Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

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Heretic

Still burning under our skies...
I don’t know if this has been posted before but I just saw this track-by-track description by Bruce on Apple Music:

“What do you think about a samurai Eddie?” That was the question Iron Maiden bassist, co-lyricist, and all-around mastermind Steve Harris posed to his bandmates when he came up with the Japanese theme for the imagery and title track of the band’s 17th studio album, Senjutsu. Roughly translated, the term means “tactics and strategy,” but the idea of Maiden’s shape-shifting mascot, Eddie, in full samurai regalia was immediately appealing. “Let's face it, we've plundered a few cultures over the years with Eddie,” Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson tells Apple Music. “We had a Mayan Eddie and we've had a sci-fi one. We've had a space monster Eddie, an Egyptian Eddie, a mummy Eddie. We actually did have Eddie with a samurai sword on the Maiden Japan EP, but that was years and years ago. The band has always been quite popular in Japan, which is a pretty exotic place with a very rich samurai history. But most of the songs are unrelated.” Below, Dickinson comments on some of the album's highlights.



“Senjutsu”

“This starts out with some ominous drumbeats from what is intended to sound like those big Japanese taiko drums. Then Nicko [McBrain] comes in with this beat which is not the Keystone Cops, because I think we've got to the point where we feel confident enough that we can be dramatic without being in a hurry about it. And ‘Senjutsu’ has got drama all over it. To me, it builds and builds and builds. There’s a vocal fugue in the middle with echoes going over the top and then another vocal line. It resolves beautifully into this really magisterial vocal line as you get towards the latter half of the tune. Does it have a chorus? No. There's millions of different ones, all strung together. For the most part, the vocal is done in a two-part harmony. It's one of my favorite tracks, and it's going to be a great way to open a set live.”



“Stratego”

“Stratego is a board game. I’ve never played it, but it’s kind of similar to chess. I was doing a little bit of searching and discovered that Stratego was based on a French board game from the 19th century. That game was based on something called military chess. Japanese military chess, in turn, is a game called shogi. The characters are basically flat stones with Japanese calligraphy on them, each denoting a warrior of some description. You’ve got a black side and a white side, but it’s entirely possible for characters to change sides. Not only that, but they can also transform into a different character. It’s a game of strategy and tactics, but also betrayal and intrigue.”



“The Writing on the Wall”

“The song is basically in two parts, and the intro sets the scene. When I first heard it, I was thinking, ‘This is a bit Tarantino here. It’s a little bit desert.’ I could see a Mad Max scenario opening up. I think [guitarist] Adrian [Smith] already had the title and a great riff, so we worked the body of the song around that. I thought it was a great title for what’s going on in the world now. There's lots of things coming up like objects in the rearview mirror—they may be closer than they appear. There’s a lot of choices people need to make about what kind of world they want to live in. I wrote the song without trying to preach, but to say, ‘You can’t bury your head in the sand. This stuff will bite you if you don’t do something about it.’”



“Lost in a Lost World”

“At the beginning, you would believe that you accidentally wandered into The Moody Blues or Pink Floyd doing something in about 1973, with the layered vocals and things like that. We’ve never done anything as explicitly detailed as that before. But it doesn't last for that long before some fiend comes out and hits you over the head with a mallet and the track kicks in. And then it takes you on a journey to a fantastical world that has ceased to exist.”



“Days of Future Past

“This track is as close as you're going to get to Piece of Mind or Powerslave-era Maiden. Four minutes, super high-energy riff, big anthemic chorus, big vocals—all that. Incredible riff from Adrian, and basically no guitar solo. The lyric is a reimagining of the graphic novel Constantine, particularly the movie version with Keanu Reeves. It’s kind of an interesting setup, because there’s always the assumption that God is the good guy. In this scenario, God seems to be a manipulative narcissist. He’s almost like a psychopath: ‘I'm going to do all this horrible stuff to you, and then you just have to love me.’ How does that work? That’s what the song asks.”



“Darkest Hour”

“‘Darkest Hour’ refers not to just the movie about Winston Churchill—it’s about him as a person as well. A lot of people criticize Churchill because he made a lot of mistakes and did things people didn’t approve of. He was almost certainly a full-blown alcoholic, but a functioning one. He said horrible things about women. He did all these things that he would aptly be condemned for. But the bit that people forgive all that for—certainly, I do—is that he stood up to the Nazis and said, ‘No, these are barbarians. Even though the odds are stacked against us, we as a nation are going to resist.’ Half of his cabinet and government would’ve sided with the Nazis and done a deal. But he inspired the nation to do the right thing.”



“The Parchment”

“You really have to be careful about this one if you’re one of these people who likes flotation tanks and you’re going to put this one on in the headphones. It’s a processional, really. The end sounds like the emperor coming back, the prodigal son returning home after a long journey. But the whole middle section is absolutely hypnotic. It’s a monster track, but it's layer upon layer upon layer of different iterations and repetitions. If you get under the skin of it, it's really complex. I think Steve locked himself away for days to come up with this one. We had to learn it in pieces because it was the only way possible.”



