Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

Status
Not open for further replies.

maideneer10

Educated Fool
I have just managed to get a hold of the physical CD while I await my outstanding delayed order.
My wife bought it for me while she was out shopping.
Anyway I am now going to boot up my old Boss BR-900 CDR and play the album through the headphones. My ears are going to be sore after this but it's all very heavy metal.
This really has been a voyage of discovery today!
 

Oca

Educated Fool
Yeah I never have volume normalization turned on. It still just sounds a bit flat and not that great. Limitation of the format I guess.
Yeah, Spotify is (currently) 320 quality at best so it’s a lossy format and the dynamics are limited compared to CD or lossless. I have both so I can compare back to back. Don’t have a vinyl player yet due to small kids, but it’s on the investment plan for the future :)
 

adrian fn rules

Chili-head
I listened to it twice through last night on spotify and was a bit underwhelmed. I've just played it through on vinyl and it sounds a lot better. The album relies on shifting dynamics (from quiet to loud, loud to quiet) to sound dramatic and because streaming services equalise the volume levels you lose that.
I like it a great deal more now after hearing it on vinyl. Death of the Celts in particular improved the most. Hell on Earth slaps.

The whole album is starting to click and I'm looking forward to spinning it again. As a unit of work it is solid and improves with each listen.

I will say that I find the recycling of old riffs a bit jarring. Some of them just sound similar while others seem to be lifted wholesale and at a similar point in the song.

The intro to Death of... sounds quite similar to The Clansman.
Lost In a... contains a lead line in the instrumental section that is extremely close to the lead line in a similar place in "When the Wild Wind Blows".
The intro to "Time Machine" is very similar to the intro to "The Talisman". The lead line that comes in at 3:10 is extremely close to a vocal melody in "The Book of Souls".

I don'r think these are things that anyone who is less keen than me will pick up and they aren't *huge* problems, they just break the immersion a bit.
I agree and also should mention the recycling of vocals/verse from TOAC on LIALW.........
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Initial impression, one listen: Good and worthy of heavy exploration. Familiar enough yet different enough.

Senjutsu: love the power, not certain about the monochrome pace, like nothing they've done before, good chorus; likely to be grower
Stratego: Instant grabber; fantastic chorus and rhythm.
Writing on the Wall: Polished catchy. Kinda mainstream rock, but not bland at all. Different for Maiden
Lost in a Lost World: A little clunky in construction but pretty cool. I like the intro/outro, again different for Maiden. I do hear the X-Factor references.
Days of Future Past: Very straightforward and unremarkable, but good. Not as heavy as I was expecting. Can't say yet if it's more New Frontier or Judas Be My Guide
Time Machine: Kinda goofy and familiar, very Janick. I could see this one sucking me in.
Darkest Hour: This could have come off Accident of Birth. Tasty solos, emotional vocal.
Death of the Celts: Fine. Seemed to be lacking a real hook.
The Parchment: the most cinematic track so far. Bit of a slow build but I think it will be a grower. The ending seems like something I will go back to over and over
Hell on Earth: Fantastic 'Arry melodies and rhythms. Think this will be the one that gets heavy replays early.
 

Josh

Ancient Mariner
I will say that I find the recycling of old riffs a bit jarring. Some of them just sound similar while others seem to be lifted wholesale and at a similar point in the song.

The intro to Death of... sounds quite similar to The Clansman.
Lost In a... contains a lead line in the instrumental section that is extremely close to the lead line in a similar place in "When the Wild Wind Blows".
The intro to "Time Machine" is very similar to the intro to "The Talisman". The lead line that comes in at 3:10 is extremely close to a vocal melody in "The Book of Souls".

I don'r think these are things that anyone who is less keen than me will pick up and they aren't *huge* problems, they just break the immersion a bit.

I'm still of the opinion that this is them taking bits from the last 20 years of albums and forming everything into a nice, tight package. I don't know if they're aware of it or they're simply doing it instinctively. It feels like the swan song of Maiden albums.
 

