A new album release by Iron Maiden was, is and always will be a very important occasion not just for the band’s legions of fans, not even just for rockers and metalers.
Since the unexpected and sudden announcement of the release, the first samples that were released online until the much anticipated moment where the listener gets the album on his or her hands the waiting was hard and painful.
Below you can read the impressions of Rockpages.gr editors
In my opinion every post-2000 Maiden album has to fight against “Brave New World”. In “Senjutsu” case, we may not have a new champion, but certainly a worthy opponent.
It doesn’t matter if most of the songs are long and mid tempo. Iron Maiden once more do a great job in the compositions, they are creating a magical atmosphere on every song, adding a few touches from “Somewhere In Time” and “Seventh Son…” here and there, maybe more than any of their recent albums making a link to their glorious past.
I am not going to be original, but the two last songs ,“The Parchment” and “Hell On Earth”, are the best, which when you actually get to them after having listened to the entire album you get a feeling of awe. On the other hand I can’t say I was impressed by the title track. In general, as it happens with any album where the songs are longer than 9 or even 10 minutes you need to listen to it several time to realize the amazing work they’ve done in the arrangements and the melodies and feel its grandeur.
Obviously, in a course of more than 40 years there will be some wear and tear. You can’t expect everything to be like it was back in the day. It can’t and it shouldn’t.
The rather short announcement of the new release of Iron Maiden certainly didn’t leave space to prepare our part as it happened in the past. However, this proved quite helpful in order to have a more objective judgment about Senjutsu. Although the title track that opens the album didn’t help me too much, I liked the overall atmosphere that it created. All in all, we have a typical Maiden album with some excellent but also some mediocre moments. “Stratego” and “Writing On The Wall” put us in the mood of a very good and rather mid-tempo album which closes with the amazing, epic “Hell On Earth”. Of course, if “The Time Machine” as well as a part of “The Parchment” were absent, it would not bother me at all.
In this turbulent time and age, the release of a new Maiden album seems loke an oasis in a seemingly endless desert and the one thing that remained was the high expectations to be met. Personally, I wasn’t in a hurry to jump into conclusions as “Senjutsu” is an album that needs many listening sessions to absorb it all. But trust me…upon doing it so, a new magical Maiden world will be revealed in all its glory. “Senjutsu” is epic, dark, progressive with war-themed lyrics and phenomenal compositions in the familiar post-Brave New World era that create a sensational atmosphere as all the songs -despite their long duration- have truly something essential to offer.
“Hell On Earth”, “Stratego”, “Lost in a Lost World”, “Death of the Celts” and “Darkest Hour” are my personal favorite cuts in this album which can be viewed as a distant relative of “The X-Factor”. Up The Irons…Forever!
One of the reasons I believe ‘Senjutsu’ to be one of the best post-reunion Maiden albums is the harmonic coexistence between their most direct side, as represented by the Smith-Dickinson duo, and the famous Steve Harris epics. Regarding those epics, I know, I read, that some are tired. Melodic synth-laden intro, galloping riff, long narration, endless sing-along chants, and away we go. Predictable. For the lyrics there are two choices, young promising commander, or mature reminiscing admiral. Guess what? The record ends not with one, not two, but three such tracks, signed by Harris. And they’re all great (‘The Parchment’ being my favorite). The chief just knows better than you. Think of it differently, would you be upset with Michael Jordan for shooting fadeaways all the time? He kept scoring the damn ball, didn’t he?