Iron Maiden- Senjutsu

The metal legends unleash their 17th studio album into the world.

When talking about legends of heavy metal, you’d be hard pressed not to give Iron Maiden a mention.

The band have been almost ever present on the scene for decades and, unlike other groups of their era, seem to be getting more active the later they go on in life.

‘Senjutsu’ was released on 3 September, and has already been accompanied with plenty of positives. It was the band’s first new music in six years. In an interview with Kerrang before the launch, front man Bruce Dickinson admitted that the album was in fact done and dusted in 2019 but that certain factors, global pandemic included, shelved any release dates until this autumn.

The album, 10 tracks totalling over 81 minutes, is sewn together in typical Maiden fashion. The band have prided themselves on being vivid storytellers, and this is something that has not diminished over the years.

Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers all had their input in writing songs on this album, and the different influences are notable in the album.

The japanese theme to the album is a fresh look for the band, and it works. Mascot ‘Eddie’ dons a true Samurai outfit and looks the part, keeping up his ever presence on Maiden album covers.

The title track of the album brings with it a pulsating sense of power and atmosphere, with glimpses of intros heard often on opening tracks of maiden albums from days gone by.

‘Stratego’ and ‘The Writing on the Wall’ are the two most familiar songs to fans, with them being released as singles in the weeks leading to release days. The former would not sound out of place on the ‘Final Frontier’ album, transporting us on through an almost five minute journey through what feels like time and space.

‘The Writing on the Wall’ has a delicate guitar opening, followed swiftly by a foot-tapping beat as the song picks up the pace. The pieces fit together to form the evidence of a band who know exactly how to hit the mark, even after all these years.

‘Lost in a Lost World’ focuses far more on the lyrics than other tracks on the album. ‘We don’t know what we have until we’ve lost it’ could refer to anything or anyone, perhaps how Maiden fans will feel if/ when the band finally decide to call it a day? There will be no retirement talk in this write up, however.

‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, a song on Maiden’s 1984 album ‘Powerslave’ kicks off with a steady, looming build up, as if something hard hitting is just around the corner. ‘The Time Machine’ gives a similar feeling before it bursts into life.

The album is rounded off nicely with the two longest tracks. ‘The Parchment’ and ‘Hell On Earth’ are 12 and 11 minutes respectively, and both bring a different yet equally bright flicker of life to the table.

‘Hell on Earth’ is a portfolio of smart guitar work and an example of how Maiden continue to be able to keep producing long yet excellent tracks. It is the perfect sign off for an album which, after a six year wait, has not disappointed.