Lucas Lourenco

Educated Fool
First impression after one listening: I'm very impressed - in a good way - with how this sounds like Blaze Era in some songs. Parchment and Celts are from X-Factor and VXII, respectively. There's a lot to grasp yet and I hope to write about all songs in a few days. Let me just end this reply by saying that I'm sure Hell on Earth will grow as one of my favorite Maiden songs of all time. I cried twice throughout.
 

Oca

Educated Fool
Speaking of similarities, hasn’t that always been the case? Intro to LOTLDR and melody line in FoTD for example. I’m sure we can come up with many, many more, but I find that some of the melodies and themes on Senjutsu is a bit too obvious (Time Machine and Book of Souls being one of the most blatant regarding lead guitar line, as well as LIALW and WTWW)

As long as they “borrow” from themselves I really don’t have a big issue, there’s only so much you can do with an E-minor melodic scale over EDCGAB in the Maiden “box”, so there’s bound to be similarities between albums and songs. H has been furthest out of the box this time though and brought some new flavors and scales to the table, happy to hear that!
 

Abas

Jester with no tears
I just had a light dinner and will do the dishes before I go out for a small jog, and then I will indulge in Senjutsu. But I read a fun review of Senjutsu from my hometown's daily newspaper. It sounded hilarious enough to encourage my translation and sharing of this.

Iron Maiden is the band of the people
The music is as reliable as an old-fashioned marriage, says the journalist. It is meant as a praise.
No one has been able to nail what Iron Maiden is all about better than Lady Gaga did. Some years ago, when the journalist were hoping that she was the next Madonna, her usual reply was: "No, I'm the next Iron Maiden.".

What did she meant about it was the fact that there's barely another band who's got such a broad, dedicating and welcoming fan-base. There are Maiden fans everywhere. The prior album went straight to #1 in England, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, Israel, and nineteen additional countries - as well as among all ages. The music hasn't just put their mark on generations of heavy rock bands - but also everyone from Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Ryan Adams to the throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and hysterically brutal Anaal Nathrakh. Everyone is welcome. Everyone fits in. By all means, you could say that the band's best vocalist is called Blaze Bayley and still be welcome to join the club. It's as much of a proof as anything that you love Iron Maiden, not trends.

With that said, Iron Maiden is playing folk music. Completely unhip and as reliable as an old-fashioned marriage. The band consists more or less of the same members as 30 years ago. That's the stuff that strengthens the sensation of trust and fellowship. At the same time, the group's history is also enriched by the fact that three different singers have left their marks on the sound. It's noticable that the members are still invested in their craft as well on their seventeenth studio album "Senjutsu", no matter what you think of the music.

The thing is that Iron Maiden wouldn't even had needed to apply themselves. They could have kicked back against hundred million sold records, the world's best t-shirt mascot, and enough 1980s compositions to satisfy the live crowd for all eternity. They could have admitted that their creative peek was between 1982-1988 - which is what people in general think - and spent the rest of their careers living up to ever-decreasing expectations. And that would have been alright. After all, we are used to aging rock bands rewarding themselves to chill. Iron Maiden would still have been the world's second greatest hard rock band, and they would have had the most loyal fans of the genre, assured by the knowledge that "Aces High" is being performed at the next tour, too.

But it's the other way around instead. The more Iron Maiden is canonized, the more they seem to wanting to write longer and more progressively dissolute songs. This became a trend a lot of albums ago, and it peaked with the double-album The Book of Souls (2015) which had the length of a narrative film. This is proceeded by a bit shorter double-album. The singles are mostly baits; "Stratego" ensures that the band still has some traditional Maiden gallops in them, while "The Writing on the Wall" sounds like a certain concert opener, while allowing itself with wild west guitars without it becoming slapstick.

The somewhat audience-friendly "Days of Future Past" does also offer a short running time and a proper chorus. Furthermore, "Senjutsu" is an album that requisites trust and patience, as well as consideration of measly synth strings. The bassist and principal songwriter Steve Harris is not the one who thinks of choruses in the first place. Rather than that, he works with scenes like a movie director and don't mind taking eight, ten, twelve minutes to piece together the arrangements. This grants authority to "Death of the Celts" and the somber title track. But this also creates hauls in the Middle Eastern kitsch "The Parchment".

