.00 | 2 ratings
An Introduction to... Virtual XI
1998
2.30 | 23 ratings
The Angel and the Gambler
1998
3.56 | 25 ratings
Futureal
1998
5.00 | 2 ratings
Wrathchild
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
Out of the Silent Planet
2000
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Wicker Man
2000
3.90 | 31 ratings
The Wicker Man
2000
3.56 | 27 ratings
Out of the Silent Planet
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Run to the Hills (Live)
2002
2.60 | 23 ratings
Rainmaker
2003
2.87 | 23 ratings
Wildest Dreams
2003
3.33 | 15 ratings
No More Lies
2004
3.30 | 31 ratings
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
2006
3.35 | 26 ratings
Different World
2006
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Pilgrim
2007
3.00 | 33 ratings
El Dorado
2010
3.57 | 7 ratings
The Final Frontier
2010
3.60 | 5 ratings
Coming Home
2010
3.86 | 7 ratings
Speed of Light
2015
4.00 | 5 ratings
Empire of the Clouds
2016
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Writing on the Wall
2021

IRON MAIDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by Saimon

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 is impressive. The passion, the vigour, the tempest that the songs possess.

The caverns of epicness that emanate from the melodies, the interludes, the sonority, this is the example of how to prevail despite age.

Hell On Earth' has been my favourite track. The divine air that the beginning of the song expels, and how that is diluted in the way of the metal song that it is.

Hats off to them, honestly. I've underestimated this album before listening to it because it's so recent.... And how ignorant I've been! No need to give it a chance, YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS!

I tend to be exaggerated or repetitive in my reviews, because lately life has taken a lot of turns in my current situation, but listening to this album was the impulse I needed to motivate me to think a lot of things. Considering that I haven't listened to good Metal like this for a long time. Thank you, Mr. Maiden!

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by lukretio

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 turned out to be a pleasant surprise, showing that, even though they are no longer the reckoning force of 40 years ago, Iron Maiden are still a relevant voice in today's metal landscape. This conclusion is even more surprising if one considers that I have not been impressed by any of the recent releases by the band, including the oft venerated Book of Souls.

So what's Senjutsu's secret? In two words: strong songwriting. Yes, it's that simple. Forty-one years on after they have started their recording career, Iron Maiden can still write memorable heavy metal tunes that are both fun and arousing. The songwriting formula hasn't changed much over the years: a powerful combination of galloping bass grooves, twin guitar leads and riffs, tight drumming, blazing guitar solos and Bruce Dickinson's soaring dramatic vocals that often double the main guitar melody. Fast songs alternate to epic, brooding mid-tempos (giving off strong X Factor vibes) and ballads, creating a varied tracklist that keeps things fresh and entertaining. Structurally, the songs are not too complex, despite the lengthy duration of some of them. There are extended solos and instrumental sections, and the lengthier songs feature multiple parts, but it is all very accessible and memorable, only tiptoeing on the line that crosses into progressive metal.

So far nothing new under the sun as far as any standard Iron Maiden album is concerned. The difference compared to the band's most recent records is that Senjutsu contains a handful of truly inspired songs, with memorable instrumental sections and great vocal melodies. Most of these tracks can be found on Disc 2 of this 81+ minute long double album. 'Darkest Hour' is a sublime ballad infused with pathos and drama thanks to Dickinson's fantastic vocal performance. The emotional solo in the second half of the song is another unmissable moment of the track, and a true highlight of the whole record as well. 'The Parchment' is probably the best song off Senjutsu It is a strongly progressive piece, with some daring tempo changes, a spectacular instrumental section, and a fabulous doomsday verse that sends chills down my spine every single time (strong Seventh Son of a Seventh Son vibes here!), showing that Maiden can still bite when they want to. Album closer 'Hell on Earth' is another strong contender for best track of the album, twisting between delicate acoustic arpeggios and epic galloping guitar riffs. Disc 1 is slightly more average, but there are some glorious moments there too, like the title-track, a very catchy and easy-listening track that shows how consummate Maiden are as songwriters.

Senjutsu also introduces a couple of unexpected sonic twists, like the surprising bluesy guitars of 'The Writing on the Wall' or the vaguely 1970s, Floydian intro of 'Lost in a Lost World'. There is nothing that truly innovates or changes the musical direction the band have been following over the past 40 years, but it is nevertheless refreshing to see that Maiden have not lost the appetite for subtle sonic experiments, seventeen albums into their discography.

The rest of the material is slightly less impressive, with tracks like 'Days of Future Past', ''The Time Machine' and even the slow winding 'Death of the Celts' coming across a somewhat too derivative and flat. This is probably the main gripe I have with the album: if instead of releasing a double disc of over 81 minutes, Maiden had applied a little more quality control and reduced the material to five or six songs for half the length of the LP, this could have been one of the strongest albums the band has released since the 1990s. Nevertheless, Senjutsu stands tall in the band's recent discography and represents a true return to form for Iron Maiden.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by alainPP

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 offers for their latest album the radical solution, 2 CD's to silence the world of metal and the world of prog; a melodic prog metal album ahead of its time, well in its tradition with breaks to highlight the different guitarists and Steve's omnipresent bass; him big fan in front of the eternal GENESOS for example. Well this album I wouldn't talk about it more, good but not in the prog spirit as we dream it. Listen to it anyway because there are pearls with prog reminiscences in it and 3 tracks of more than 7 minutes is not trivial.