“Hell on Earth”

“Steve is quite an unconventional personality. He's not an extroverted person—except onstage when he goes raving mad with a bass. But I think he feels a lot of things really deeply about the world he's in. The English band Blur had an album called Modern Life Is Rubbish, and I think Steve would concur with that sentiment and say, ‘What kind of world are we creating? Maybe I should just go to sleep. And then if I pass into the next life, maybe I'll come back and it's going to be better—because this place is hell on earth.’ But I don’t think he’s recommending accelerating your passage into the next world, because we’ve got a tour to do. But he’s genuinely concerned about stuff.”
 

maideneer10

Educated Fool
Just had 5th listen through the headphones this time and no skipping at all.
That's a really good sign. Going to take a break for an hour and have a few (more) jars and then have another listen.
I don't want to overly compare it with other reunion albums just yet as it will take a while to let the album breathe and find it's own space.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I don’t know if this has been posted before but I just saw this track-by-track description by Bruce on Apple Music:

“What do you think about a samurai Eddie?” That was the question Iron Maiden bassist, co-lyricist, and all-around mastermind Steve Harris posed to his bandmates when he came up with the Japanese theme for the imagery and title track of the band’s 17th studio album, Senjutsu. Roughly translated, the term means “tactics and strategy,” but the idea of Maiden’s shape-shifting mascot, Eddie, in full samurai regalia was immediately appealing. “Let's face it, we've plundered a few cultures over the years with Eddie,” Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson tells Apple Music. “We had a Mayan Eddie and we've had a sci-fi one. We've had a space monster Eddie, an Egyptian Eddie, a mummy Eddie. We actually did have Eddie with a samurai sword on the Maiden Japan EP, but that was years and years ago. The band has always been quite popular in Japan, which is a pretty exotic place with a very rich samurai history. But most of the songs are unrelated.” Below, Dickinson comments on some of the album's highlights.



“Senjutsu”

“This starts out with some ominous drumbeats from what is intended to sound like those big Japanese taiko drums. Then Nicko [McBrain] comes in with this beat which is not the Keystone Cops, because I think we've got to the point where we feel confident enough that we can be dramatic without being in a hurry about it. And ‘Senjutsu’ has got drama all over it. To me, it builds and builds and builds. There’s a vocal fugue in the middle with echoes going over the top and then another vocal line. It resolves beautifully into this really magisterial vocal line as you get towards the latter half of the tune. Does it have a chorus? No. There's millions of different ones, all strung together. For the most part, the vocal is done in a two-part harmony. It's one of my favorite tracks, and it's going to be a great way to open a set live.”



“Stratego”

“Stratego is a board game. I’ve never played it, but it’s kind of similar to chess. I was doing a little bit of searching and discovered that Stratego was based on a French board game from the 19th century. That game was based on something called military chess. Japanese military chess, in turn, is a game called shogi. The characters are basically flat stones with Japanese calligraphy on them, each denoting a warrior of some description. You’ve got a black side and a white side, but it’s entirely possible for characters to change sides. Not only that, but they can also transform into a different character. It’s a game of strategy and tactics, but also betrayal and intrigue.”



“The Writing on the Wall”

“The song is basically in two parts, and the intro sets the scene. When I first heard it, I was thinking, ‘This is a bit Tarantino here. It’s a little bit desert.’ I could see a Mad Max scenario opening up. I think [guitarist] Adrian [Smith] already had the title and a great riff, so we worked the body of the song around that. I thought it was a great title for what’s going on in the world now. There's lots of things coming up like objects in the rearview mirror—they may be closer than they appear. There’s a lot of choices people need to make about what kind of world they want to live in. I wrote the song without trying to preach, but to say, ‘You can’t bury your head in the sand. This stuff will bite you if you don’t do something about it.’”



“Lost in a Lost World”

“At the beginning, you would believe that you accidentally wandered into The Moody Blues or Pink Floyd doing something in about 1973, with the layered vocals and things like that. We’ve never done anything as explicitly detailed as that before. But it doesn't last for that long before some fiend comes out and hits you over the head with a mallet and the track kicks in. And then it takes you on a journey to a fantastical world that has ceased to exist.”



“Days of Future Past

“This track is as close as you're going to get to Piece of Mind or Powerslave-era Maiden. Four minutes, super high-energy riff, big anthemic chorus, big vocals—all that. Incredible riff from Adrian, and basically no guitar solo. The lyric is a reimagining of the graphic novel Constantine, particularly the movie version with Keanu Reeves. It’s kind of an interesting setup, because there’s always the assumption that God is the good guy. In this scenario, God seems to be a manipulative narcissist. He’s almost like a psychopath: ‘I'm going to do all this horrible stuff to you, and then you just have to love me.’ How does that work? That’s what the song asks.”



