Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

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DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Wow..that is the best song in the album! Did you have a similar struggle with Fear of the Dark, Dance of Death, Hallowed be thy name? Just curious...
Not at all! In fact, FOTD is the song that got me into Maiden and I maintain their best live song. I'm not being deliberately contrarian, and I have no issues with longer songs either (EOTC is my favourite, after all).
 

7thRunner

Invader
Almost a week in, here's how I'd rate this -

Artwork - I still like the album cover a lot. It's similar to Book of Souls in it's stark nature with the standalone Eddie but this one definitely has a lot more going for it for sure. That being said, I don't think I like the Eddies on the inside of the packaging quite as much (although the gatefold image is gorgeous) as Book of Souls where the Eddie ripping the heart out was definitely awesome.

Production - I know everyone loves to rag on Kevin and Steve's productions (and people have been complaining about them for 21+ years now, it's nothing new whatsoever) but this one sounds good to me. Certainly better than some other modern Maiden albums (like Final Frontier and Dance of Death). Adding vocal reverb and effects here and there definitely helps and I actually like the use of keyboards. This one sounds bigger and more cinematic to my ears which is nice. It is maybe industry standard great? No, not at all. Does it at all get in the way of me enjoying the songs? No, but it really does seem to capture a band in a studio setting. This is pretty much what they sound like live (for the most part) and is their sound. I think fans are just so conditioned to listening to albums that are almost entirely fed through computers and sampled to death to make them perfect and don't sound remotely like the actual band does live that something with this approach just sounds a bit sub-standard. I'm just glad this time it sounds way more studio and a bit less "we got this done in one take, that'll do". I can't speak too much to the musicality of this album, but it feels a bit more thought out and organized than Book of Souls did to me. I'd be curious if anyone else has a take on that aspect of this album.

Senjutsu- 8.5/10 - Really cool idea for a song but kind of puzzling as an album opener. This would have been a 10 if it sped up at all. I love love love the chorus melody - this again kind of reminds me of a slightly more rounded out version of The Longest Day but with a less jarring chorus. I kind of wish it sounded a bit more Japanese and I know it's about a defending a wall but I feel there is a disconnect between the song lyrics and the album art somehow. It seems silly to note, but I'm glad the intro actually isn't super long either. Killer tune!

Stratego - 9/10 - Easily my favorite short rocker since Rainmaker. The worst part about this one is the solo - add in a better one and maybe a harmonized section somewhere near the back part and it would have been perfect. Maiden doesn't seem to be much about short songs anymore, and that is what it is, but this one is awesome. I also love the vocal production - the reverb and layering really makes this sound better than a simple one take vocal line (which is probably what we would have gotten had this been on any preceding album).

The Writing on the Wall - 8/10 - I liked this when it was released back in July and somehow like it even more within the context of the album. Adrian's solo is great and I love the harmonies. I can't disassociate this from the video (and how excited we all were on July 15) so that plays in my head every time I listen to this song.

Lost in a Lost World - 7/10 - This song is amazing until the chorus comes in. Had they built a song around the intros and outro this would have been a 9. The midsection feels a bit stiff and regurgitated from X Factor era material. The intro though is amazing (love the ahhhs) and the melodies are great.

Days of Future Past - 6.5/10 - I want to like this more than I do but it's just kind of alright. Reminds me of something off of Accident of Birth. I actually feel like this could have used a section in the middle somewhere, it kind of just shifts to the chorus and then ends. Chorus is great though. Decent song but I expected a bit more from this one.

The Time Machine - 10/10 - I don't care how many bits from other Janick songs are in rolled into this one. This is by far the most fun track on the album. It really reminds of a combo between The Talisman and Dance of Death and doesn't feel at all like a 7+ minute song. I kind of wish there was another one of these lighthearted romps here to break up the darkness. Love, love, love everything about this song except for the reprisal of the intro again at the end which seems really unnecessary. Odds of Janick dancing during this song are at a solid 100%.

