Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

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Travis The Dragon

Here are all the reviews of Senjutsu so far. I decided to make this thread so people wouldn’t have to sift through pages of posts to read them. Please feel free to add any new reviews that come up. Even though I have a warning in the title, I’m still putting everything in spoilers and that would be nice if everyone else could do the same. Credit goes to FTB, Perun, Russ Dobbs, Iron Lurker, Melony, Riff, and Azas for translations and attachments of reviews.

1. "SENJUTSU" (8:20)
Writers: Steve Harris/Adrian Smith
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

The Music:
A solitary drum — THUD! — two more — THUD! THUD! — some noises that sound like that chattling of the silver screen’s alien villain Predator creep in… where are we?
A muscular chord now fills out the speakers, some descending chords come in and Nicko McBrain is still behind it all, an architect of disorienting, pounding, tumbling tom-kick patterns. Wherever we are, it’s unlike anywhere else we’ve been — and we’re only 45 seconds in.
Here’s Bruce! He sounds like a wise, experienced wizard, which helps explain that silvery mane he’s got now. This groove is relentless, there’s multiple vocal tracks and some shrill bits of keyboard orchestration. It’s all overwhelmingly dense. Something surely has to give, no?
No. All doom, all the time. There’s a sort of despondency here that is uncomfortable, mainly from that marauding groove. It's there from start to finish. No quarter.
Wow, impressive. This is really different. The Steve Harris/Adrian Smith co-writes are always enticing — the guy who writes all the long songs and the one who still has a knack for the quicker ones. “Senjutsu” highlights each of their strengths.
These two also wrote the intro on The Final Frontier, and it sounds like they really expanded on those opening drum sounds they played with over a decade ago now. It’s not the only subtle nod to their past on this album...
The Lyrics:
Battle! And lots of it! With enemies to the north, south, east and west, it explains the disorienting nature of “Senjutsu” and the extremely dismal atmosphere. But dynasties must be protected, even in the face of imminent defeat.
The Verdict:
A lot of people will probably say this sounds a lot like Tool. The drumming makes the comparison easy, but that’s about the extent of that nation. The leadoff spot on an Iron Maiden album is a sacred thing and without even hearing the rest of the album, this spot feels just right for the title track.
2. "STRATEGO" (4:59)
Writers: Steve Harris/Janick Gers

The Music:
And, finally, all that tension has been erased! A yearning lead and a steady gallop helps make things feel more familiar.
This has a dark, cloaked rider kind of feel (ironically, this visual dominated the video for “The Writing on the Wall”). There’s no mistaking it — this is a Gers co-write, evidenced by him playing the vocal melody on guitar underneath Bruce. There’s some sort of vocal effect here and, actually, it works quite well with Janick’s lead tone.
I love the chorus teaser — the concussive blasts have you convinced Bruce’s voice is gonna spread its wings… but it’s cut off quick and back to the gallop we go for another couple rounds and some drawn out chords and, finally, that big chorus payoff.
This reminds me a lot of “Ghost of the Navigator” the way they play around with the pre-chorus/chorus/post-chorus bits. That was a Harris/Gers track too, but with added help from Dickinson. Janick continues to bring forth some of Maiden’s best material.
The keys, that same shrill effect from the title track, help give this a big, big Dance of Death vibe.
The Lyrics:
“How do you read a madman’s mind / Teach me the art of war / For I shall bring more than you bargained for” — Surprisingly, the operatic Dickinson is completely laid back singing this part, as if the battle has already been won, or, more likely, perhaps, he sticks to the notion of the “eye of the storm,” which is mentioned in the chorus. It feels like the eye after that swirling storm that was “Senjutsu.”
No references to the best-in-class ‘Stratego’ board game either. At least, not that I could tell. That’s probably a good thing. There’s more history and culture to mine before turning to games intended for children ages 8-15 for lyrical fodder.
The Verdict:
There’s not many short songs on here and, fortunately, this one is great. Just because Maiden’s songs are longer these days doesn’t mean they can’t still pull off these quick-hit tracks with maximum replay value.
Writers: Bruce Dickinson/Adrian Smith
Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

The Music:
In tandem with one of their most memorable music videos ever, this track was the very first taste of Senjutsu every Iron Maiden fan around the world got. Adrian loves the blues and old school hard rock while Bruce has quite the affinity for Jethro Tull, and both of their passions merge on “The Writing on the Wall.” The quasi-country western flair is a fairly new touch and, if anything, is just slightly reminiscent of the vibe on “El Dorado,” the lead single off 2010’s The Final Frontier.
As expected, this feels even better nestled next to the feel-good “Stratego.” The atmosphere is quite positive, despite some heavy subject matter.
Maiden play to Smith’s strengths here, too, letting his expressive guitar playing rip over the song’s back half with fantastic embellishments that are typical of what he tends to add to songs when played live. These are also some of Maiden’s finest folk melodies ever.
The Lyrics:
Despite the brilliant ‘Belshazzar’s Feast’ teaser campaign, this song is not at all about the story from the Bible. It seems to, instead, be directed at those in positions of power who desperately cling to their less than righteous ways and fail to see their own downfall is inevitable. The earthquake that is a coming is the rumble of the powerless gathering together to force a systematic overhaul. The animated music video made this assertion quite obvious.
The Verdict:
Three songs into the album and it is impossible to determine a direction. With an hour of music left on Senjutsu, anything feels possible. The tempo on “The Writing on the Wall” is somewhat stubborn or restrained, which relays enough tension to connect to the lyrics. This will definitely get a kick in the arse onstage where it will inevitably be played just a bit faster.
Iron Maiden, "The Writing on the Wall" Music Video4. "LOST IN A LOST WORLD" (9:31)
Writer: Steve Harris