“Darkest Hour”

“‘Darkest Hour’ refers not to just the movie about Winston Churchill—it’s about him as a person as well. A lot of people criticize Churchill because he made a lot of mistakes and did things people didn’t approve of. He was almost certainly a full-blown alcoholic, but a functioning one. He said horrible things about women. He did all these things that he would aptly be condemned for. But the bit that people forgive all that for—certainly, I do—is that he stood up to the Nazis and said, ‘No, these are barbarians. Even though the odds are stacked against us, we as a nation are going to resist.’ Half of his cabinet and government would’ve sided with the Nazis and done a deal. But he inspired the nation to do the right thing.”



“The Parchment”

“You really have to be careful about this one if you’re one of these people who likes flotation tanks and you’re going to put this one on in the headphones. It’s a processional, really. The end sounds like the emperor coming back, the prodigal son returning home after a long journey. But the whole middle section is absolutely hypnotic. It’s a monster track, but it's layer upon layer upon layer of different iterations and repetitions. If you get under the skin of it, it's really complex. I think Steve locked himself away for days to come up with this one. We had to learn it in pieces because it was the only way possible.”



“Hell on Earth”

“Steve is quite an unconventional personality. He's not an extroverted person—except onstage when he goes raving mad with a bass. But I think he feels a lot of things really deeply about the world he's in. The English band Blur had an album called Modern Life Is Rubbish, and I think Steve would concur with that sentiment and say, ‘What kind of world are we creating? Maybe I should just go to sleep. And then if I pass into the next life, maybe I'll come back and it's going to be better—because this place is hell on earth.’ But I don’t think he’s recommending accelerating your passage into the next world, because we’ve got a tour to do. But he’s genuinely concerned about stuff.”
Glad to hear that the title track is one of Bruce's favorite songs. Epic song! ''The Parchment'' is an amazing song, kudos to Steve... many days of work pay off with this masterpiece. Great riff in DOFP.

Btw, ''The Time Machine'' and DOTC are not part of his highlights?
 
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Ascendingthethrone

Educated Fool
After the first listen on the vinyl, I am completely blown away by the musicianship.

There is so much to take in. On first listen, WOTW, LIALW and HOE are standout. I am going to listen to it lots more before even attempting a ranking.

Moments of the album sound like Accident of Birth and others sound like VXI.
 

Shavasku

Educated Fool
Did you guys notice the similarities between one of Darkest Hour solos and one of Empire of the Clouds?
 

maideneer10

Educated Fool
Have totally connected with five of the songs. DOTC, LIALW, HOE, Stratego and WOTW.
I'm trying to remember back to my initial reactions to BOS and am trying to compare.
I think it is different to BOS as Senjutsu is potentially a stronger album and is more complex but it is a close shave. Too early to tell yet.
I thought BOS was a really strong album so that is really positive that this album compares quality wise in such an early listening cycle.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
Yep. This shows how good every song is.

My favorite song in the album is ''Hell On Earth'' (like most fans), by my least favorite song (*so far) is ''The Time Machine'' (not like most fans).
Well I'm with you on this. Hell on Earth is the best, Time Machine is the worst.
The Parchment is very close to the best also.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
oh and where are those bits where we'd go like "wait a minute ...is that iron maiden??? "
I get lots of this from the album. Senjutsu is really different, The writing on the wall is really different, the parchment, Time machine, Death of the Celts all very, very different.

plz maiden write shorter songs for god's sake ! i think book of souls was better bacuseit had more shorter songs
In the last decade or two I have found the short songs to be boring and the long ones to be the most interesting.
Maiden don't need short hits, they need space to be creative and interesting. I'm very glad they are continuing with long songs.
 

giratina

Educated Fool
And I dont care if they care or not. That's not the point.
Fair enough, I am just pointing out that they are stating that they don't care about negative opinions / critics in the youtube descriptions of the songs we are discussing in this thread.
 

PhantomOfTheOpera

Ancient Mariner
Cautious little comment after the first listen:
This album is absolutely fucking great, it brought my feelings forth. Some parts in the songs take my back to the older albums and songs, but also remind me of my long journey in life along with Iron Maiden - as they were always the soundtrack to my life and memories.
I love the new album and it was definitely worth the wait. Some surprising elements, Bruce's performance is examplary strong and this makes him as the king of the mountain even at that age. Some amazing solos..this is great album that will surely give me even more on the next listens, but the complex song reguire more time and I will surely comment some more in the coming days.
And you know what, even if this is amazing album on the first listen I didn't have to change my pants.
Thank you Iron Maiden for always being there for me.
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
3rd listen with headphones and reading the lyrics from a pdf (courtesy of Iron Maiden) and I am really enjoying it. Lost in a Lost World and The Time Machine are getting better and Darkest Hour is growing on me.

I stand by my previous comment that Death of the Celts, albeit sharing a Celtic DNA, is miles better than The Clansman.
 
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