Please post reviews and thoughts on Senjutsu here

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The problem with TBOS is that it has Bruce with throat cancer doing things Bruce with throat cancer shouldn't be doing. He sounds so much better on Senjutsu. I like lower range Bruce. He sounds sinister as hell and The Parchment / Hell On Earth are the examples.
Almost 2 months have passed since I first listened to Senjutsu. The release almost coincided with a road trip I had planned a year ago and envisioned almost 2 decades ago. During this trip, I was chasing images to fit its music /themes, which made the experience very special. The adrenaline of driving /discovering new places combined with a top tier newly released music by Maiden at high volume on my car's stereo were often resulting in moments of pure happiness. I believe a capsule in time was created there, something precious to recall years from now. And it was Senjutsu all the way.

This review contains various pieces I posted in this forum here and there, plus some ‘new’ material, fine-tuned & lego-ed together. Time is limited and this was a way to save some time. Plus I wanted to mirror Senjutsu’s many self references and I thought it to be an interesting touch.

Thursday 2 September.
For my first listen I wanted to do something special. When I finished work, quite late, I headed to the river with my bicycle and my over the head earphones for a romantic listening and first time ever outside the four walls for a Maiden new release.
I listened to the album siting at various spots, while riding or holding the bicycle & walking. Most magical moments for that first listen were Senjutsu, Celts, The Parchment & Hell on Earth. And Darkest Hour riding on the way back home, second listen (photo below).
After the first listen, I already liked the album a lot, particularly its heavy & sometimes atypical sound.

When Senjutsu started I was very impressed already and though this album cannot go wrong.
The unique starting and the bombastic drums afterwards captured my imagination right there. Already at 2:30 the song was delivering me in places of ecstasy. At around 3:40 I was stunned with all those unexpected moments I was getting.
The theme and lyrical built up are top notch. Something I particularly liked is that the POV narrator is inside the wall, defending his home instead being on the offensive.
During the first listen, believe it or not already in the middle of the song, the satisfaction was there, I felt I could very well stop listening right there and continue another day. Nevertheless, I continued.

The next two songs, known already, blew me away with their sound & directness. They shine even more in the album’s contest, I find.
Stratego, although not perfect due to some muddy sound it's a fine composition and definitely a top 60 song. First galloping song from start to finish since Only The Good Die Young really. There are some lyrics' licks here and there I really like such as:
How do you read a madman's mind? Teach me the art of war or Been there before you were ever born. The unison guitars in the background melody give a haunting and dark feeling which is one of the album highlights along with the Senjutsu's Japanese drums & Parchment's Meet Me There moment.
Here’s an interesting YouTube video break down and analysis about the composition.

The Writing on the Wall blew me away of how it sounds much better within its context. So I like this song much more since Senjutsu's release. One of my favorite songs from the album and definitely a top 20 driving song. Adrian’s solo is the highlight of the song and one of the best solos in Maiden catalogue. Adrian claims he never played such a long solo before but right out of the bat Stranger in a Strange Land is longer for one.

Lost in a Lost World was an initial lukewarm, I felt it could be absent and yet not missed, though not unpleasant. Now I liked it so much more; As someone said, it’s like the brain child of X Factor with the addition of Bruce, Adrian and 25 years in between. It has definitely grown on me during those 2 months. The intro though atypical is definitely not a Pink Floyd in my ears and the outro is pure brilliance. The chorus I strongly disliked in in the start, now I don't bother it. The biggest grower for me so far.

Days of Future Past is a solid song. From the interviews I’ve read Adrian seems to be very fond of this song and I don’t blame him. A straight rocker without being too hard rock oriented like Different World or Wildest Dreams before.

For The Time Machine I though the sound didn’t match with the rest of the album. Now I find it entertaining, certainly not a weak song but still, possibly the weakest moment of the album for me. The intro shouldn’t be there, apart from the songwriters there are four other guys plus Shirley and nobody talks a thing. Just as Lost in a Lost World, there are some X Factor touches as well as clear self-references from Edge of Darkness. All in all a good and interesting composition.

So far we saw that CD1 is great, but CD2 is an absolute beast.