The Music:
Here we have the first of Steve Harris’ four epics, all of which eclipse the 9-minute mark.
Some delicate acoustic strumming and breathy “ahhh-ahhh” vocal passages set the grim scene for “Lost in a Lost World.” Bruce, whose voice is draped in a ghastly effect — a spectral energy hanging listlessly in the air like smoke running from a burning stick of incense — comes in almost immediately.
What consistently makes these acoustic intros exciting is the uncertainty of how Steve is going to shatter the still. With utmost urgency, this inevitability strikes — a sturdy riff, trademark Steve Harris style. These verses have a much stronger melodic delivery than the mountainous pile of words ‘Arry usually hands Bruce to deliver in a more rigid fashion as Maiden’s venerable air raid siren still warps them into impossible feats of operatic splendor. These are all good things, however.
Whoa — did not see that X Factor type chorus coming, especially after that buildup passage where Janick’s lead follows Bruce some more. All the fluidity just came to a hard stop right there, a turning point in “Lost in a Lost World” as this jagged rhythm now carries the rest of the track forward. Nicko accents this all brilliantly from there, even in moments of relative simplicity. Restraint is the hallmark of any great drummer.
The Lyrics:
This one is about the slaughter of indigenous tribes, as reflected by those still here, descendents of ancestors long gone, wiped out by bloodthirsty warmongers. The chorus makes a lot more sense now — something historic and beautiful quickly brought to an end in a jarring fashion. These are the things that make Steve Harris such a brilliant songwriter and storyteller.
The Verdict:
There’s some fans out there that will just never accept that this is where Steve wants to be, at least when left to his own devices. As typical as the acoustic intros have become regarding songs of this length, these epics are far from being stuck in any sort of comfort zone. Differentiating these is a ridiculously huge task, especially after authoring so many like this.
Even so, there is much sweeter fruit to be tasted elsewhere on Senjutsu. There’s a bit of a disconnect on some of these parts.
Writers: Bruce Dickinson/Adrian Smith
Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

The Music:
Cool intro! No, seriously, really cool intro! A bit of an eastern flavor, too.
“Days of Future Past” is the hard-charging, single-oriented type track we have come to expect and love whenever Bruce and Adrian team up. The verse screams vintage Maiden with a proper, ripping lead from the long-standing guitar player, but that chorus is firmly rooted in the modern day and Bruce belts out his best vocal performance so far.
There’s a lot of push and pull on this one and Smith always knows how to pull out from a pit-stop tempo and bring everything right back around the track at cruising speed. The double time on the chorus at the end is so very “Out of the Silent Planet” of them — it should’ve gone on for longer!
Eddie, if you’re reading this, could you please nudge the boys to play both “Silent Planet” and this on the next run? Our pen is not mightier than your sword, mate, help us out. This keyboard of ours is rubbish, too — whale oil beef hooked.
The Lyrics:
“The days of future past / To wander on the shore / A king without a queen / To die forevermore / To wander in the wasteland / Immortal to the end / Waiting for the judgement / But the judgement never ends.” That has got to be the best refrain on the album and not just lyrically. Fantastic rhyme scheme on the verses and nicking a title by the Moody Blues sits just fine here— the Moody Blues rule, folks.
The Verdict:
Those fans frustrated by Maiden’s winding prog ambitions mentioned above are going to be all over this one. At this point, we’ve reached what is the strongest song yet (and not just because it’s a short one), which puts the rest of the tracks in prime pole position as Senjutsu begins its fast-rising upward arc.
6. "THE TIME MACHINE" (7:09)
Writers: Steve Harris/Janick Gers
Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

The Music:
The acoustic opening brings me straight back to the shipdeck on the treacherous journey that was “The Talisman” off The Final Frontier, which coincidentally happens to be my favorite on that album.
Part of me hoped Maiden to embark on a wild Emerson, Lake and Palmer Tarkus sort of run here and it could’ve been possible if they chose to write movements for individual escapades enjoyed on this time-traveling contraption. Anyone else? No? Just me?
Still, there’s loads of excitement, carnival-esque melodies, and even some acoustic strumming to support the chorus, which is quite near the level of the one on the previous track. Let’s call it a tie. The forums can sort that one out. Nicko gives it exactly what it needs, elevating everything.
Two halves make up the whole of “The Time Machine,” all bound by that powerfully arresting chorus. Bruce kicks the vibrato into overdrive on this song a lot, too.
That little prog jam breakdown does feel like we’re in a time machine, right back to 2010 in the midsection of “Starblind.”
The Lyrics:
“The Time Machine” focuses on the magnitude of the very concept of visiting bygone eras in Earth’s timeline, rather than cycling through a series of tales.
“Stand among the steeples, stand upon the walls,” sings Bruce with an overly jubilant swagger, like a figure bounding from rooftop to rooftop, eager to share the world’s mysteries with any and all who will listen.
The Verdict:
Since this entire track-by-track breakdown is based around the opinions of this one megafan writer, don’t mind me as I label “The Time Machine” my favorite track on Senjutsu.
It was an immediate standout on my very first runthrough of the album and retains its lofty status after repeated listens. It’s just FUN. I wish this was 20 minutes long — it’s that catchy. There are so many opportunities to experiment.
Unfortunately, this marks the end for Janick’s writing credits. Two-for-two though — we’ll take it!
7. "DARKEST HOUR" (7:20)
Writers: Bruce Dickinson/Adrian Smith
Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

The Music:
The sounds of crashing waves and prickly guitar leads that resemble noisy seagulls open “Darkest Hour,” not just that last Dickinson/Smith co-write on the record, but the last song on Senjutsu not authored exclusively by Harris.
The title speaks to the overall mood of this song, which is dark, brooding and pensive, driven by desperate chords and mystic melodies throughout the stripped back verse. Adrian, again, lays down textured guitar parts that help build to a grand midsection, one that is still rooted in overt misery.
Of all the songs on Senjutsu, it’s “Darkest Hour” that fully encapsulates the enormous range and dynamism of the ageless wonder, Bruce Dickinson.
Do we really have a bona fide ballad on an Iron Maiden album? Maybe not in the lovelorn, weepy, just-got-dumped way, but yes, we do. There’s muddy guitars underneath and soul-screaming, divebomb blues that underscores Smith’s specialty in the band as the expressionist guitar player.
The Lyrics:
This is a heavy one. A ballad written through the eyes of a soldier who dreads the oncoming day. That darkest hour is the one before the dawn breaks, and the fight and struggle begins anew.
Metaphorically, there’s a lot happening on “Darkest Hour.” We’ll see what other fans think come Sept. 3.
The Verdict:
“Darkest Hour” would be a snug fit on Dickinson’s Accident of Birth or The Chemical Wedding solo albums, both of which boasted Smith’s presence.
This is a very atypical Maiden track and is emotionally stirring. It’s rare we get to hear Bruce truly take the spotlight without much instrumentation vying for attention. I expect this will be one of the “grower” tracks for fans who will gradually come to appreciate its splendor.
8. "DEATH OF THE CELTS" (10:20)
Writer: Steve Harris
Johnny Perilla, Loudwire

