Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

Regarding longs songs. I wish they would take a year off, go on Jersey island again, with the same amenities they had in the 80s, no luxury, stay there for 3 months and come up with a triple album with 6 super long songs on every disc. With no choruses too. Dave and Janick would be forced by Adrian to study, compose their solos, or there'd be no beer for them. No cooked food either, just sandwiches until they come up with solos such as the one Dave plays on the Parchment. And someone would tell Steve to relax with the live recording and not too much post-production obsession, and allow the guitarists to add licks everywhere, especially Adrian...
 

Severian

Have a good time, all the time!
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? :)
If we get another album it would be the first time I would have conflicting feelings about it, one the one hand Senjutsu is such an incredible album i wouldn't want to them to ruin what they've got and would be a great way to bow out. On the other hand if they can produce an album like Senjutsu 45 years into the band who's to say they couldn't make another of this quality
 

7thRunner

Invader
Before I post my current ratings of all the Senjutsu songs (and more detailed comments in the individual song threads), I'd like to address four of the most common complaints about this and other reunion albums:

1. The songs are too long and should be replaced by shorter uptempo rockers that recall the 80s classics:
While I love the classic albums from 1982 to 1988 and also acknowledge that some of the extra long songs could be shortened a bit to gain more impact ("The Red And The Black" would benefit from losing one of the verses), I'm quite happy with the more progressive direction they have taken. In fact, I mostly listen to the albums from BNW onwards (maybe because I overplayed the 80s classics).

I think my favourite five-song run since Somewhere In Time can be found in the second half of The Final Frontier, which is made up exclusively of epics. My top three albums are all from the 80s, but two modern ones round out the top 5. My top 10 is made up of five classics and five modern ones, which reflects my love for both eras. That said, I wouldn't mind having one long track less per reunion album to make space for two more uptempo songs to spice things up a bit.

2. They should ditch the slow/acoustic intros and outros on the epics:
In most cases I wouldn't. I love the variety of having the more contemplative intros/outros contrasting with heavier or faster segments. I will concede that some of the outros which just repeat the intro are not strictly necessary (though I understand that they're meant to bring things full circle). In that case, the outro comes across as too predictable. That's why I love it that the outro of "Lost In A Lost World" doesn't simply repeat the intro, but brings a variation that still retains the same atmosphere. Actually, that song is a case where you would lose the best parts of the song if you deleted the intro and outro.

I also prefer intros with vocals, which is why the ones for "The Book Of Souls" and "The Red And The Black" are not that great and feel a bit redundant. However, I'm not sure I'd like to hear those songs immediately kicking off with their main riffs. Usually, that works better for rockers like "2 Minutes To Midnight". I know that plenty of fans will disagree with me, but one thing that's bothered me about the otherwise great "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" is the beginning, which comes out of nowhere and feels uninspired to me, not what an epic should start like. I'd bet it would have been even better with an atmospheric intro similar to later Maiden epics. Actually, you only have to look at the long tracks of the previous and following album, which both benefit from having great intros.

3. They recycle too many melodies and riffs from their own past:
I'd ditch the "too" in that statement. I was startled when a riff from "The Legacy" appeared midway through "Empire Of The Clouds", but I've now come to the conclusion that it's not that Maiden haven't come up with enough new tunes, riffs and hooks on the last albums, what with them exceeding 70 minutes and even filling two double albums. Also, some of the criticism feels a bit harsh when it's not even the same vocal melody or guitar intro note for note, but just a similar feel and style, for example when comparing the intro to "The Time Machine" with the ones to "The Talisman" and "The Legacy". Bruce sounds quite different on all three, with a more spoken delivery on "The Talisman" and "The Legacy" standing out because he sounds uncannily like Peter Gabriel from early Genesis. Moreover, even if they include similar or identical parts, they still bring enough new elements to the table to function as a worthy song in its own right.

