Iron Maiden
Senjustsu

This was a heavy duty order for me to review, Senjutsu, the 17th album from my favorite metal band of all time, Iron MaidenMaiden’s earlier output from the debut up until Fear of the Dark are all my favorite Maiden albums.  The first time I heard them was when I was 10 years old and became an instant fan.  Seen them live back in the 80’s as well as multiple times over the last 12 years.  The old-school tours, like Somewhere Back in Time were just magnificent, with the old school setlists and vintage backdrops.

To this day, Maiden are still the best live metal band.  I’ve seen all the greats and still non compare to the Iron Maiden live experience.  Over the last 20 years Maiden’s output has been a bit spotty, with the band writing hellaciously longer songs, resulting in double albums.  Some have been a hit or a miss for me, quite honestly.  The last album, The Book of Souls, from 2015 was over 90 minutes.  JFC, with the super long songs was still a damn good album and the tour was spectacular.  6 years later, with singer Bruce Dickinson, having throat cancer, as well as a hip replacement,  Senjutsu is released and is 80 minutes-so get ready for another long listening experience.

The title track opens the album on disc 1 in an epic metal fashion with a breathtaking drum sound and then that outstanding Maiden rhythm section comes in with Bruce singing in a very epic style.  Great guitar melodies permeate the listener’s eardrums.  The song is a pretty emotive tune and kinda stays in neutral for the 8+ minute duration.  I wanted the song to kinda get into the classic Maiden gallop-it never does.  The guitar solos are great and the band is in top form, musically speaking, however the song seems almost like an 8 minute intro, because of the structure.  “Stratego” is up next and is just shy of 5 minutes and brings in a faster, more traditional Iron Maiden speed.  Catchy solos, great chorus, excellent guitar melodies and the rhythm section is terrific, which includes some cool keyboards.  I want this song in their new live setlist.

“The Writing on the Wall” is also great.  Almost has an opening Southern Rock flair to it-once you hear the guitar riff you will notice.  This song has fantastic guitar riffs, which are catchy AF, and as you see the awesome Iron Maiden album cover with Eddie adorned in a kick-ass Asian outfit, it’s no surprise that there is an Asian influence, with some of the melodies and sounds, punching through the song structures.  “The Time Machine” ends disc 1 and is more upbeat and the rhythm section and chorus are spot on-excellent.

Disc 2 opens with “Darkest Hour”.  Haunting melodies in some parts with catchy vocals and riffs-more of the emotive side of Iron Maiden, which is all over this album.  The song is more of a ballad in some sections.  It’s a pretty good song, slogs on a bit much though.  “Death of the Celts”,  is the best song on this disc, the disc with the longer and more epic songs.  This is over 10 minutes and rages.  There is some really vintage Maiden jamming going on which took me back to like 1987 for a few minutes.  Excellent moments, check at the 6 minute mark to see what I am referring to.  It goes on for a good bit and nothing like Janick Gers, playing air guitar in the back, to the solos.  This entire section begins around the 5 minute mark actually and stays as an instrumental for several more minutes.  Really this jam part is one of the best Maiden has done in 20 years.  I frickin’ love it.

If I was to compare-yes I must, Senjutsu to the last album The Book of Souls, I will go with TBOS, because while the album was longer, I found the songs moving a bit more and more of the rhythm galloping sections the band is known for were more present.  Don’t get me wrong, though, Senjutsu, is excellent and maybe because there is more emotive qualities and some slower tunes, which slog a bit, is why, for me, this is not quite as strong as the last album.  I have been listening to this album non-stop though, and it’s definitely more of a grower, with me.  The more I listen to it the more I enjoy and appreciate it-therefore when I can discover more things on albums, then they usually are in heavy rotation.  The production is beautiful and really at the end of the day this is Iron Maiden and the bastids are in their 60’s/70’s now and still crushing it.  I still did not give my favorite metal band a pass and just blanket this a perfect album, but all things considered, it’s still a great Iron Maiden album.

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Written by Frank Rini
September 13th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik T

    Its sooooooooo long


  2. Commented by: J. Mays

    I really like this one. How I am getting around its length is basically because I have the cd version, it’s ripped to my computer, and grouped into disa 1 and disc 2, so I can basically split it up into two albums. It’s more palatable that way.


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