IRON MAIDEN has therefore released a 2nd CD with 4 titles and there we almost arrive at progressive musical perfection: intros, atmospheres, soaring, ethnic, folkloric sound, typical sounds and a profusion of progressive notes on each of the titles. If IRON MAIDEN did not exist and released this album alone, I would have given it a 5 on the spot for general creation and musical freshness. 'Death of the Celts' and 'The Parchment' are my favorites for this musical debauchery that brings them into the prog era? I don't know that, but I confess that the second side has been running quite regularly on my turntable lately. Well, you will have included 2 albums for the price of one with a pearl on one of them, that's also IRON MAIDEN.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

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)

 The X Factor by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.19 | 383 ratings

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The X Factor
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by MetalAndy

3 stars Before starting this review, I was reading around on here and other reviewers have been positive on this record, I expected to be the only defender of it, but it is great to see other people who don't feel it is as bad as the reputation suggests.

With the exit of both Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith being well documented, what isn't so well documented that Doogie White (Micheal Schenker, Alcatrazz, Tank) was in the running to be Dickinson's successor. Which presumably have taken Maiden in a completely different direction that was more traditional to what Maiden were known for at that point, which is what makes the choice of Blaze Bayley so baffling, as he is such a different vocalist to Bruce, it would be hard to follow him up with material that sounded similar.

Fortunately Harris opted to go in a completely different direction and write songs which were suited to Blaze's deeper and more baritone vocal range, with the opener of "Sign Of The Cross" being moody, dark and filled with the progressive elements of Maiden that haven't been seen since "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" A Minor is a key that really fits the vocals for this track, it isn't too high and it isn't too low. However, some of the problems with the record in terms of the production start to show on this track, with some of the guitars feeing lifeless and weird when solo's and harmonies are taken, Nickos' Snare doesn't have enough body however, the kit sounds huge and almost at the 12 min mark, it's a ballsy move making a track this long as an opener.

However, it really lets the rest of the album down as it doesn't have anywhere to build up to, the next track "Lord Of The Flies" feels pretty standard by Maiden terms, the i, VII, vi progression is back, along with the repetitive and overdone Maiden i, vi, III, VII progression of the Chorus and Blaze isn't strong enough as a vocalist to carry it, see the Rock In Rio 2001 version for how Dickinson handles this song.

"Man On The Edge" plays closer to Blazes' strengths, with some great performances from the whole band, with Mcbrain being the stand out on it. It's hard for me to dislike this track.

The first half of the album is stronger than the second half by far, "Fortunes Of War" could have used some trimming, there is a good track inside, but it feels like it's struggling to come out with Blazes' slightly flat delivery, weird transitions and edits being the struggling points with the song.

With the second half "Judgement Of Heaven" and "Blood On The Worlds Hands" are the two stand out tracks, unfortunately they've never made the live set since the release as they're easily the two best tracks on the record.

Overall, X Factor is a fine record, but it's not going to convert anyone to the Iron Maiden train, it is far better than Virtual XI and far better in my mind then Senjutsu but it would have been even better if it had been trimmed and shortened to be a snappier record.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

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!

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by ElChanclas

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 and their latest studio album "Tactics and Strategy", or better said, SENJUTSU. The title track opens the first album with a very clear statement: this is a concept album, not the heaviest/fastest in the catalog, clearly melodic and memorable and is going to be a long ride, but a real fun and enjoyable one. 8 minutes of grandiose and dense heavy metal with the use (a lot) of an ingredient not necessarily used too often by the band but that fits perfectly nowadays, Bruce's multiple vocals harmonizing to provide pitch and intensity to the genius musicianship. Did I mentioned the outstanding guitar soloing?

Stratego, the 2nd track and coincidentally the 2nd promotional single. One of the fastest tunes in the record, sounding a lot more IM than the opener track and with Dickinson demonstrating how good of a metal singer he still is! I predict a long standing (at least for the future duration of the band) concert staple, it has everything a fan will expect and crave from the band. Gers & Harris marriage delivers a very good song, but is the overall playing by the band that really rockets the song some levels up!

The first promotional single, The Writing in the Wall. Another future concert staple for sure, I can picture the crowd singing along Bruce like reviving any old classic. What makes this song really unique within Maiden's discography is the use of that Celtic-cowboy-folky feeling guitar melody, it's basically enchanting. The three guitarists perform their parts perfectly and blend together in a way is difficult to picture another trio doing in rock history again. I'm not sure if I would have chosen this song as my first promotional single, but it sure enhances the experience of the listener and prepares him for all things to come in this incredible double album.