But then again, it's hard to nod off when the tones of Bruce Dickinson enter. He sings animated, as if he already knows how to move along to the songs when it's time to perform them live. Both his tone and looks take us more and more to some Tolkien wizard, warning us mere mortals for impending doom. But then again, I know few other metal vocalists who can make lines such as "Here I stand | In a serenade of glory | Naked by the throne of kings" to sound just enough. His age, and perhaps also his cancer battle some years ago, has also underlined the seriousness behind the theatrical part. Dickinson was always a good storyteller. But the 63 year old man is now also a man who is starting to see that things do come to an end. It's a good look for him well, as well as the band.

It was way back in 2010 when Dickinson predicted that "The Final Frontier" could be Iron Maiden's last album. That album would have been a worthy end of the line. "Senjutsu" would have been even more worthy, although it sounds as there has to be more to come as far as it goes with additional (and longer) songs, additional epic stories, additional fashion crimes, additional versions of Eddie, additional gigantic stage setups, more congenial covers from unexpected directions. Purely musically, there may be more to desire from Iron Maiden. But as a phenomenon... not as much.

Lady Gaga never became the next Iron Maiden. But the fact that she wanted to, pretty much says what you need to know about the band.

The journalist starts listing congenial Iron Maiden covers. I have never even heard of the word congenial before I read the article.

Ryan Adams - Wasted Years
Tanya Tagaq - Run to the Hills
Hellsongs - Run to the Hills
Anaal Nathrakh - Powerslave
 

Rosscopolis

Trooper
Starts strong but soon peters out. Overall 6-ish out of 10

Senjutsu – 7.5
Stratego – 7.5
Writing – 7.5 (5 for the song, 10 for Adrian’s transcendent solo)
Lost – 5
Days – 5.5
Time – 7
Darkest – 6
Death – 5.5
Parchment – 6.5
Hell – 5.5

‘Senjutsu’ will be epic live. I docked half a mark for Janick’s TM generic solo. Ditto for ‘Stratego’. Janick is so often the saviour of the band when it comes to writing riffy, up(ish)-tempo and classic-sounding tracks but, FFS, it’s about time he learned some new licks and tricks. Unless he’s improvising around the vocal melody, his solos are interchangeable and sound the same.

‘Writing on the Wall’ is really quite dull until elevated by the magnificent solo.

‘Lost’: reheated XF/VXI leftovers.

‘Days’ is a damp squib.

‘Time Machine’ romps along very nicely and, I hate to admit it, Janick’s solo kinda fits the song.

‘Darkest’ teases with solo Bruce vibes but does not deliver AoB or CW-esque satisfaction: biggest disappointment of the album.

‘Death of the Celts’. Feels like I’ve been here before, Steve. Many times over. It’ll probably be quite entertaining live, though. Magnificent solo from Dave. Another atonal spasm from Janick that adds nothing to the song.

‘Parchment’. Feels like I’ve been here before, again. But the Nomad-meets-Powerslave (by way of To Tame a Land) rehash is not bad. Janick solos as above, and even Adrian’s effort sounding a bit dull.

‘Hell’ is yet another feels like I’ve been here before moment, but some nice bass work from Steve - when the song *finally* gets going. Another worthy but dull solo from Adrian. I know the format demands solos, but if they don’t function as an emotional climax, don’t bother.

Bruce is in good form, except on ‘Writing’, where he sounds like a jaded auld duffer. Production is a bit muddy, especially the vocals. Of the ‘modern Maiden’ albums (by my reckoning, starting with AMOLAD), it’s not a patch on the mighty Book of Souls or even the mixed bag of Final Frontier. Despite all of Steve’s repetitive, dull, overlong, and utterly inconsequential intros and outros, it is considerably less tedious than AMOLAD.

