Senjutsu - 3rd September 2021

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I am guessing this song will be something similar to "The Pilgrim"? Thoughts?
Well, ''The Pilgrim'' has Arabic/Eastern vibes. I can see ''Stratego'' to contain some Japanese-style melodies.

btw, ''The Pilgrim'' was a mixture of two parts of two different songs (according to Janick). Steve turned them into one song.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I wonder what colour Nicko will choose for his drum kit this time... metallic or green is my guess.

He has never used a green drum kit before -> white, black, blue, red, purple, yellow/gold, mixed colours (LOTB tour), grey, but not green.

- maybe he will add the Japanese characters (from the album cover) to his drum kit. He probably loves the theme of the new album as he has a samurai tattoo on his shoulder.
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
I won't be able to endure something similar to The Pilgrim. It sounds to me like some parts were glued together, then repeated and then repeated again. It is what I call constructed and not composed song!
 

waspfan

Nomad
On the subject of the Harris epics, I think Empire of the Clouds accidentally illustrated Steve Harris's songwriting genuis.

Sorry to Empire of the Clouds fans, but I think it is overlong, boring and devoid of adrenaline pumping or inspiring musical passages in the latter half. Even the crescendo part of the airship coming down sounds limp. The song actually takes BOS down a notch for me. Full respect to Bruce since he was ill, but the song somehow doesn't feel complete to me, more like the scaffold to be edited and embellished later on.

And it showed me that although we may take Harris's epics for granted, or even criticise them, he has an ear for writing compelling longer traditional metal songs. And my god, he writes them himself and brings them fully composed to the band!

Say what you want folks, but 30 or so minutes of Harris material to close Senjutsu sounds far more appealing than the snoozefest of Bruce's 20 minute attempt at prog rock amateur dramatics. Maiden would never have built its early musical reputation as a force of nature based on Empire of the Clouds, I can tell you that much. If Empire appeared on a 1982-1992 album it may have sunk them.

Sorry to rant and apologies to all Empire of the Clouds fans - I'm happy the song keeps you entertained. Personally I give it 6/10 and think it is only slightly less of a disaster than Loch Ness by Judas Priest, which ruined their Angel... album.

100% agree
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
Sorry to Empire of the Clouds fans, but I think it is overlong, boring and devoid of adrenaline pumping or inspiring musical passages in the latter half.
I should preface this reply with the note that Empire of the Clouds is, in my opinion one of the best things Maiden have ever released. That said...
Maiden would never have built its early musical reputation as a force of nature based on Empire of the Clouds, I can tell you that much. If Empire appeared on a 1982-1992 album it may have sunk them.
I agree to the extent that 18 minutes constitutes a significantly larger proportion of albums then than it does now. If you didn't like Empire and it takes up close to half the album alone, it will put a damper on things. With TBOS, you can just stop the album a track early and you still have an albums worth of material to listen to.

At the same time, you could have made room for it on most of the older albums whilst keeping the classics on there, so I feel it's a slightly hyperbolic point.
Sorry to rant and apologies to all Empire of the Clouds fans - I'm happy the song keeps you entertained. Personally I give it 6/10 and think it is only slightly less of a disaster than Loch Ness by Judas Priest, which ruined their Angel... album.
Is it a 6/10 or a disaster? Choose one. (And Loch Ness is fine.)

----------

Still looking forward to Steve's songs. Blood Brothers and For The Greater Good of God are the best tracks on their respective albums as far as I'm concerned.
 

Arrakis

Educated Fool
On the subject of the Harris epics, I think Empire of the Clouds accidentally illustrated Steve Harris's songwriting genuis.

Sorry to Empire of the Clouds fans, but I think it is overlong, boring and devoid of adrenaline pumping or inspiring musical passages in the latter half. Even the crescendo part of the airship coming down sounds limp. The song actually takes BOS down a notch for me. Full respect to Bruce since he was ill, but the song somehow doesn't feel complete to me, more like the scaffold to be edited and embellished later on.

And it showed me that although we may take Harris's epics for granted, or even criticise them, he has an ear for writing compelling longer traditional metal songs. And my god, he writes them himself and brings them fully composed to the band!

Say what you want folks, but 30 or so minutes of Harris material to close Senjutsu sounds far more appealing than the snoozefest of Bruce's 20 minute attempt at prog rock amateur dramatics. Maiden would never have built its early musical reputation as a force of nature based on Empire of the Clouds, I can tell you that much. If Empire appeared on a 1982-1992 album it may have sunk them.

Sorry to rant and apologies to all Empire of the Clouds fans - I'm happy the song keeps you entertained. Personally I give it 6/10 and think it is only slightly less of a disaster than Loch Ness by Judas Priest, which ruined their Angel... album.
I tend to agree somewhat. There was a debate here about what if recent long or epic songs appeared on earlier albums, would they be classified as classics? Take Seventh Son, the song, would you cut a second of it? Not a chance! Take Phantom of the Opera, would you cut a second of it? Not me. Or Rime, or Caught Somewhere in Time etc. The big difference between earlier epic songs and recent ones, is the latter try to be proggy, try to be proggy very hard and sometimes I can hear it. They try too hard and the songs sometimes do not flow. That's the difference. Does it flow? Is it interesting? You can write much longer songs without dragging if the storytelling has a curve, an interesting musical ride. This is where a producer comes into play, to direct the musicians without rewriting the piece or change the original music too much, just give reasonable directions. Other than that, I like post-reunion Maiden, but there is a clear change in how they compose and it's not perfect, which is fine too.
 