The Music:
Our beloved ‘Arry has nothing left to prove to anyone in this world or the next (shoutout to anyone who caught that “Can I Play With Madness” reference), but it would seem he is not done proving his worth to himself.
Putting the last 34-plus minutes entirely on one person’s shoulders is a bold, bold move. In many ways, the entirety of Senjutsu will be judged by its three closing tracks.
Within just seconds, “Death of the Celts’ feels like a sequel to the Virtual XI favorite “The Clansman.”
The — yup, you guessed it — quiet intro progresses in a similar manner and all of it has a certain aura of greatness soon to come, shifting back and forth between major to minor keys.
Bruce’s folky, storytelling cadence flows right into the crashing distortion as tension builds… and builds, and builds. Steve likes writing a lot of lyrics, what can we say?
It’s a full five minutes before that tension breaks and “Death of the Celts” becomes a song of two distinct parts, the latter marked by soaring, simple melodic breaks. Think “The Red and The Black.”
Now, where did my sword and shield go? Time to go answer call...
The Lyrics:
It should be no mystery to anyone what “Death of the Celts” is about.
The Verdict:
The eighth song on Senjutsu will kick up some dirt ‘neath your kilt. On this closing trio, Steve is one for one. This is a much stronger nod to the Blaze era than parts of “Lost in a Lost World.” Some may gripe that this is just a recycling or 2.0 version of “The Clansman,” but with a catalog this deep and subjects this rich, why limit yourself to just one?
9. "THE PARCHMENT" (12:39)
Writer: Steve Harris
Mondadori Portfolio, Getty Images

The Music:
Quiet intro? Quiet intro!
Listen, it’s just gonna be what it’s gonna be. Steve has been setting his songs up as individual, cinematic pieces for decades now, so if you want something else, that’s just too bad for you. The lack of traditional structures and songs without obvious choruses are a really unique way of writing, and you just have to take the plunge.
There’s a big “Powerslave” meets “The Book of Souls” vibe on “The Parchment,” the only one of those three not bearing their respective album title’s name. The mid tempo pace remains a constant for three-quarters of the song and Nicko maps out every drum stroke perfectly with the enigmatic melodies and orchestral synths. Suddenly, a galloping break, as if the secrets of this parchment were unleashed upon the world and all is right and good again.
The Lyrics:
It sounded like Bruce referenced ancient Hellenic ruler and tyrant king Herod the Great, but having already filled their one “The Great” song title back in 1986 (“Alexander the Great”), “The Parchment” is the glove that fits here. Considering how damn dark this song is, perhaps Herod’s order to kill all boys under the age of two in the vicinity of Bethlehem (known as the Massacre of the Innocents) is the subject here, as he sought to rid the world of the baby prophet Jesus.
The Verdict:
Without the traditional song structures in place, it can be difficult to remember what sections came from what songs without a few extra listens. It is simply the nature of the beast, to no fault of Harris. Another “grower” that will have you coming back to pick up on all the subtle nuances of “The Parchment.”
10. "HELL ON EARTH" (11:19)
Writer: Steve Harris

The Music:
Here it is, the finale to Senjutsu and, because nothing in life is certain, it could possibly be the conclusion to Iron Maiden’s entire career. Let’s hope not, though!
The opening passage has flashes of The Final Frontier closer “When the Wild Wind Blows,” but, again, none of this feels rehashed. These nods to the past help unify the catalog and it’s obvious Maiden are first and foremost inspired by themselves.
A quiet intro… and no singing at all this time.
“Hell on Earth” possesses some of Steve’s best melodic breaks, ones that are utilized in different ways as the song progresses across it’s 11-minute runtime. It’s a playful way of re-engaging the most memorable elements on the track without conforming to the verse/chorus dynamic Steve seems so… averse (rimshot!)… to.
Vocally, this is another high point of Senjutsu, particularly at the end. Dickinson’s infamous snarl comes out in a visceral way, an impassioned performance that comes right after a minimalist breather.
A glorious, glorious ending that carries off into the distance, just out of sight on the setting sun and the darkening horizon.
The Lyrics:
War is Hell, right?
Enough spoilers for you! Something has to be left, so that’s all you get here.
The Verdict:
The best of Arry’s four epics, no question and another all-time album closer in a long line of legendary endings. The first reaction to listening “Hell on Earth” was — can we swear? Let’s! — BLOODY HELL, HE FUCKING DID IT! HE FUCKING DID IT!
All knees must remain bent in the direction of Steve Harris for all eternity, even if eternity should fail.
I’ll admit, I got a bit nervous when I saw that 40 percent of the album’s tracks were written just by Steve, who had another two co-writes on top of that. It’s just a lot of creativity to demand from one person, now 17 albums deep. Now I just feel embarrassed. Sorry, 'Arry, it won't happen again!

Rating: 7.0
[Image: IRON MAIDEN – Senjutsu]
It’s always an event when a new Iron Maiden is on the horizon. One of the giants of heavy metal, it’s fun to see how their mascot Eddie will be portrayed, but most importantly it’s the sounds that emanate from the speakers once the needle hits the vinyl. Since Bruce Dickinson’s return over 20 years ago, the mighty Maiden machine has churned out records that mix lengthy tracks with steady and sturdy rockers and it’s no different on Senjutsu. Bassist Steve Harris ups the ante with three straight epics to close out the record; each over 10 minutes long! Eddie takes the form of a samurai and while his blade is sharp and his cuts are clean, some of his swings are wild and need seasoning.
Before heading to the conclusion, it’s all about the beginnings and the 8 minute title track starts in a subdued fashion. A militaristic rhythm takes the stage throughout this battle march with no deviations - it almost feels like industrial metal. Dickinson carries the tune with a strong vocal performance, but overall it’s an opener that isn’t exactly a burst of energy. The Brits kick it into high gear with follow-up “Stratego”, a 5 minute cannon fire that has all the hallmarks of classic Maiden, meaty chorus, galloping rhythms, and brilliant lead work by the guitar trio of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers. This is definite single material and wouldn’t be surprised if a music video was made for it. First single, “The Writing On The Wall” takes center stage as cut #3 and the western, folksy vibe is unique for the guys, showing they are capable of new tricks and despite the lazily put together chorus, it stands as a solid track that makes for a good listen. “Lost In A Lost World” is another different one that could fit in with the Blaze Bayley days, especially on The X Factor; Dickinson takes an atmospheric approach with the vocals before a ghostly vocal effect takes place. The song forms into a snug mid-tempo groove filled with a grandiose chorus and more vintage melodic leads from the talented guitarists.
Rounding out Disc 1 is the shortest slice of music, the 4 minute “Days Of Future Past”, another classic rocker that falls in line right with the Brave New World comeback record. Smith and Dickinson are at their best here and should go well live. “The Time Machine” holds more progressivisms and also features the most breathtaking, melodic chorus the album provides. Lyrically reminds of Rush with Dickinson in storyteller mode and stands as one of the best tunes since his comeback.