Darkest Hour.jpeg
Darkest Hour reminded me Bruce Dickinson material. Great stuff. It is my initial favorite from the record; atypical, great melodies & performances without a doubt on par with Coming Home up there.
I got Chemical Wedding vibes mostly but Tears of the Dragon came to mind at times too. Seagulls in the end are overkill.

The rest 3 Harris epics I like them all, zero complaints. As a matter of fact they exceeded my expectations.

Death of the Celts. There are good moments here and there but I fail to fall in love with this song. From all 10 Senjutsu songs, this is the only one not being a grower so far. Yet my initial stance against it was positive, so all good.

The Parchment.jpg
The Parchment has been the song that marked my last 2 months the most. I’ve been listening again and again during my epic road trip driving through grassland highlands, dunes, salt lakes, cloud-shaped Eddies and brave sunsets. Years later when I will recall those images there will be the Parchment playing in the background.
The lyrics contain so many images which are very fitting to the music and have captured my imagination. It travels me somewhere in the Central Asia, along the silk road, west of Taklamakan and east of Caspian Gates; a story of revenge featuring a king who returns to lead his people.
Many things have been written already about the ‘meet me there’ part in the end of the song, certainly the highlight of an album if not the highlight of the entire reunion era. Genius!
Musically, the solos are out of this world, even the critics of Senjutsu admit that they travel you deep in a mesmerizing .
As someone around here said, Where the Wild Wind Blows is all over the place in this album. I find it particular true for The Parchment (and I still worship the latter)
Here are some nice takes from fellow Maidenfans on it:
@Zare's take here. @jazz from hell's take here.

Hell on Earth is a very energetic song, 11+ minutes long that look like 5! Is that good. It could be very well be an opener for a concert and the crowd would have gone mad. Great engaging music, lyrics and Bruce on top form. An amazing way to close an amazing album. Well done Maiden, you produced an (easily) top 10 album after 40+ years in business! Production is not top notch, over compressed, sometimes muddy sound, Bruce low on the mix sometimes. No idea why all those choices but it leaves something to be desired. As it has been mentioned in a different thread there are some distortion problems in the CD2.

I was skeptical when I saw 4 Harris epics but I must admit Steve delivered this time. There's no weak song and despite its 80+ minutes long, I’d like a couple of songs more -the mandatory Murray and one or two more Gers penned songs. I have bought it on iTunes and I’m planning to buy the CD Book version too -even I don’t have a CD player- in order to enjoy the gorgeous booklet.

As a general note, Maiden’s songwriting got matured in a beautiful way, they write songs with such confidence now. Take the writing process, they actually write in the studio and are capable to produce this kind of high quality result. My understanding is that once upon a time they were seeking recognition from fans & pundits but no more. Now they know they are good song-writers and they don't give a toss.
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Senjutsu gets better for me with each listen. 3 songs have been real “growers” for me which didn’t fully click at first, but now they do - Senjutsu, The Time Machine, and Death of the Celts. It’s a great album that deserves to be listened to in full with no skipping songs, and it flies by. I think it’s a masterpiece.

My favorite songs on the album are The Writing on the Wall, Stratego, Lost in a Lost World, and Days of Future Past. Each to me is a perfect Maiden song.

I really hope there’s another new Maiden album coming soon. At this point I’d even prefer them to just make albums instead of touring. (But I’ve seen them live many times dating back to 1985, and I know many fans still haven’t seen them and want to, so that’s probably not fair of me. But still, I want more new music.)
I really hope there’s another new Maiden album coming soon. At this point I’d even prefer them to just make albums instead of touring. (But I’ve seen them live many times dating back to 1985, and I know many fans still haven’t seen them and want to, so that’s probably not fair of me. But still, I want more new music.)
I too hope for more albums especially as the reunion era is my favourite. if they only stop those history tours and go to album-tour-album-tour cycle it would be fantastic. However, I'm afraid we're gonna get another unnecessary history tour after the Senjutsu tour which will delay album #18 two more years. We are lucky if we can get it before 2025/2026....and we are extremely lucky if we can get to see album #20 before they retire.
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