Senjutsu - 3rd September 2021

____no5

The Angel Of The Odd
Not really, and Lost in a Lost Works is mediocre at best. It sounds as if Steve was thinking: “Let’s revisit the Run to the Hills theme without rocking!”. If that was the case, he did succeed.

And Death of the Celts pretty pointless and unoriginal.
With time I started to like LIALW which sounds like a good X Factor (with Bruce and in steroids).

Some say Harris wrote the best 2 and worst 2 songs of the album.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I dare to say that Steve's four epics are my four favorites on the album, followed by the fabulous Darkest Hour. I have little to no interest in the remaining tracks, except for maybe Days of Future Past.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I would still rank the songs as follows:

1 - The Writing On The Wall
2 - The Parchment
3 - Darkest Hour
4 - Stratego
5 - Hell On Earth
6 - Senjutsu
7 - Days Of Future Past
8 - The Time Machine
9 - Lost In A Lost World
10 - Death of the Celts

So all in all, a mixed bag from Steve relative to the album, but his best song (The Parchment) is fantastic and his worst song (Death of the Celts) isn't really bad in my opinion, just forgettable.
 

____no5

The Angel Of The Odd
Completely agree. Btw, LIALW has both - Bruce doing some backing vocals to himself and echo in his voice.

True, and I had something more intensive in mind.
Say 3~4 layers of Bruce doing harmonies and a really menacing echo.
That’s why I said it’s not Maiden style; they are careful not to overdo when producing.
This was always the case, and it’s even more clear during Shirley era.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
I just realized that I've been quite absent from this thread, at least when it comes to commenting the songs and how I feel about the album in general.

To put it short, I love it. Of course there's flaws, but at this point I'm not too eager to specifically complain about them. Some of them are more irritating than others, but looking at the larger picture, I think the album overall is very strong. I love it's slightly darker and heavier vibe and emotional depth.

Short comments on each song.

Senjutsu
Sets up the album very well. Isn't the most exciting song, but I've grown to appreciate it more and more over time. Little nuances that are characteristic to Adrian's song ideas are absolutely brilliant and there's certain dynamic grandeur in it that reminds of songs like Paschendale, even it it's not quite as impressive. Along with If Eternity Should Fail, it's an intriguing lead-up to the album and while not quite as immediately striking, it really embraces you to the world of Senjutsu.

S
tratego
A perfect pair with the opener! These two work together almost to a perfection, kind of complementing each other and making each other better. I love how this one just kicks off after the brooding and more meandering opening track. Outside the album context, I think the intro could've used something extra and those keyboards are... well, they kind of poke you here and there, but overall, I don't mind. Great song, catchy chorus and tons of character. Songs like The Alchemista and Wildest Dreams and whatever are cool, but they're just... rather generic and could be about anything. This one just feels Stratego, if you catch my drift.

I HEAR YOU CALLING MY NAME!!!
ohh yessssss

The Writing on the Wall
I liked it from the start, but quite surprisingly this one has been one of the biggest growers for me! It's not necessarily my favourite or anything, but I think it's extremely classy. There's just nothing, absolutely nothing, that shouldn't be there. Nothing that I'd feel like pointing out as a complaint. It just goes. Brilliant intro, lovely riffs, amazing solos, solid vocal performance and cool lyrics and even the chorus that I first thought somewhat blunt now completely takes me. Can't wait to sing along in a concert!

Can you see them riding...
Can you see them riding...
Riding NEXT TO YOU!!


Lost in a Lost World
Mixed feelings about this one. Just a little bit. I think the simplistic campfire intro is kinda neat and I'm quite fond of them doing all these relatively exotic (for Maiden, anyway) layering with vocals and all that and the narrative of the song is very evoking and powerful. However, it's a bit too eager to recycle not only itself, but this one is one of the very few instances on this album where I kind of get that "eh this sounds familiar" vibe and not entirely in a good way. Then again, as mentioned, the story itself is beautiful and yes, that one particular melody & vocal line. Chills. I just love how it kicks in before the chorus: "Feel the spirits of the old ones standing proud upon their race..." and after some meandering the song returns to that already familiar melody, but does something rather unexpected. The song kind of... stops and throws this immensely beautiful outro to your face.