Disc 2 is where greatness and frustration lie, the 7 minute “Darkest Hour” takes on a war theme and is lyrically chilling and reminds of A Matter Of Life And Death. It doesn’t take the usual approach in terms of structure; it’s almost like a ballad with Bruce carrying the weight of the tune. It’s a grower that might not click on first listen. The star of the show is “Death Of The Celts”. The 10 minute epic is Iron Maiden at its finest, fantastic main melody, masterful, memorable soloing and Dickinson glides with fist-raising vocals as he narrates the downfall of the Celts. It has a defined beginning, middle, and end and doesn’t feel like a long song. If Senjutsu ended here, it would be highly satisfying, but Steve Harris isn’t done with his long, drawn-out pieces. “The Parchment” lyrically fits an Egyptian motif reminding of Powerslave and Harris does his usual – soft intro that blossoms and while strong on the chorus front, it just keeps going and going and going. The tempo picks up at the latter half of the track with a huge soloing section, but overall there’s no reason why this couldn’t be trimmed to 7 or 8 minutes. Closer “Hell On Earth” has a similar structure except Harris delivers one of his best melodies – one that will stick in your head for days. The problem is the song just keeps going; after a climatic solo; it should have ended at the 7 minute mark, but it just keeps going. It would be nice if producer Kevin Shirley or someone stepped in and told good ol’ Steve to rein it in just a little bit.
Senjutsu is another ambitious slice of music from the heavy metal legends. If you haven’t been a fan of the records since Bruce’s comeback then you still won’t be, but if you have loved what the band has been doing then you will certainly love this. There are moments of true, Maiden greatness and also frustration where editing needs to happen. Overall, it’s a solid addition to the Maiden canon and hearing these songs live (whenever that will be) will be a treat!
Review 1 of 2 Rating 9/10

The loudest Folk-Band on the Planet

Iron Maiden themselves probably never thought about sitting 3 years on a finished record and weren't able to talk to you about it. Recorded 2019 in Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, a Studio they know and love. 22 Years ago they recorded Brave New World and also 2015 Book of Souls was created in the western part of Paris. Senjutsu, the name of their 17th output, was kept a secret way to long. After completion the Band toured through North- and South America, shortly after everyone was going their own way to different parts of the world. The last time they've been together was October 15th 2019 in Chile. They worked a little on Legacy of the Beast and Adrian Smith worked with Richie Kotzen on their Self titled collaboration. Then, Corona hit and everything fell kind of flat. After Bruce rejoined maiden in 2000, their musical output can be described in short : Songs are getting longer and more playful. This proud band is taking it's time in creating new songs. Some older fans might mourn the loss of fast paced rockers. But still, Maiden is extremely exciting to this day. If you are burning for more progressive songs while also getting older, they are right there for you. This also accounts for Senjutsu. Maiden successfully create are very thoughtful Double Album clocking in at 82 Minutes. It greatly differs from The Book of Souls. It's closer to Brave New World due to amazing melodies while keeping the progressive direction the Band hast taken since. You instantly hear how unagitated Bruce sings these songs without sounding rushed. Also noteworthy is the production by Kevin Shirley. this is the first record which allows you to put on some headphones and enjoy it. Senjutsu sounds powerful and clear. They didn't sound THAT good since their 80's.

The Brits start off the record kind of monumental and heavy, but also bulky. Nicko takes center stage in >Senjutsu< , drumming like a Shaman, swinging around his kit with ease. in combination with raw guitar chords , the first seconds remind me of Saigon Kicks - New World until it unfolds into a tough and thrilling Maiden Epos. This Harris / Smith song sounds more like a Smith / Dickinson song which could have landed on a Bruce Solo Record. It instantly sits in your ear and doesn't let go.

The robust >Stratego< by Harris / Gers is patented maiden galloping. The chorus is kind of Brave new World flair from Bruce. Haven't heard them that tight in a long time. Great guitar work.

>Writing on the Wall< is a song which enriches Maiden-Folklore with a Southern twist. Great Hard Rock.

>Lost in a Lost World< is the first 9 Minute Harris Epic. It gets carried by foggy Keyboard sounds and an acoustic guitar while Bruce sings lowly and creates a big amount of tension. Creepy Choirs appear out of the fog and lead us into a Guitar and Bass attack after 2 minutes. We are right in it, resemblance of Fear of the Dark, Rime and Form the Greater good of God come to mind, without the same tempo and no rushed verses. The Chorus is sublime and is underlined with fine Synths. Highly addictive !

Review 1 of 2 part 2

>Days of future Past< with a play time of 4 minutes is the shortest song on Senjutsu. A typical Smith Guitar sound with a chorus with could also be found on Brave New World. Strong Song !

>The Time Machine< has a lot going on. Countless Guitar form basically an Orchestra. Some parts of it remind a lot of Dance of Death !

>Darkest Hour< 7 Minutes belong to Dickinson / Smith. Cries of Gulls and the sound of the Sea in the beginning set the tone to a crushing rhythm section with amazing guitar solos. Might even fit on a solo record of Mr. Dickinson.

>Death of the Celts<. Folklore Beginning with a few breaks in between. After 4 minutes you might want to show them the right way to pick up the pace a bit. But when it does, it's great. Kind of Blaze era maiden along the likes of Clansman, Sign of the Cross, Fortunes of War and The Educated Fool.

>The Parchment< Wait, is this Rainbow? You could mistake the early Stages of the song for it, but in the last quarter of the song, it speeds up and the energy level rises. Solo Battles all along.

>Hell on Earth< As fun as The Parchment might be, Hell on Earth feels like absolution and being taken to heavenly gates. Blaze Era vibes all along. Dramatic turn of events and amazing melodies of every member of the band. Enormous! A shining Moment in Maidens Catalog.
Review 2 of 2 – Rating 8.5 / 10

According to your own Rules

Some things never change. Maiden announce a new Record and the world is electrified.

82 Minutes of Music, OK. What looks bulky on Paper, is intense the first few listens. Getting into this record requires a bit of work, few tracks stay in your ear the first listening session.

Compact songs like > Stratego< greet the listener with old fashioned Maiden. Steady McBrain Beat, galopping Bass by Steve and a Chorus where Bruce and the Lead Guitars work together.

>Days of future Past< is a straight Rocker which instantly sits in your brain after the first listen.

Vastly different is the beginning of >Senjutsu<. 69 Year old McBrain starts the song with a Taiko drum like pattern. Hypnotic rhythm. A great combination of Smith's melodic aspirations and Harris' strive for atmospheric setting.

Not everyone will like that Harris has written 4 songs by himself and even more won't like the length of those epics, which were normally the ending songs on previous records. But Harris himself never cared about this.

>Lost in a lost World< resembles to some parts of rime or even fear of the dark.

>The Parchment< uses complex-progressive Instrumental parts which he used since the early days in maiden.