Darkest Hour - 7.5/10 - I don't mind Maiden ballads and this one may be the best of the lot for now for me. I think it's better than Out of the Shadows and Coming Home at least. 1 point deducted for nearly a solid minute of sound effects that add absolutely nothing whatsoever. This one kind of reminds me of a mix between Gates of Urizen and Tears of the Dragon more than any other Maiden song. Adrian's solo is unreal.

Death of the Celts - 9.5/10 - I know everyone is comparing this to The Clansman, and I kind of get why. I also wonder if it was called anything else if it would still get those comparisons as much? This one to me sounds more Scottish somehow, those melodies remind me of bagpipes and the midsection has some really cool bass runs. I didn't care for this song at all at first but it's the one that has grown on me the most. My only nitpick is why are there like 4 different intro sections? They are cool, but did we really need 4 of them? Probably not. Don't care as the song makes me want to put on a kilt and jig around my apartment like an idiot.

The Parchment - 7/10 - I struggle with this song, I really do. I love it when I'm blasting it as it really reminds me of a combination of The Nomad and To Tame a Land. My issue really is that it's one pace for far too long and I just don't find it that memorable yet. Maybe it'll grow on me, who knows? This is the only song on the album where I still really don't know the lyrics as well, perhaps not having a real chorus lets this one down a bit. I expect this to grow on future listens, but really feel like they could have gotten this one down to a 9 minute version and it would have been better as a more compact song. Still, glad to hear these kind of different-ish melodies in a Steve song which are all typically way too familiar. I just wish it was a bit stronger.

Hell on Earth - 10/10 - This is my favorite song on the entire album. It reminds me a great deal of When the Wild Wind Blows, but like way way waaaaaaay better. I like the melodies and variation more, there's lots of cool sections. Does the intro need that much build up? Probably not. But I feel like it really pays off here. Not sure who does the melody sections after the Love in Anger bits (the short do-do-do-do-do-dobedobedobe-do for the lack of anything more descriptive) but that's the best melody on a Maiden album in ages. This one really feels shorter than it's length, probably because it fades out for a minute or so. I know we've all been expecting the last songs on the last few albums to be Maiden's last one, but if this is the last one I am ok with it. Amazing tune.

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts! At the moment I'd say I like this a little bit more than Book of Souls as it doesn't have any of the sillier rockers (Death or Glory, Speed of Light) and the longer songs seem better arranged. This is way better to me than Final Frontier based on production alone. I'd place it probably neck and neck with AMOLAD for me which has long been my favorite of this era of the band. Now I just hope we get to see some of these songs live at some point!
While I would rate some songs differently and have a different opinion on how the album compares to the last five, I have the same favourites as you, both my only 10s. I think the most obvious bit of recycling on "The Time Machine" is from "Edge Of Darkness", though, and luckily I can't hear any resemblance to "Dance Of Death" (which I think is the most overrated Gers/Harris track by far). I can also understand your struggle with "The Parchment" (it's grown quite a bit on me, though), and the repetitive chorus of "Lost In A Lost World" is definitely the weakest part of that song, with the intro being its high point.
 

jcv

Trooper
While I would rate some songs differently and have a different opinion on how the album compares to the last five, I have the same favourites as you, both my only 10s. I think the most obvious bit of recycling on "The Time Machine" is from "Edge Of Darkness", though, and luckily I can't hear any resemblance to "Dance Of Death" (which I think is the most overrated Gers/Harris track by far). I can also understand your struggle with "The Parchment" (it's grown quite a bit on me, though), and the repetitive chorus of "Lost In A Lost World" is definitely the weakest part of that song, with the intro being its high point.
Does Lost in a Lost World really have a repetitive chorus though; it's made up of 4 lines repeated 3 times; that's not a lot by modern Maiden standards.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
Does Lost in a Lost World really have a repetitive chorus though; it's made up of 4 lines repeated 3 times; that's not a lot by modern Maiden standards.
I think it maybe stands out a bit more on this album because unlike a lot of the other choruses, it's not particularly melodic and is the only one that seems overly repetitive.