And this is where my mixed feelings come: this song has some of my least favourite parts on the record and some of my very favourite parts - even when looking at the whole catalogue (!)

It's quite hard to explain how and why that outro just clicks for me. But looking at comments on the internet, it's not like I'm the only one. What a tear-jerker. Would be soo great to hear that part live one day.

Days of Future Past
Just like Stratego, this sone has tons of character and specific vibe on it. It's also strongly reminiscent of Bruce's Accident of Birth stuff, as others have mentioned as well. Intense and tight and Bruce absolutely nails the vocal delivery. Whenever I'm talking about modern Maiden "rockers", it somehow seems to go down to me bashing The Alchemist, which is a bit unfair as I really like that song, but you know... it's just that fine line between something being seemingly energetic and intense and something really being energetic and intense. This one is not quite mind-blowing, but it's got nothing to be ashamed of even in the company of various tracks from the classic era. A very good song and works brilliantly on it's position on the record.

The Time Machine
Another mixed bag. Good vibe, some great parts and vocal performance but a little bit like Lost in a Lost World, some of the recycling and/or Gers/Harris mannerism does shine through a little bit too much here and there. However, it's exciting enough and I'd expect it to translate very well into a live performance. Interesting how this one received so much praised on so many articles and reviews before the release. And it still seems to divide opinions quite a lot. Well, that's not a bad thing! I enjoy this one quite a lot, but every now and then it makes me smirk how straightforward Gers/Harris playbook example this is.

Darkest Hour
The recent discussion here about Bruce's approach in these lyrics has been interesting. This one is definitely comes from the same ballpark where Coming Home did, but with slightly different edge. I love Bruce's vocal performance and while it doesn't do anything too spectacular musically, I really like it. The chorus is stylistically very late 90's solo Bruce, but that's why I probably love it so much. I really like this song, blatant as it might be.

Death of the Celts
Probably my least favourite song on the album. It's solid, but a little bit generic, especially given how fresh this album at it's best can get. Death of the Celts is just extremely solid, but not very exciting. Sounding and feeling quite good, but not mind-blowing or specifically evoking. It's a little bit too much, a little bit too long and a little bit too blunt. Enjoyable enough, but I kind of just... listen it out of the way before the really good stuff. Of course, I'm having good time with this one, but... I don't know. Somehow, I feel that might indeed be the only song on the record that I wouldn't really miss that much. The other "weaker" cuts have their saving graces; Lost in a Lost--- ah, well don't get me started on that absolutely beautiful part in "Lost in a Lost World" :wub:... Where as The Time Machine, in all of it's shared eagerness to recycle certain, almost overly familiar elements, has a really good vibe and it actually sits very well between Days of Future Past & Darkest Hour. Death of the Celts just... is. It is good, but from all of the songs on this record, I think it's got least to actually give. Now I'm repeating myself, but anyway: nice and solid. Is it enough? Well, I guess it is? But does it evoke or make me feel anything that some, if not many, other Maiden songs can't? Absolutely not. I praised the shorter songs on this album for their character. Death of the Celts admittedly has some character too, but it's like the most trope filled Hollywood action hero: doesn't necessarily make it bad and comparison to similar stuff that was before may make it seem weaker than it actually is, but in all of it's ok entertainment value it doesn't really bring anything new or interesting to the table.

Not quite a skip, but I'm not too thrilled about this one either.