And when >Hell on Earth< starts after roughly 2 minutes it becomes one of the highlights on the album with a catchy melody.

Bruce has a powerful performance throughout the whole record. Angry Emotions, Hope and Despair, you name it.

Shirley did well on the record, but it's no 80's record. But if you wish to bitch and moan about it, listen to the first 7.

If you still want to know what the band is able to do (and thats a ton) , you will have a lot of great hours of music to listen to
Well, there's not terribly much substance to the interview that we haven't had in the ones already published. Here's what I think is new and goes beyond "why are Maiden still successful?":

Bruce thinks the video to "Deutschland" by Rammstein is a masterpiece and he compared WOTW with it in the sense that it's an unusual step for the band and he hopes it will have a similar impact, but he does not say there are any stylistic parallels.

WOTW is animated because that was the only feasible option in the pandemic. In principle he would have had a live action telling of the story too. The biker part is inspired by Sons of Anarchy which he binged during the lockdown.

He says WOTW does not compare stylistically to the rest of the album.

They recorded a song whenever it was written, they didn't record the whole album in one go.

WOTW is about how we are dealing with the post-war prosperity and where humanity I'd headed now.

Senjutsu is about a wall and Bruce thinks Steve watched too much Game of Thrones.

Days of Future Past is based on the film Constsntine starring Keanu Reeves.

He thinks Maiden could make it as long as the Rolling Stones.

Bruce says he gets inspired by folky stuff like Jethro Tull, Blackmore's Night, but also early Hawkwind and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. He doesn't have much use for proggy bands like Yes whis Steve is into.

Darkest Hour is about Winston Churchill and how he saved the world despite being a flawed man.

He stands by his decision to vote for Brexit.

Ed Force One is history. The plane broke, it was a hassle to have around and it's bad for the environment.

He loves Trooper, especially the original and Sun & Steel.

I forgot something: Bruce states his opinions on the post-reunion albums. He says BNW was fantastic, DOD was more experimental, AMOLAD is first-class and underrated, TFF was 'okay', TBOS was 'good' but Senjutsu is special.
An interview with Bruce where the album is talked about quite a bit:

Bruce, are you doing well?

You can believe that. I was even in the gym earlier today to get fit. And now I am ready for you.

Outstanding. What kind of fitness exercises did you do?

I did a bit of work with dumbbells and weights.

Are you in top physical shape in time for Senjutsu to be released?

Oh man, I don't know. To be honest, I've seen people who are more athletic than me. At the moment it's enough for me if I don't become fatally obese (laughs loudly). But seriously: I almost only know people who have gained a lot of weight during Corona. I'm trying not to belong to that large group.

While we are on the phone, Jeff Bezos is flying into space with his rocket. As an experienced pilot, would you also be interested in such an excursion?

Well, I am happy for the billionaires that they have the time for their adventures. Honestly, I grant them that. But I see rather bad chances that I will accompany them in the near future.

Really? Then space travel is not one of the adventures that appeal to you?

Hm, no, if I'm honest, not so much. Oh, you are totally lashed into this rocket and then you are just a passenger. All right, I do not rule out the possibility that I treat myself to such a skill. But I'd rather wait until the price for these flights drops a bit (laughs). Right now, I prefer to invest all my money in my company in Wales, which employs 150 people.

This is Cardiff Aviation, a company that offers aircraft maintenance and pilot training, among other things.

Exactly. But we renamed it CAERDAV a few years ago. In fact, business is doing far better than anyone should have feared. We are practically fully booked until next March and have just hired eleven trainees. We are even in negotiations to take over even more hangar space, which would also create additional jobs. We didn't have to fire anyone either.

Your old core business, Iron Maiden, is finally up and running again. Senjutsu has become a powerful and quite demanding album, as in many places it seems to refer again to a record like Brave New World. How do you feel about Senjutsu?

I think we made a fantastic record. The crazy and really blatant thing is that we've been sitting on this finished album for almost three years now and couldn't tell anyone about it. We recorded it in spring 2019, then we went over to America again to play shows from the Legacy Of The Beast-tour - and actually wanted to release Senjutsu quickly. Instead, the pandemic came and screwed up our plans twice. But now nothing is being postponed. The part has to get out now. We can't and don't want to sit on these songs until the end of our days. And we couldn't have kept the album a secret any longer. It is almost a miracle that we have made it this far.

AC/DC also had to keep their album, which was released last year, a secret for a very long time and everyone involved in the recordings, including the producers, were condemned to silence by contract. How did you do that? Especially since photos of Iron Maiden were circulating on the Internet, which showed you in the corresponding recording period in Paris, where Senjutsu was made.

There are photos from time to time, but nobody can really check them. Those are just rumors. More importantly, no one had a copy of the recordings and we could be absolutely sure that no scrap of music or gossip could get outside. Nobody had a copy of the album. Not even our management. Steve had one on his laptop, and another was locked in a safe somewhere. Well, and I had one at one point because I pulled it off Steve's computer when he was around to mix the Mexico live album.

You compared your video for the single The Writing On The Wall with the Germany-video by Rammstein. Where do you see the parallels?

In the sense that it really is totally surprising. Our video is an animated short film, we haven't done anything like it in all these years. Of course, it's not the same thing, aesthetically and generally, as the Rammstein mini-film about Germany, but we hope the video will have a similar effect for Iron Maiden fans. Some might see the band in a new light. In any case, the Rammstein video is one of my favorite videos of all time. It really is a piece of art.

Why did you choose an animated film?

That was obvious and was practically impossible to do otherwise. In the pandemic, we could never shoot a video like we wanted with real people. If we had started to take on this adventure, then we would have had to make an entire fictional film so that the financial feat would have been worth it.

Senjutsu as such, with its 82 minutes, could be one itself. The songs are again very complex with long intros, long instrumental passages and many twists and turns. Nevertheless, the album differs significantly from The Book Of Souls (2015) or Dance Of Death (2003), on which the progressive side of Iron Maiden really broke through. Do you go into the studio with a rough goal for new music? What did you come up with for Senjutsu?

Oh, we didn't have anything special in mind. We just wanted to make an interesting album. There have already been individual ideas, they always exist. But actually, we went into the studio pretty unprepared. The last two records didn’t go much differently either. Which is a bit strange because The Book Of Souls and The Final Frontier are two of the most complex Maiden albums. When we write music, it's an organic process. We tried out, rehearsed and recorded most of the time. Of course, the songs don't just fall out of the sky. Most of them, anyway (laughs). Steve tends to be very meticulous; he works very detail-focused and knows extremely exactly how he wants something. Sometimes, he would lock himself away for a few days to tinker with certain parts while the rest of us had a good time. At some point, Steve's doors jumped open and he called for the recordings. The things I wrote with Adrian were more conventional. We played the guitar and sang, and we kept doing that until we thought we had something. Then we rehearsed and recorded straight away. Everybody in the band had a very unique, very special feeling while working on Senjutsu. We felt it was going to be great. I think the versatility of these new songs is very strong. The Writing On The Wall is really a bit out of the ordinary and doesn't really give a foretaste of what the rest of the album is like, from my point of view. Every song is different.