I get more Dance of Death out of the main "jiggy" riff in The Time Machine than Edge of Darkness (although I do hear EOD) but that song is a total banger regardless of where the parts came from. Totally a Janick song!

I've basically listened to nothing but this album this entire week and haven't gotten sick of it yet. I'll probably have to take a self imposed break so I don't overplay it, but even after 20+ listens (according to iTunes) I still am super pumped and excited about it which is the mark of a good album to me.
 

7thRunner

Invader
Does Lost in a Lost World really have a repetitive chorus though; it's made up of 4 lines repeated 3 times; that's not a lot by modern Maiden standards.
Of course, there are far worse examples of repetition in the catalogue, but I meant that within the four lines the title is repeated twice and the other two lines are also identical apart from one word, plus what Donner said.

I do enjoy the track overall, though.
 
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cedenede

Trooper
I finally received my copy of the red vinyl edition yesterday here in México, and I just made a video of my favorite song The Parchment. To me sounds so much better than the digital downloads I had been listening.

I can see I made a mistake buying the grey one. I should have bought the red one.
 

Magnus

Pica Serdica
I need a bigger review Magnus! What do you think do you really really think
Steve's repeated attempts to create The Ultimate Maiden Epic (Harris) during the last decades has been discussed previously, and Maiden's latest album shows he wouldn't mind one or two Skyclad epics as well apparently. Fragments from his - so far undelivered - magnum opus seem to float through space though, occasionally hitting innocent bystanders. Recent casualties include Lost In A Lost World, a song that might have been fantastic but, due to the aforementioned collision, is now sadly reduced to the tripartite structure of [lovely intro]* - [Lost In Terest]** - [very good outro indeed].
Fortunately, there are five songs on the album (ranging from good to great) that flow in a deliciously effortless manner just like in a millennium now long gone, four of them with H in the credits incidentally. Afraid To Shoot Strangers' heir, Hell On Earth***, could have been there as well with some minor trimmings, and so would The Parchment if it weren't for the "The prodigal has returned [...] That the same will happen - searching for gold" part but yeah, those lyrics had to go somewhere after all.

So: Is Senjutsu a masterpiece? Not in my opinion but it comes close, and could have come even closer with some trimmings to Hell On Earth (minor), The Parchment (some more), and Lost In A Lost World (quite some), plus leaving out the two Skycladish songs (which are great fun nevertheless, and feature some really good parts): speaking in Ancient, an album with 8 songs and 2 b-sides. Is it Maiden's best album since Seventh Son? Hell yeah, and once again listening to a new Maiden album is a pleasure rather than a chore. I think I've already played it more times than all the reuninon albums combined. Everything I dislike about those has been greatly reduced (yes, there is recycling, and occasional fits of Harrisitis, that disease of songs manifesting in lots of words over lots of chugga chugs, again and again, but it could have been worse, and it has been). It's a daring album, going into territories unusual for Maiden, and, most importantly for me at least, it feels fun, and alive, once again.


* Planet Caravan, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd have been mentioned in reviews, but it reminds me of Dust In The Wind for some reason.
** When listening to the album in its entirety, this is the first bump on the ride.
*** The "Love in anger, life in danger" part is out of this world. It's been a long, long time since I got goosebumps from a new Maiden record - unless you count Darkest Hour a few songs before.
 

Lucas Lourenco

Educated Fool
I've just read a few pages behind that Parchment has no climax. I mean, the "meet me there" part followed by the killer riff is literally more climactic than everything Maiden has done since the instrumental breakdown in SSOASS (the song). LOL It seems that people listen to the long songs with a preconceived critique and do not pay attention at anything whatsoever.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I've just read a few pages behind that Parchment has no climax. I mean, the "meet me there" part followed by the killer riff is literally more climactic than everything Maiden has done since the instrumental breakdown in SSOASS (the song). LOL It seems that people listen to the long songs with a preconceived critique and do not pay attention at anything whatsoever.
I can't find where anybody made this specific complaint in the recent discussion of the song.
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
I gotta say the more I listen the more I'm digging the dirge-like tribal feel of Steve epics (Celts, Parchment, Hell, and Senjutsu). They actually (for once) work better than the shorter songs for the most part as the melodies on the shorter ones are a bit simplistic. Still generally really liking the album although Time Machine just feels too goofy.
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I still don’t get the comparison between Clansman and Celts. I get the lyrics are somewhat similar, but the music is not. At least, not more so than any other Maiden/Harris tune with a slow buildup.
 