The Parchment
I was very surprised to see so many lukewarm reactions around this one here! I dare say this one is one of Steve's best songs from the past... well, already two or three decades, even? A bit like with The Book of Souls (the song), there's no immense loads of anything we haven't seen or heard before, but the way it's all packed and constructed makes it feel rather fresh and exciting. There's a pleasant, adventurous vibe: this song really takes you to places, and we haven't seen that side of Maiden too much after the eighties epics. It's a long one, but it doesn't feel very long. It actually makes the "repetition" work, beefing it's ingredients little by little and finally reaching an epic climax and BOOM - double the tempo with that instrumental part in the end. Just brilliant. And Bruce. Oh boy. Whenever he sings, there's a lot of words, as you can expect from Steve's lyrics, but it's not too stuffed. And hear how he does it... Bruce sounds so into it here. It's hard to put into words, but there's songs where Bruce sings very, very as usual and expected, and then there's songs where he seems to shed that extra drop of heartblood. This one somehow feels as one of them.

--Heading for afterlife
Meet... me... there


Hell on Earth
Hell on Earth might not be the best song on this album or particularly outstanding in the context of Steve's songwriting efforts in general, but as an album closer for such and emotionally loaded and interesting record and as bit of a statement from a band that is pushing in their sixties that the good old Em - C - D can still do wonders and even bend to something quite fresh and exciting. That's what Hell on Earth, to me anyway, really is: it's got all the familiar elements, but not a single moment feels too rehashed. The melancholic vibe hits hard. I still remember the first listen... I was a somewhat doubtful about this one. Can Steve still pull it off? Death of the Celts was ok, The Parchment was great, but that's already quite a handful of this stuff... third in row, how does it turn out..?

When the gallop kicked in, I smiled. A warm, beaming smile. A happy smirk, even.

These melodies!

And still, whenever I listen to this song, it really gets me. Great melodies one after another. Hell on Earth might not be a perfect song, but it's quite perfect, fulfilling trip. And a very appropriate closer to this record I'm quite fond of.

I like to write reviews and score stuff every now and then, but it's become less and less significant to me and I've learned to care a bit less about what other people think. I'm honestly not quite sure how I'd rank Maiden albums after the one, two or three biggest favourites. To me, it's just completely irrelevant if this or that little tweak would make this album "better" than this or that album.

As mentioned, there are some flaws. Some of them are structural, some are more technical. I get that some of them, along with the musical direction and just songs themselves may irritate or just genuinely disappoint some fans. That's alright.

To me, this album brought a lot of joy and warm feelings. To be perfectly honest, it's been quite a tough past six or seven months for me personally. Nothing major, but just... don't know how to put it into words. This album made me quite happy. And it means a lot. I get the problems some people have with this album and I even agree with some of the critique. But regardless, I just love this record a lot. I cherish the fact that I get to experience the pre-release hype and brand new Iron Maiden music. Most of the songs hit me very hard, in all the good ways. One or two of them are absolutely amazing and there's a couple of tracks that have some outstanding moments.


So altogether, I really like Senjutsu.

And most importantly, Senjutsu makes me feel. I found a lot of Maiden magic here. And that's simply amazing.

Got a bit sentimental with this, but come on... I probably don't get to experience this too many times before they ride into sunset, so...
 

Nyx

Rebel Girl Royalty
@Randalf The review to end ALL reviews! Most impressive, man. What an enjoyable read. Looking forward to any future ones you do.
 