Arrakis

Educated Fool
I should preface this reply with the note that Empire of the Clouds is, in my opinion one of the best things Maiden have ever released. That said...

I agree to the extent that 18 minutes constitutes a significantly larger proportion of albums then than it does now. If you didn't like Empire and it takes up close to half the album alone, it will put a damper on things. With TBOS, you can just stop the album a track early and you still have an albums worth of material to listen to.

At the same time, you could have made room for it on most of the older albums whilst keeping the classics on there, so I feel it's a slightly hyperbolic point.

Is it a 6/10 or a disaster? Choose one. (And Loch Ness is fine.)

----------

Still looking forward to Steve's songs. Blood Brothers and For The Greater Good of God are the best tracks on their respective albums as far as I'm concerned.
Empire of the Clouds to me is an average song, which could have been really great. The lyrics are amazing, the storytelling starts off very well, then the instrumental section which is way too long, simply forgets to lift the piece and goes nowhere. It's a failed attempt at trying to be proggy and the entire song becomes uninteresting to me. While there are good ideas in it like having that Morse code section, it's mostly lacking ideas. When the Wild Wind Blows is a much more mature song and more interesting to me.
 
I should preface this reply with the note that Empire of the Clouds is, in my opinion one of the best things Maiden have ever released. That said...

I agree to the extent that 18 minutes constitutes a significantly larger proportion of albums then than it does now. If you didn't like Empire and it takes up close to half the album alone, it will put a damper on things. With TBOS, you can just stop the album a track early and you still have an albums worth of material to listen to.

At the same time, you could have made room for it on most of the older albums whilst keeping the classics on there, so I feel it's a slightly hyperbolic point.

Is it a 6/10 or a disaster? Choose one. (And Loch Ness is fine.)

----------

Still looking forward to Steve's songs. Blood Brothers and For The Greater Good of God are the best tracks on their respective albums as far as I'm concerned.
Hyperbole be thy name!
Thanks for your response. People love the 'rock opera' approach and that's cool, but it's just not for me. Obviously its a Bruce epic because the lyrics move it along, not the music, and that's not why I love Maiden. Luckily I can just turn off the album before Empire starts, or as I usually do treat the lovely piano intro as an extended album outro, turn it down and cease paying attention....
6/10 is far from a disaster, that's true, I was mainly referencing Loch Ness as the real plodding disaster in my sentence.

Last point - I attended Burrfest at Tufnell Park London, and a Maiden cover band + Dennis Stratton played a version of Empire on stage. I enjoyed it sort of, but it just doesn't feel 'Maiden' enough for me.
 

Samantas5855

Educated Fool
Well, I just hated the close relation to VXI. In most of the songs Nicko is not even bothering to perform a drum roll. The choruses on most songs are so repetitive and blunt. The usage of the 3 guitars is sub-par, H's contribution is too little. The sound IMO is very unbalanced with the drums too high in the mix. It always sounded like a half-baked record...at least more that the other reunion albums. Bruce's singing however is fantastic for the last time on a Maiden record. I think that since DOD he sounds too strained and forced.
Most of this is criticism towards the production and not the album really and can be said about every other shirley album. Yeah BNW has repetitive choruses but for some reason they dont bother me like they do on other albums. Yes the record isn't perfect, it doesn't sound like 80's maiden but in my book its a 9/10 record. That being said, VXI was my introduction to maiden and although I dont like some elements of it I like it as a record.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
What makes Empire of the Clouds really interesting is how it's such a story-driven song. In a way, it's narrative is quite a lot ahead of it's musical merits, resulting in a (in my opinion!) very good song that carries it's long runtime just fine, but I agree with some of the statements above that the instrumental parts don't quite lift it anywhere.

I like it and it has the vibe and feeling, but it might have benefited from slightly more elaborate treatment. But yes, I really like it! While not my absolute favourite among longer, epic Maiden songs, I think it's relatively solid statement anyway. :)
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
I didn't expect that from you @Mosh :(

It's actually a sensible thought.

I did not think VXI is bad but I thought it's one of their worst albums. I was not that enamored with BNW either although I've liked the album on release, I thought something like Chemical Wedding is miles ahead of both, and when DoD came out I was already on another train station. I was not aware of a new Maiden album and I didn't like it that much when it came out. Everyone was screaming Paschendale I think it's a good song (not that good on the album tho), nowhere near the hype.

I heard MP3s officially released at AMOLAD time and I did not get it at all. I just didn't.