johnglen

Educated Fool
I still don’t get the comparison between Clansman and Celts. I get the lyrics are somewhat similar, but the music is not. At least, not more so than any other Maiden/Harris tune with a slow buildup.
Agreed, the songs aren’t musically that similar, other than the intro.
 
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The Red and the Black

Educated Fool
After some time with the album and multiple listens, Lost in a Lost World and Days of Future Past have emerged as my favorite songs. I know a lot of people are ranking those songs at the bottom, but that's how it goes for me.
 
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Helmuth Von Moltke

Educated Fool
First thought: taking in a new Maiden album is actually hard for a hardcore fan, we know the back catalogue too well. Senjutsu has a lot of nods to the past, some maybe unintentional, and they distracted me at first. Also, this is a slower-paced album, not too much speed like the end of Parchment, this also took me some getting used to.

One week later: I absolutely love this album. Mostly everything has clicked and it helps that the production is some of the best they have enjoyed in the 2000s. Very mature and emotive songwriting from Steve in particular. There is a theme - lamentations for lost tribes and civilisations - linking some of his songs here. Darkest Hour also fits this quite well. And Lost in a Lost World is clearly about the Native American tribes, making it something of a fully matured lyrical sequel to Run to the Hills.

Verdict so far: ignore everyone with a low concentration span delivering their 'judgements' on social media after one listen on youtube. This is once again an album to be lived with and enjoyed over time. Overall, for me, Senjutsu is emerging as the strongest album since AMOLAD. I felt TFF and BOS has some serious inconsistencies in songwriting and production that Senjutsu doesn't suffer from. I also much prefer closing with 30 minutes of Harris than 20 minutes of Dickinson's broadway musical (sorry Clouds fans).

If need be, this would be a fitting career coda. 9/10
 
First thought: taking in a new Maiden album is actually hard for a hardcore fan, we know the back catalogue too well. Senjutsu has a lot of nods to the past, some maybe unintentional, and they distracted me at first. Also, this is a slower-paced album, not too much speed like the end of Parchment, this also took me some getting used to.

One week later: I absolutely love this album. Mostly everything has clicked and it helps that the production is some of the best they have enjoyed in the 2000s. Very mature and emotive songwriting from Steve in particular. There is a theme - lamentations for lost tribes and civilisations - linking some of his songs here. Darkest Hour also fits this quite well. And Lost in a Lost World is clearly about the Native American tribes, making it something of a fully matured lyrical sequel to Run to the Hills.

Verdict so far: ignore everyone with a low concentration span delivering their 'judgements' on social media after one listen on youtube. This is once again an album to be lived with and enjoyed over time. Overall, for me, Senjutsu is emerging as the strongest album since AMOLAD. I felt TFF and BOS has some serious inconsistencies in songwriting and production that Senjutsu doesn't suffer from. I also much prefer closing with 30 minutes of Harris than 20 minutes of Dickinson's broadway musical (sorry Clouds fans).

If need be, this would be a fitting career coda. 9/10

I agree 90% with what you wrote. You can sense it when someone disses the album because they haven't paid attention. Some people might genuinely not like it of course. But it is obvious that some just listened to it through bad speakers, while surfing the internet and chatting at the same time. It is almost a masterpiece. 9/10 for me too.

I didn't like the last sentence you wrote. It makes me feel sad. Let's hope they have another great album in them, maybe even two. Who knows? :)
 
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