Also, this is not a development that started in the reunion era. "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" recycles a section from "To Tame A Land", and the seeds to that iconic "Wasted Years" opening riff (the variation of which on "Shadows Of The Valley" was criticised) can be traced back to a part in "Losfer Words". So I've come to look at all the recycling as a musical equivalent of having references to past works in the artwork of Somewhere In Time and (to a lesser extent) Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son: self-referential easter eggs that are fun and build on the band's legacy.

4. The production and mastering ruins the albums:
Yes, I agree that the classics produced by Martin Birch sound much better. I would also like to hear the songs less muffled or dry, but I've resigned myself to the fact that Steve obviously want them to sound like this (Shirley being primarily employed because he doesn't interfere with the band's wishes). I won't let that ruin my enjoyment of the songs themselves. However, what I do find very disappointing are the levels of distortion during some of the louder solo sections of "Death Of The Celts", "The Parchment" and "The Time Machine": that's unprofessional on a different level, and I can't imagine that they would do that on purpose. Also, I agree with those who think that Bruce is too low in the mix sometimes. I think it's only a problem on parts of the first two tracks, though: the middle eight of "Senjutsu" (which is the weakest link on that song anyway, so maybe I should be grateful that it isn't louder ;)) and the verse of "Stratego".
 

7thRunner

Invader
another recent revelation for me - Bruce uncovers a brand-new vocal styling when he yells in guttural fashion: "love in anger ! life in danger !" during Hell's coda. that right there is the apex of the entire album. chilling. I WANT MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
That's definitely one of my favourite bits, too. I like that it's not over the top but quite subtle.
 

R@inmaker

Educated Fool
That's definitely one of my favourite bits, too. I like that it's not over the top but quite subtle.
yep totally. it's not theatrical. it's raw and primordial and exactly what i'd like to hear more of from Bruce. it plays to his latter year strengths. the high stuff is more often than not showing his limitations unfortunately.
 

Oregano

Nomad
After a week. The album is enormously good. It comes right after BNW & AMOLAD (my two favorite albums of the reunion phase). There is not a bad song. Not a single song that gets on my nerves so far. Instead, I like all the songs more and more. Even DotC, which was considered boring in the beginning, has grown and gives me great pleasure by now. Perfect songs are also included (HoE, Parchment and Senjutsu). The album doesn't get into your head as fast as the albums before. It takes longer to memorize the melodies and lyrics. This is a positive point in this case, because you can spend much longer with the album. I don't notice the very long playing time at all. The time flies by. I am so amazed that there is no filler in my opinion. After six listens now, the album is getting more and more addictive. The songs stick in my head and I have to keep humming them to myself at work. There are so many terrific melodies and ideas on the album that it just doesn't get boring. An album that definitely needs to grow.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
The last 3 songs are definately the best of the album
At this point, even though I am still struggling a bit with the Parchment, I'd agree.

In CD terms I'd say this one is the opposite of Book of Souls for me. On BOS I liked disc 1 way more than disc 2. On Senjutsu I like disc 2 more than disc 1.

I am still in total love with this album so more objectivity will come with time.
 

Boroking

I talk to planets…
Even DotC, which was considered boring in the beginning, has grown and gives me great pleasure by now

I had the same experience. First listen to DotC with ‘clansman II’ ringing in my ears was very disappointing. It felt like a track totally bereft of personality. Now I find it one of the most beautiful on the record and the intro drifts through my mind as I slide into sleep.
 

Boroking

I talk to planets…
I beg to differ. The Parchment has some good bits, but it is too long and self-indulgent. Thankfully they redeem themselves with Hell On Earth.
It seems like a divisive song because The Parchment is close to magic for me but for a lot of people it doesn’t seem to work at all.
 
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DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
It seems like a divisive song because The Parchment is close to magic for me but for a lot of people it doesn’t seem to work at all.
To be honest it took me a few listens to even register the "Meet me there" line because the song had made me zone out completely.

It is steadily improving. I still think the other songs on the album are better but raising the floor isn't something to complain about.
 
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