Is it also fun to come up with surprises for the fans?

Let's leave the "also" out. We take great pleasure in impressing people with our creativity. Everyone knows what kind of beast Maiden is, and we know it too, and yet there is a lot of space within its framework to try new things. The hard work is getting yourself up and going. In the end you sit in the studio with your mouth open in amazement and think to yourself: Wow, isn't that cool?

In addition to Days Of Future Past and Darkest Hour, you also wrote The Writing On The Wall with Adrian Smith. Are you proud and happy that your song was chosen as an ambassador for the album and not one of your main songwriter and bassist Steve Harris?

Yes, I really am. The song is really pretty catchy and a relatively conventional hard rock song. It is definitely a gigantic Maiden song in the tradition of The Number Of The Beast. But as for the chorus, it's not exactly a million miles away from a number like Run To The Hills either. Let's put it this way: the melody is super memorable, the riff is great, the groove anyway. One of the big trump cards on the album for me is Nicko's drumming anyway. Because he has such a great groove, which for me is the key to all the songs on the album.

But we shouldn't ignore your voice either. Do you do anything for it?

Nope. Nothing. I just start singing. The voice is naturally well oiled. I never took vocal training or anything. Sure, over the years you learn a lot about your voice, you pick up on certain techniques. As my voice has gotten older, it has gotten a little darker. And somehow fatter at the back. Which, by the way, I like a lot. Because that means that I am more flexible with my voice, more atmospheric. Overall, I think my voice has held up very solidly.

Like the rest of Bruce?

(laughs) I hope so. I very much hope that certain parts of me don't age faster than the rest.

In general, songs like Days Of Future Past or The Time Machine convince with particularly robust and strong vocal melodies.

That's how it should be. I think all songs have their melodic advantages. Especially, the two you mentioned. But even some of the guitar riffs are very catchy.

Days Of Future Past is the shortest and most compact song on the record with four minutes and gets straight to the point. Last time, we had a song like this was on Brave New World. How come?

No idea. It just ended. We also looked at each other and thought: shit, we have a song that has scythe after four minutes? (laughs). I believe that the length of a song as such is not a benefit itself. We don’t focus on the length of the songs. The key is that everything you want to do in a song fits into it. The Writing On The Wall, for example, is six and a half minutes, but we also need that for the acoustic intro, among other things. The video is longer, but at the end there is only the credits, so we cheated a little.

Well, the benefit of a long song is in the listening pleasure, right?

Well said, but of course it only works if you can keep the interest running for that long. And I think most of the songs on Senjutsu do their job at this point. Steve's songs too. Stratego isn't that long either, but it's packed with awesome stuff.

What do you actually sing about in Days Of Future Past and in The Writing On The Wall? Is it about some kind of dystopian apocalyptic mood that you create in these songs?

Yes. No. Perhaps, a little (laughs). The Writing On The Wall is a look back and into the future. I'm talking about the generation that fought in World War II and who largely died by now, who secured our freedom and made the post-war economic miracle possible that created Western Europe as we know it to this day. And the question is: what do we do now? With all the technology, with our lifestyle, how should this all go on and who gives us advice on how to behave? Ultimately also: Do we initiate developments within the existing system or do we better turn the system upside down?

So, Bruce?

Oh, I don't provide any answers. I just ask questions. Answering them is not my job. Otherwise, I would run in the elections. And I'll never fucking do that. Just the idea. No, no, I'll leave that. All music can do is offer choices and give you something to think about if that's what you want. As for Days Of Future Past. The lyrics are based on the film Constantine with Keanu Reeves, the source of which is again a comic. The text describes the situation from the perspective of the main character.

The management previously explicitly forbade me to broach the subject of politics, but if you mention it yourself: With a little imagination, one could imagine a Prime Minister Bruce Dickinson.

No. Please, stop.

It can hardly get any worse than Boris Johnson.

Still no. Fuck off. (Laughs uproariously) I am a fucking rock singer and that's it.

But you're also a man of many talents.

Maybe, but my talents are not suitable for such tasks.

Where does this basic Japanese theme of the album come from?

From Steve. The topic actually only extends from the album cover and the furnishing of Eddie with a few Japanese symbols and properties. And the title track has such a slight Japanese flavor I would say. I also have to ask Steve which wall the lyrics are supposed to be about. It seems to me he's been watching a lot of Game Of Thrones lately.

So, Steve watched Game Of Thrones, you Constantine with Keanu Reeves. You mainly spent Corona in front of the telly?

Yes, among other things. I started a bit late, but I watched all the episodes of Sons Of Anarchy. This is one of the reasons why the bikers appear in the video for The Writing On The Wall.

Do you ride a motorcycle yourself?

No, absolutely not. I don't use any means of transport that have pedals.

What actually happened to Eddie? What is he doing in Japan and why is he suddenly a samurai?

No idea. We just thought he looked cool with a sword.

His teeth seem to have suffered quite a bit, however.

That's probably true, our buddy doesn't make the very best impression. He looks a bit gnarled. I don't know, maybe he caught some fucking disease.

You recorded again in the Paris studio Guillaume Tell and again with your regular producer Kevin Shirley. What makes the combination between Kevin and Iron Maiden unique, especially compared to your work with Martin Birch back then?

Martin is unfortunately no longer available. The last album he recorded for Maiden was Fear Of The Dark. He had been retired for a long time and sadly passed away last year. Working with Kevin is different. It is great in its own way because he knows how to capture the band - the way the band plays and ticks today. I think his mix on the new album is particularly successful. Senjutsu's sound is really, really good.

How do you work together in the studio? Like a team or more like a bunch of highly talented individuals?

Iron Maiden are, above all, a unique band. We are different from any other band I have ever met. It would be very difficult and complicated to get a new producer on board for Maiden. Kevin works very well, we sound fantastic, no need to change anything.

What is it that makes you so unique?

We're an unusual mix of characters. Sometimes we work closely together, sometimes not so closely, we write in unusual ways. Lots of little things make us - let's use the word willful. And everything brought together makes up our identity. Without our quirks and peculiarities, we wouldn't be the band we are. We would sound a lot more like other bands.