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Melony

Nomad
The best songs in the album are written (or co-written) by Steve imo. The Smith/Dickinson songs are great too, that's why the album is a modern classic.
I agree.
My new colleague is interested in Metal, but doesn't know anything, and would like me to give an introductory presentation. I will talk about the NWOBHM and also play "The Parchment" and "Hell on Earth" to show how one of the NWOBHM bands is still creative in 2021 and has matured in their songwriting.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
The Writing on the Wall
I liked it from the start, but quite surprisingly this one has been one of the biggest growers for me! It's not necessarily my favourite or anything, but I think it's extremely classy. There's just nothing, absolutely nothing, that shouldn't be there. Nothing that I'd feel like pointing out as a complaint. It just goes. Brilliant intro, lovely riffs, amazing solos, solid vocal performance and cool lyrics and even the chorus that I first thought somewhat blunt now completely takes me. Can't wait to sing along in a concert!
That's exactly how I feel about ''The Writing On The Wall''.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
With time I started to like LIALW which sounds like a good X Factor (with Bruce and in steroids).
The two songs in the album with a vibe from the two Blaze albums are - LIALW and DOTC (the whole song has a Virtual XI vibe). The X Factor feel in the former is big, especially in the pre-chorus where Bruce sings low (the same way he sang the chorus of LOTF live after the instrumental section). The riff, the melodies, the drumming and the outro are also pure X Factor.
 

TheMercenary

Ancient Mariner
The two songs in the album with a vibe from the two Blaze albums are - LIALW and DOTC (the whole song has a Virtual XI vibe). The X Factor feel in the former is big, especially in the pre-chorus where Bruce sings low (the same way he sang the chorus of LOTF live after the instrumental section). The riff, the melodies, the drumming and the outro are also pure X Factor.
HoE has also a X Factor vibe in it...
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
And Death of the Celts pretty pointless and unoriginal.
With time I started to like LIALW which sounds like a good X Factor (with Bruce and in steroids).

Some say Harris wrote the best 2 and worst 2 songs of the album.
Maiden have never done a Celtic Jig before. Given their back catalogue DOTC is entirely unique for them. Have any heavy metal bands done Celtic Jigs before? (probably yes, IDK, but it doesn't seem to be common at all)

I'm not sure how you objectively determine whether a song has a valid point or not.
 
The two songs in the album with a vibe from the two Blaze albums are - LIALW and DOTC (the whole song has a Virtual XI vibe). The X Factor feel in the former is big, especially in the pre-chorus where Bruce sings low (the same way he sang the chorus of LOTF live after the instrumental section). The riff, the melodies, the drumming and the outro are also pure X Factor.
DOTC defo has a VXI feel. Even the production of the song sounds a little different to the rest of the album and defo very VXI. Theres a riff half way through the song (which sounds very Clansman) and the sound the guitars just changes. Sounds very weird and very VXI.
 

____no5

The Angel Of The Odd
Maiden have never done a Celtic Jig before. Given their back catalogue DOTC is entirely unique for them. Have any heavy metal bands done Celtic Jigs before? (probably yes, IDK, but it doesn't seem to be common at all)

What about Montsegur & Isle of Avalon?

I'm not sure how you objectively determine whether a song has a valid point or not.

Good point. I don't think there's objectivity. Or more precise, I don't have the time or the mood for such logical analysis. It's much of a feeling thing. When I first listened to the song there was zero surprise element, only an endless deja vu as if I've heard it times and times before.

When jig entered I thought of Montsegur. And I like the jig, it's a successful part of the song.

Notice that I didn't even mention Clansman here. The perceived unoriginality has nothing to do with the theme.
It's more related to structure, orchestration and performances. Also the fact that all this has 10 minutes length it doesn't help.
Thus if I could exclude one song from Senjutsu Celts would be it.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
What about Montsegur & Isle of Avalon?
Montsegur and Isle of Avalon sound nothing like a Celtic Jig
Notice that I didn't even mention Clansman here. The perceived unoriginality has nothing to do with the theme.
I have no idea why some people relate DOTC to Clansman, the songs are very very different

It's more related to structure, orchestration and performances. Also the fact that all this has 10 minutes length it doesn't help.
Thus if I could exclude one song from Senjutsu Celts would be it.
Maiden is Maiden,
They have done 100's of songs, they have their sound, they have their structure.
DOTC is more different to their back catalogue than many of the other songs on this album.
Of course you are entitled to your opinion, and I am keen to know why you have this opinion. But I personally just don't see the reasons that you have mentioned. Not to say that I'm right and you are wrong or vice versa, I just don't see it.
 
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