Lost in a lost world is the first solo statement by Harris here, and to be honest, I think that if this song was placed as opener for album two replacing the notable opener The Darkest Hour, not only would we have being given a Harris solo album, but alado a even better double effort by the band. The riffing is unequivocally prog and is one of the highlights of this track, then the orchestrally programmed guitars start kicking in, first two, then one, then 3, then one again, the two again, if that's not a wisely planned performance by Master H then, well, it just has to be, right? And the tone, the bass tone, the drumming, the storytelling being accompanied by the pleasant guitar licks. 65 year old (average) musicians do come up with this stuff, Long live [%*!#]ing rock and roll!

Days of future past is a guitar song, composed by the duple Smith & Dickinson, that resembles some of the early raw moments of the band some 35 plus years ago, with a modern twist at the beginning and at the end but witan classic Maiden structure in the centre: rapid and catchy riffs, galloping rhythmic section and memorable (with a surprisingly high pitch) vocals and lyrics, a classic, the guitar solo is a short but powerful one.

The Time Machine, the second song on this CD to feature Gers & Harris credited as writers and again a future concert staple for sure, this time more for the singalong-like guitar playing instead of Stratego's vocal melodies. It closes the first album of this double set evidencing that this band feels very conformable with the "new tempo" in which their music has surfed since... Brave New World maybe? Gers sounds great ant the twin guitar melodies bring back so many good memories from so many good songs from so many good albums, even the FOTD-style pause fits perfectly here, one of my favorites. I apologize in advance but this band is getting closer to the progressive metal genre as years how by, is undeniable.

Darkest Hour? beach and birds??? to open the 2nd album? Mmmm just a mirage, Smith's unequivocal guitar licks (and shredding soloing) lead the way to a heavy ballad, the perfect scenario for Bruce to display all that vocal power he still has, sounding more like a solo album (circa Tear of the Dragon) but preluding what's to come for the next 30 plus minutes.

Death of the Celts, the first epic on this record. An elegant and mature Maiden playing from beginning to end? I guess that's part of what Celtic-like melodies do to a bunch of musicians like these. Harris, the prog head of the band pumps his volume in the mix and brings his masterful playing upfront, leading everyone into this heavy metal nordic-like progressive tune. The twin guitars become a trio, because Harris has playfully united to the harmonic feast and that anthemic feel kicks in, to never let go. I've heard and read people saying that maybe this song (or any of the epics) should be a little shorter, I rather disagree, please give me more guitar solos like these, more triple-guitars/bass battles like these, bring me more epic storytelling, I just can't get enough of such greatness.

The Parchment, Harris again, and again, and again. This song and its melody has the mischievous "bad boy" imprint all over the place, like the atmosphere that surrounds a rainy day in the aftermath of a Viking battle, slowly upgrading the tempo with a wiser and serious sounding Dickinson who is co-leading the scene with the guitar licks. This is my favorite song from this album, the desperate and sometimes painful guitar playing just hooks me without any available remedy. Smith, Gers & Murray are simply fantastic together, period. Almost 13 minutes of perfectly crafted "mid tempo" heavy and melodic heavy metal! Again, the lyrical content is out of bounds!

Afraid to shoot strangers. Sorry, my bad! The almighty Hell on Earth, with the most accurate and actual track title in the whole double set! Traditional Maiden galloping brain designed by H, maybe the more hit single fitted out of the three epics, it just sounds like any song from the SSOTSS era?memorable, melodic, powerful and even just a little bit mainstream. Signature instrumental pause preparing the vocals reentrance at full and furious capacity! Guitar galore with a flawless Nicko and a more than cohesive band! This album is a grower, it just gets better with every listen, but is also guaranteed to grab your attention at first ride, and it might not be the best Iron Maiden ever, but is definitely the best new Iron Maiden ever! The End!

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

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.

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

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!

 Senjutsu by IRON MAIDEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.71 | 107 ratings

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Senjutsu
Iron Maiden Prog Related

Review by The Jester

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 good in my opinion, with the exception of the - very good - Empire of the Clouds. So, when I heard about this new album I didn't pay much attention to be honest, because I thought it would be similar (or worse) in comparison with "Souls" But I was wrong, very wrong!

No, it's not the new Powerslave or the new Number of the Beast, but is there a person who was expecting something like that?

So, in my humble opinion, Senjutsu is a very good and well made album, which includes not one, not two, but three epics! All three of them are really great songs; not in the typical style of Iron Maiden though. I listened to the whole album 4-5 times so far, and I believe that it is one of their best releases after Brave New World, which was released a long, long time ago! But have in mind that it needs some time to fully appreciate it, because it is not as easy going as some of their previous works. For me, this was a very pleasant surprise by Iron Maiden! I would like to give 3,5 stars, but since I can't I am going to give 4.0 (3.0 would be an unfair number to give). Enjoy! :)

Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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