You mentioned it earlier: You wrote songs and then immediately recorded them instead of collecting the rest of the material, letting the songs sit and working and recording them later in one go. What is the advantage?

We have tried all possible approaches in our careers. If you play every song live and then record it, the work is less complicated, but you also limit yourself. The way we do it now, instrument by instrument, you have more opportunities to experiment. And in that case, we don't think about playing live until the recordings are finished. It is of course a bit tricky to re-develop the song for you to play together. All in all, there is no right or wrong.

If you compare today's Iron Maiden to the band from the eighties or nineties - what do you particularly like about the present-day maiden?

Oh, we have much, much more confidence in our qualities and the confidence to do exactly what we want to do. Without thinking about fashions or whether it's still metal or not. If it's Iron Maiden, it's Iron Maiden. We no longer have to question ourselves critically.

Have you ever thought about trends and fashions?

No, sometimes other people did that for us.

But then you don't care.

That's right, but that's still not it. You get angry after all. But no matter, we don’t give a shit anymore (laughs).

The phase around Somewhere In Time (1986) wasn't your happiest with Maiden - in the 90s you even left the band for a few years after Fear Of The Dark. Do you personally have more fun playing in the band now than before?

Hard to say. I think I actually enjoy it a little more today. Firstly, because I never thought I would do this job for so long, at my age. Every day I'm allowed to go on tour with Maiden feels like an extension of my life. That's wonderful.

Why did you think, at this age, and you are not that old yet, you would no longer be active?

When you're 30, it seems unthinkable to be 60 one day.

What if you are 63?

Then you suddenly think you're 30 again (laughs).

60 is no longer an age for a rock musician, is it? The Stones are as good as 80. How long do you want to carry on?

As long as we do a good job. As long as we don't become a parody of ourselves. Nobody complains that the Rolling Stones are still on the move.

You have changed a lot musically in the past few years. The Maiden sound has become more diverse, we already mentioned it. How do you see the development in your musical direction?

I totally agree with you. On one hand, it sounds silly after all these years when I say that we dare to do more today than we did in the past, but that's how it is. Even in the subconscious, we no longer worry about what anyone on the planet is thinking about us.

Was that a moving process or a sudden realization?

We came up with Brave New World when I got back, and that was a first-class album. Then we slipped into an experimental phase with Dance Of Death, we tried more things out. I think A Matter Of Life And Death is also a fantastic, somewhat underrated album. The Final Frontier was okay, The Book Of Souls was good, but… this album is, of all the albums we've made since Brave New World, a very special one.

We should also talk about Lost In A Lost World. The song starts like a melancholy folk ballad before it bursts.

The first two minutes sound like Moody Blues. Those are the influences of Steve. We have so many influences in this band, half of which the others have never heard of.

What are your secret favorite bands that nobody thinks you like to listen to?

I like folk rock music. Jethro Tull, for example. We almost all love them at Maiden - our folk parts can usually be directly traced back to this band. Otherwise, I seem to be one of the few people who can understand the step Ritchie Blackmore took with Blackmore’s Night. Away from hard rock to folk and medieval music - it's not that absurd. I like this stuff. Otherwise, I really like the early Hawkwind. And The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. Anything, really. In contrast to Steve, I am not at all interested in the virtuoso technical aspects of progressive rock. Yes is one of those bands that has always emphasized it way too much for me. However, I always thought Van der Graaf Generator was great, they meant a lot more to me than Genesis.

Iron Maiden are probably the greatest heavy metal band in the world. On your last tour you sold more than two million tickets. Can you understand it when people say that rock music today no longer has the relevance of the early days?

I just have to invite these people to one of our shows and they will be converted forever.

If you were a 13-year-old boy anywhere in the provinces today, would you love Iron Maiden?

Well, yeah! And not just me. Children, teenagers, girls, boys, all over the world are absolutely drawn to Iron Maiden.

Right from the start, you delighted fans all over the world. Today, in the age of the Internet, it is so common that in the early eighties it usually took longer to attract global attention. Why did you succeed so fast?

Because we were damn good. Just like that. We have always put on the really big drama, the really big show, on stage.

You never suffered from shyness, did you?

No, I'm a pretty extroverted boy. Always been. I like it when everything is loud and bangs. For example, I love the good old explosions on our stage. But of course, you have to fit all of this into a framework, and this framework is always dictated by the songs. We were never posers. We are musical storytellers with a weakness for drama.

In your opinion, what is the significance of humor and self-irony at Iron Maiden?

Important. These are the qualities that make us human. Even in dire situations, we don't completely ignore them. With us, a show, an album always covers the entire spectrum of the human emotional world.

Is Darkest Hour also about World War II?

Yes, more precisely to Winston Churchill. The song deals with how one man, despite his numerous shortcomings, made a decision that, in principle, saved the whole world. Namely, not to surrender, but to fight. Churchill was a great melancholy and was pretty dumped after the war, but despite everything, he inspired an entire nation to stand in the way of dark forces. And he was successful.

You said very clearly that you were not available for the job. But do we need someone like Churchill in politics today?

If only it was that easy. Leadership skills are always relative. Sometimes you need a charismatic optimist at the top, sometimes a technocrat can help you. Most of the time, both are not possible.

You live in London and in the past you openly supported Brexit. Would you decide differently today?

Definitely no. I stand by my decision.

You are also a pilot and fly the Boeing 747, in which you travel from show to show, yourself. Are you looking forward to the flying the jet again?

We discarded it after our concert in Gothenburg in 2016. Because it was damaged, because of the environment, and also because it's impractical to always have an airplane on your bag. You don't need a jumbo to fly from Paris to Zurich.

But it was a great picture that went around the world of your plane standing next to Angela Merkel's little plane.

Oh man, yeah! Didn't that look damn cool (laughs)? At that time, the timing was partly the same as with the plane. But now the Ed Force One is history.

Last but not least, your beer, Trooper Ale, is going really well, isn't it?

Yes, phenomenal. We have sold 30 million pints since the company was founded in 2013. And now we have a whole range of delicious flavors.

Which strain do you like best yourself?

In addition to the original, I especially appreciate Sun & Steel, our pilsner fermented with Japanese sake. That’s really delicious.

You made it, Bruce. What are you doing now?

I will actually go to the pint next door and have myself a beer.
There are 4 reviews in the German “Metal Hammer”:
Reviewer 1: 6,5/7
Reviewer 2: 5,5/7
Reviewer 3: 6/7
Reviewer 4: 3;5/7 (For this reviewer, it’s a weak album, a disappointment.)