Finally, somebody PLEASE confiscate Steve’s keyboard.

Right, now that I’ve triggered a horde of angry fanboys, I’m off. ;-)
 

Mariner11

Invader
I’m gonna say Darkest Hour is my favorite track. And it’s sneaking in to my top ten Maiden song list. What a powerful tune. When Bruce and Adrian get together, the chemistry is absolute magic.
 

Josh

Ancient Mariner
Starts strong but soon peters out. Overall 6-ish out of 10

Senjutsu – 7.5
Stratego – 7.5
Writing – 7.5 (5 for the song, 10 for Adrian’s transcendent solo)
Lost – 5
Days – 5.5
Time – 7
Darkest – 6
Death – 5.5
Parchment – 6.5
Hell – 5.5

‘Senjutsu’ will be epic live. I docked half a mark for Janick’s TM generic solo. Ditto for ‘Stratego’. Janick is so often the saviour of the band when it comes to writing riffy, up(ish)-tempo and classic-sounding tracks but, FFS, it’s about time he learned some new licks and tricks. Unless he’s improvising around the vocal melody, his solos are interchangeable and sound the same.

‘Writing on the Wall’ is really quite dull until elevated by the magnificent solo.

‘Lost’: reheated XF/VXI leftovers.

‘Days’ is a damp squib.

‘Time Machine’ romps along very nicely and, I hate to admit it, Janick’s solo kinda fits the song.

‘Darkest’ teases with solo Bruce vibes but does not deliver AoB or CW-esque satisfaction: biggest disappointment of the album.

‘Death of the Celts’. Feels like I’ve been here before, Steve. Many times over. It’ll probably be quite entertaining live, though. Magnificent solo from Dave. Another atonal spasm from Janick that adds nothing to the song.

‘Parchment’. Feels like I’ve been here before, again. But the Nomad-meets-Powerslave (by way of To Tame a Land) rehash is not bad. Janick solos as above, and even Adrian’s effort sounding a bit dull.

‘Hell’ is yet another feels like I’ve been here before moment, but some nice bass work from Steve - when the song *finally* gets going. Another worthy but dull solo from Adrian. I know the format demands solos, but if they don’t function as an emotional climax, don’t bother.

Bruce is in good form, except on ‘Writing’, where he sounds like a jaded auld duffer. Production is a bit muddy, especially the vocals. Of the ‘modern Maiden’ albums (by my reckoning, starting with AMOLAD), it’s not a patch on the mighty Book of Souls or even the mixed bag of Final Frontier. Despite all of Steve’s repetitive, dull, overlong, and utterly inconsequential intros and outros, it is considerably less tedious than AMOLAD.

Finally, somebody PLEASE confiscate Steve’s keyboard.

Right, now that I’ve triggered a horde of angry fanboys, I’m off. ;-)
Ban this guy.
 

Patrick92

Educated Fool
I wrote this in the 17 day challenge thread lol

This feels big and grand. And what an opening. Senjutstu, the title track. Just wow, the drums are amazing. Love Bruce vocals, feels so perfect here. Such a moody and still epic song, it feels so grand and just great. I loved it. And it sounds great, sounds rich and full. Alot of depth and still very clear. What a start. This aint no fucking Wildest Dreams This is brilliant!

Stratego next! I had not heard it before now on the album. And what the fuck. How cool isent this song? Again, the drums. Amazing. And that chorus, damn. Kinda had me a bit teary to be honest. This song felt really fresh and new, and still familiar. Love the guitars and love the melody on this song. Love it. What a second song. Comes off perfect after Senjutstu. What a start on the album.

And then TWOTW. Only song I heard before the album. And its still awesome, also feels fresh and new but still familiar. Maiden never does the same thing. They go forward, look forward. And thank God. And this song is heavy, and it rips. Love the intro. And again, the chorus is just wow. And the lyrics are so good. Goosebumps all over. And Adrians solo, wow
This is the strongest sinse BNW and Wicker Man, into Ghost intro Brave New World. These three might even top it. I might be fanboying like hell cuz its new, time will tell. But damn it sounds good so far.
This will be a long post but I just cant stop typing lol.

