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Iron Maiden - Senjutsu CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.67 | 135 ratings

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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 fucking 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!

ElChanclas | 4/5 |


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