Recall talking to a friend saying Maiden have gone into some direction I don't understand. And I've been already high on progressive metal train at that point. I remember saying Maiden beats, melodies, riffs, I don't get any more. The weird phrasing of the voice over a dull 'metal' riff such as Thousand Suns over an irregular drum beat. Huh

At that late 2006 the thing that got me "back" into Maiden was one of the stuff that brought me in in the first place. Somewhere In Time. After some years of listening to 'technical' music I remember being awestruck over guitar sound and Smith solos on the record. I thought to myself, well this is highly technical. Maybe not overly complex but god damn these guys can play. That got me back. And soon after, Benjamin Breeg came on random shuffle and I got hooked.

So to TLDR - reunion Maiden wasn't an insta-hit for me, at least after BNW. It took some time to click, it did after a few years. The point is, if that didn't happen, I am not sure I would be around here.

What Mosh meant is how can you not have enthusiasm about the band's new material and still hang around for decades?
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
Most of this is criticism towards the production and not the album really and can be said about every other shirley album. Yeah BNW has repetitive choruses but for some reason they dont bother me like they do on other albums. Yes the record isn't perfect, it doesn't sound like 80's maiden but in my book its a 9/10 record. That being said, VXI was my introduction to maiden and although I dont like some elements of it I like it as a record.
My problem was never that it does not sound like 80s Maiden to be honest with you.

Also the drums on Songs like DOM, OOTSP, TM, TTLBLAH are below average. Most of the songs seem to be made on the spot. I thought that the compositions in all the other post-reunion albums were much more elaborated. VXI on the other hand was all these things but even worse in all aspects. I can't say there are no good parts of songs, and especially the solo on TW has to be one o H's finest, but the redeming factors are so few related to the things I really do not like. As for the production itself.. I mentioned it as I thought it was a big shock to see how even a great producer produced something so out of his standards.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
I've always preferred Dance of Death to Brave New World because it felt like the band was truly stepping outside of their comfort zone a little bit and was truly pushing themselves. BNW is probably the best produced reunion album but I also find it the least exciting. To me, DOD sort of solidified the fact that the reunion of the band was in fact real and was going to have something really interesting to present to us.

I also agree that if it had a better cover it would most likely be seen as better overall. I still can't believe they went with that album cover all these years later. It still has to be fake, right?

While I still do like Empire of the Clouds, I've sort of always viewed the Book of Souls album experience as the first 10 songs + a piano led bonus track. I'm hoping the new closing epics fit the mood of the album a bit more.

I'm really excited about the 3 Harris epics to close Senjutsu. I have to imagine these won't be simply re-treading Celtic melodies of the past few solo compositions.
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
It's actually a sensible thought.

I did not think VXI is bad but I thought it's one of their worst albums. I was not that enamored with BNW either although I've liked the album on release, I thought something like Chemical Wedding is miles ahead of both, and when DoD came out I was already on another train station. I was not aware of a new Maiden album and I didn't like it that much when it came out. Everyone was screaming Paschendale I think it's a good song (not that good on the album tho), nowhere near the hype.

I heard MP3s officially released at AMOLAD time and I did not get it at all. I just didn't.

Recall talking to a friend saying Maiden have gone into some direction I don't understand. And I've been already high on progressive metal train at that point. I remember saying Maiden beats, melodies, riffs, I don't get any more. The weird phrasing of the voice over a dull 'metal' riff such as Thousand Suns over an irregular drum beat. Huh

At that late 2006 the thing that got me "back" into Maiden was one of the stuff that brought me in in the first place. Somewhere In Time. After some years of listening to 'technical' music I remember being awestruck over guitar sound and Smith solos on the record. I thought to myself, well this is highly technical. Maybe not overly complex but god damn these guys can play. That got me back. And soon after, Benjamin Breeg came on random shuffle and I got hooked.

So to TLDR - reunion Maiden wasn't an insta-hit for me, at least after BNW. It took some time to click, it did after a few years. The point is, if that didn't happen, I am not sure I would be around here.

What Mosh meant is how can you not have enthusiasm about the band's new material and still hang around for decades?
I am almost 100% with you on this one! Although there was no song to pull me back to Maiden, I stay loyal cause it is interesting to see where they want to go with each album, and their back catalog untill 1992 can't be surpassed by any other band IMO. It has been around 30 years they last did a trully good album, I do not like a lot of their newer material but I can also still enjoy some song parts and especially the solos.
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
I think the album will be great (I'm sure it will be). I mean, how many times they've said something like that for an album:

Bruce: ''The last time I heard it was when Steve was mixing the Mexico live album. He hadn’t listened to it for ages, so we put it on and both went, ‘This is really good… wow!''

They listen to it since 2019... (not Bruce, it seems wow). It's been 2 years and they forgot about it - but with only two copies (one on Steve's laptop and one locked away in a vault somewhere) is understandable. :D

Btw, isn't it strange that only Bruce and Steve have actually heard the final, finished, mixed and mastered product?
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
Btw, isn't it strange that only Bruce and Steve have actually heard the final, finished, mixed and mastered product?

Well it has been clear for quite some time now that they are the driving/decision making force these days. Steve is the co-producer and they both seem to spend most of their time in UK (or so I think). It is not unusual that this happens. I heard that this is the case for other bands too especially during the covid era.
 
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