Reviewer 4, Metal Hammer Germany:
I tried it on different days, in different moods., gave it a chance to grow, to create an aha moment, to break through. The problems start with the introduction: Why put such a ponderous song at the beginning? Although there is not a single song on the entire album that completely wows me one of the livelier songs (Stratego, TWOTW) would have been better suited than this lame duck.
In general, the band seems to consciously stand on the brakes for long stretches. Besides the absence of any hooks, memorable riffs, uplifting refrains and sing-along passages, ponderous midtempo, progressive structures and expansive instrumental phases dominate and problems with the mixing and Bruce's vocals, which sound pressed in the highs instead of powerful, are noticeable in places.
The best are the moments reminiscent of “Dance of Death” ( Lost in a Lost World, The Time Machine, The Parchment and the neat conclusion Hell on Earth). It is and remains too cerebral, long-winded, expansive and below the line too indifferent.
Instead of a sword that cuts through the air, the band gives us a detailed but blunt blade that has already developed rust.
There are 4 reviews in the German “Metal Hammer”:
Reviewer 1: 6,5/7
Reviewer 2: 5,5/7
Reviewer 3: 6/7
Reviewer 4: 3;5/7 (For this reviewer, it’s a weak album, a disappointment.)

Reviewer 2, Metal Hammer Germany:
SENJUTSU is the crucible of all Iron Maiden studio albums since 2000: the epicness of BRAVE NEW WORLD,
the orchestration of DANCE OF DEATH, the progressiveness of A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, the variety of
of THE FINAL FRONTIER and the dimension of THE BOOK OF SOULS. Now, these releases moved in waves in terms of their popularity with fans: great, debatable, thrilling, disruptive, brillant - a bad state of affairs for SENJUTSU, especially since it also contains elements of the less popular albums.
No question: Some songs could have been tightened up ("The Parchment"), some could have done without another
instrumental part, they should have rethought the sequence of the songs, and, yes, such a double album is jangling and demanding. But: This is how Iron Maiden sounds for twenty years now, there will be no 4-minute songs in the masses any more from the seasoned songwriters (also because three guitarists want to get to their solos). What the band procudes in melodies, harmonies, dynamics and stories nobody, nobody copies on this level. That the really big
choruses on SENJUTSU are a rarity, is just as much a weak point of the album as its poor production,
which often fails to put Bruce Dickinson in his true light. That the album nevertheless grows with with every listen (even the unwieldy introduction turns out to be a powerful epic), proves the continuing class of the band and the
songs. Who can recognize this, will be rewarded with one and a half hours of fulfilling music.
There are 4 reviews in the German “Metal Hammer”:
Reviewer 1: 6,5/7
Reviewer 2: 5,5/7
Reviewer 3: 6/7
Reviewer 4: 3;5/7 (For this reviewer, it’s a weak album, a disappointment.)

Reviewer 4, Metal Hammer Germany:
Iron Maiden seem to have lost certain parts of the audience due to their advanced progressiveness and a tendency to get out of hand already with THE BOOK OF SOULS. Six years later the second double album in the career of the
Brits is by no means a turnaround. Starting with the shanty-like chorus of the introductory title track, the Spanish guitar intro of the first single or the “Lady In Black“ campfire prelude of ”Lost In a Lost World“, the band makes intensified use of global musical folkloric figures, while Dickinson shines with several heroically good vocal melodies (”The Time Machine”). “Death Of The Celts“ is definitely on par with classic Maiden ten-minute epics of the past,
and the part of the song in which Harris' dribbling bass in front of the guitar guitar thunderstorm dominates the stage is applause-worthy. Grumblers point out (not unjustly) the usual musty production of Kevin “Caveman" Shirley or the predominant dwelling in mid-tempo as well as (again not entirely unjustly) the disproportion of ideas and song length. And, yes, admittedly, the creative emptiness of ”The Parchment“ is a dramaturgical stumbling block and a rather aimless string-instrumentalist-bukkake, which was not needed. Especially not because Maiden in ”Hell On Earth“ afterwards have so much more esprit and aplomb, and thus prove with the final that they are despite possible points of criticism in their very own league.
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This is the last of the 4 reviews.
I found them interesting. They mentioned some aspects of the songs that I will now particularly try to sound out.

Reviewer 1, Metal Hammer Germany

The fomalities right away: SENJUTSU contains 10 songs, the shortest is exactly 5 minutes long, the longest scratches the 13-minute mark. The more than 80-minute-long album is opened by the title song, which ponderously takes us on a journey, during which the band shows that they can still do many things better than the often younger competition. First and foremost, Dickenson's vocals, which are doubled in places, still shine in terms of quality and expression. Many of the songs often present themselves restrained, sometimes progressive, but this does not affect the density of content. Slightly confusing sound the occasionally used keyboards, which give the songs a minimal soundtrack character. It takes many listens to begin to understand the 17th album in its entirety, let alone perceive all the typical features of Maiden, which are definitely audible. The last 3 songs alone, which are all beyond 10 minutes long, are so multi-layered that I could write a separate review about each one. Conclusion: my fear of getting a mediocre album that works exclusively with quotes from the last three albums has not been confirmed. Still: It takes work to get into SENJUTSU, but then it is a real listening pleasure, which is not to be expected from many bands in 2021. Respect!
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New review (in french) by Hard Force. :)

You can find the translation here thanks to Azas:
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so the promo copies are out. surprised we do not have a leak already. Unless we do?

According to all I read, they didn't send out promo CDs but had listening events in which reviewers were allowed to take notes.
According to all I read, they didn't send out promo CDs but had listening events in which reviewers were allowed to take notes.
Wonder if they were frisked for small recording devices, not that the quality from that would be usable, but still...
Pretty sure this is also how they handled press for TFF and TBOS. I don’t think it will change when/how the album leaks.
good collection of reviews up there! i'm purposely NOT reading the details...just ratings. seems to be a solid 8 right now which is fantastic. i'm expecting this to be in DOD/AMOLAD territory and an improvement (for me) over TFF and BOS. i like all those albums but i'm hoping for something far punchier, dynamic and coherent than TBOS and TFF
If there are scores that are all over from 5 to 9+, I think I will be the best to judge this album myself. LOL So far, 10/10 based on the singles actually. Good start.
the 5.0 is probably legendarily unfair to Maiden martin popoff lol. so i throw the 5.0 as an Anti-Maiden type (they are out there) and what's left is, by the look of it, a really strong Maiden album coming out way. i'm excited. get excited.
the 5.0 is probably legendarily unfair to Maiden martin popoff lol. so i throw the 5.0 as an Anti-Maiden type (they are out there) and what's left is, by the look of it, a really strong Maiden album coming out way. i'm excited. get excited.
Discarding the 5.0 and the 9.3 we got an excelent score of 8.3.

The median is 8.5.

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