Lost In A Lost World is a masterpiece imo. Hard to really say more here, gotta hear it a few more times first. But I loved the intro, that felt really new. Those verses. Great chorus again, great middle play after that. And fantastic endning after the chorus, beautiful vocals. The solos were also great. Awesome tune. Special

Days of Future Past was a great rocker, heavy. Feels very Adrian though, placed very nice after Lost. Awesome solo, great chorus. Awesome song

Time Machine. Damn Janick, Dance of Death, Talisman, Book of Souls and now this? What a song. That was something else. Loved it, every bit on it. Just fantastic. This has to be played live

Now time for disc 2. First disc was flawless. Not a bad song imo, not even an okey song. They were all great

Darkest Hour had be a bit worried before hand. I was kinda afraid it might be cheesy, but I was very wrong. Fantastic playing and soloing by Adrian, goosebumps all along. Very strong and powerful track

Now, enter Steve Harris and The Clansman 2. I loved it, again. Great song. Did not feel long or draggy to me. But it was big and will need more time and listening

Wow, The Parchment was interesting. Gonna need some time with that one. I liked it, great parts. I also gotta mention that the keyboards on the album have been great. But yeah, Parchment is hard to review like this after the first listen. Really liked the solos. Felt kinda instrumentaly in a way. Bold song to make though

I loved Hell on Earth. Perfect ending on the album. But damn, it becomes alot with three 10 + songs from Steve at the end. Its not that easy to listen to. Maybe Parchment could have been earlier in the tracklist and Stratego or something could have been later to smooth it up.

But overall, I loved the album at first listen. 5/5. Gonna see how it evolves with time. The first disc is a definite classic though. And I gotta say I prefer when they work together. Steve and Janick and Steve and Adrian write such great things together.
Fuck it, im gonna stop writing. Gonna do a ranking later with Senjutstu

1. Seventh Son
2. Piece of Mind
3. Brave New World
4. Senjutstu (After one listen I did put it here)
5. Powerslave
6. Beast
7. Book of Souls
8. Somwhere In Time
9. Final Frontier
10. A Matter of Life and Death
11. Dance of Death
12. Iron Maiden
13. Killers
14. Prayer
15. Fear
16. Virtual
18. X Factor
 

Oca

Educated Fool
15. Fear
16. Virtual
18. X Factor

Thanks for a thorough and energetic first impression!
I find it interesting that you rate Senjutsu as the No 4 album and I find that it shares most of its DNA with the albums you’ve rated as the worst in the catalog, but it might be we are hearing different things and have different vantage points since X Factor was actually my first Maiden album :)
I agree that Senjutsu is a really good album, but I can’t really place it as it’s so fresh, it has to sink in before I dare rank it amongst all the other, but it’s strong contender for top three of the reunion for me as of now.
 

Patrick92

Educated Fool
Thanks for a thorough and energetic first impression!
I find it interesting that you rate Senjutsu as the No 4 album and I find that it shares most of its DNA with the albums you’ve rated as the worst in the catalog, but it might be we are hearing different things and have different vantage points since X Factor was actually my first Maiden album :)
I agree that Senjutsu is a really good album, but I can’t really place it as it’s so fresh, it has to sink in before I dare rank it amongst all the other, but it’s strong contender for top three of the reunion for me as of now.
Haha, no problem. I just got so energic after the first listen and had to express stuff. And my list is not ment to be taken to serious, it changes all the time. And Senjutsu is to fresh to rank in a honest way. It will need time

And yeah I agree. I see some X Factor in this album. I see a bit from everything. But mostly, you might call me a Bruce fanboy. I have a hard time with the albums without him. I got into Maiden with Brave New World. And I also have a problem with the production on the Blaze albums, wich brings them down imo. But I dont hate them, there are great parts on them

Yeah, your first album always kinda defines you. I know thats the way with me. I kinda need Bruce to have my Maiden, his voice is so important for me
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top