The Writing On The Wall

Jon

Administrator
Staff member
Thread for all discussion of the track 'The Writing On The Wall' from Iron Maiden's 17th studio album 'Senjutsu'.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
Let's get the song thread proper going then.

An acoustic intro leads into a western-sounding guitar riff which at first sound somewhat unusual for Maiden before another guitar comes in and we're in more familiar territory, with a melody reminiscent of Mother Russia and a groove not unlike Book of Souls the song, but perhaps with a less "grand" feel than the latter and a less solemn feel than the former.

The lyrics don't dwell on the specific Biblical theme that was hinted at during the ad campaign, but Babylon is mentioned and the greater topic of downfall and destruction is there. I haven't watched the video enough times that I can link everything in the song with everything in the story of the video, but I'm sure a lot of clever analysis will find this thread in due time.

The solo section is enjoyable, the second solo nothing short of great. The interlude between the solos reminds me a little of the part following the solos in Afraid To Shoot Strangers.

I've only heard the Youtube version so far and I hear the sound is better on Spotify. I hope so, because especially the vocals sound ... well, not great, in the Youtube edition. It is sometimes directly hard to hear what Bruce is singing.

The song, as a whole, is very enjoyable - how much of this is due to novelty and how it will stand the test of time, we do not know. But it makes me look forward to the album release with optimism.
 

DJMayes

Ancient Mariner
I've only heard the Youtube version so far and I hear the sound is better on Spotify. I hope so, because especially the vocals sound ... well, not great, in the Youtube edition. It is sometimes directly hard to hear what Bruce is singing.
The sound is only spotty in the music video. The band have also uploaded a better quality audio stream on YouTube here.
 
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karljant

Ancient Mariner
Great track. 45 years after the first steps the band is still expanding their musical landscape and this one's a hell of a grower. The contrast between the country/ folk influenced verses and the really strong pre chorus giving way to a refrain that is class personified is just something. I mean... there's something really dark yet melancholic somewhere in between the lines here that really dazzles me. Plus the bridges and solos are also really top notch stuff. As for now I'll go with a 8.5/10 but I'll review each track once Senjutsu comes out.
 

Poto

Ancient Mariner
This song is fucking phenomenal. Amazing riffs, love the intro and build up, great verse, chorus, everything.
 

Severian

Have a good time, all the time!
A very staightforward song, pretty much exactly what you would expect from a Maiden rocker single. Better than the last couple of singles and the solos section of the song is what really lifts this one up for me, would put this on the lower end of the album and think maybe it would have been better as a non-album single(?) Have no real problems with TWOTW and enjoy the lyrics, Good Song!
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
By now I should be a little more into other Senjutsu's tracks than the first song leaked by the band shouldn't I? Yeah... but fact is I'm not. There's something in this track... a certain underlying force, a sense of urgency and seriousness that is absolutely captivating. A really cool desolate acoustic intro breaks the silence followed by a truly unique riff regarding Maiden's legacy. Let's not endure the "is it folk or is it country" chat (majorly because the latter derives from English folk ) but I surely can imagine it as a western movie's score. The lyrics on this one are top notch: full on social/ political metaphorical matters smartly penned that are superbly reinforced by the song's video clip. Vocals sound great and really start bringing the song into other direction. And it's when Bruce spearheads the pre chorus inflection that the whole thing achieves its full grandeur on both this section and the glorious refrain (the "A tide of change is coming and that is what you fear, the earthquake is a coming, but you don't want to hear... you're just too blind to see" line just give me goosebumps). We're still presented with some stellar soloing action but I really feel WOTW's true strength resides in some kind of dormant and yet immensely powerful force that lies a few inches below the surface during the whole of the track, like a volcano eruption that doesn't come to happen... and although it didn't you felt its power and damn sure know it's a question of time until one day it all explodes. Strong as hell tune in so many aspects while bringing some new flavors to Maiden's table. Simply love it. 8.75/10
 
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Mega

Ancient Mariner
I really like the country inspired acoustic guitar in the intro, as well as the verse riff. One of H's best solos ever IMO.
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
A sterling example of the Smith/Dickinson partnership. It's got a great structure, sufficient drama. Something not entirely Maidenlike in Adrian's 'folk' input (sounds more like blues rock to me) and yet Maiden hallmarks all over it as soon as those drums kick in. Plus Dickinson not only producing thoughtful and well crafted lyrics, but also pacing and pitching things exactly right for his vocal strengths.

Highlight: "Riding next to yooooooo." Lovely vocal moment, sounds like he enjoyed singing that.

Was the little instrumental bridge thingy borrowed from a 90s Maiden song?
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
TWOTW kicks major ass, and its placement on the album accentuates this in the best fashion possible

Sounds very energetic after Senjutsu and Stratego, just an injection of positive energy
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
TWOTW kicks major ass, and its placement on the album accentuates this in the best fashion possible

Sounds very energetic after Senjutsu and Stratego, just an injection of positive energy
A little reminiscent of the barbed wire hen song too, I think
 

daan

Nomad
TWotW is a masterclass in cohesive songwriting. You can hear it was developed from a strong main idea and all the parts are rooted in it. Great folky vibe. This is one of those tracks that sounds 100% Maiden but no copycat would ever come up with it. Familiar, yet totally fresh. Pretty atypical for Adrian too, so it's great to see him trying new stuff.

I love the guitars here. The parts are interesting and complement each other very well. The mid-solo interlude is one of my favourite parts on the whole album.

Phenomenal track, a strong contender for a 10/10 from me, but we'll see, it's still early.
 

Poto

Ancient Mariner
TWotW is a masterclass in cohesive songwriting. You can hear it was developed from a strong main idea and all the parts are rooted in it. Great folky vibe. This is one of those tracks that sounds 100% Maiden but no copycat would ever come up with it. Familiar, yet totally fresh. Pretty atypical for Adrian too, so it's great to see him trying new stuff.

I love the guitars here. The parts are interesting and complement each other very well. The mid-solo interlude is one of my favourite parts on the whole album.

Phenomenal track, a strong contender for a 10/10 from me, but we'll see, it's still early.
Yes.
 

Smither

Educated Fool
Phenomenal track, I loved it from Day 1 and still feel the same way about it, even after listening more than 100 times. It's so different but it's clearly Maiden, vocal delivery on the verses is perfect, the chorus is amazing even if a bit repetitive. Great choice for first single imo, it's much more original and fresh sounding than the other possible choices (Stratego and DOFP). The solo section is out of this world, everyone talks about Adrian's (and rightly so, it's probably my favorite from the album), but I love Davey's work here as well. The melody in between them it's pure Maiden. Audiences will go crazy on that one, maybe they will speed it up a bit live as well.
 

Spambot

Meme Lord
Just two months ago, this forum was like a kindergarten on a sugar rush: kids (users) running around and screaming excited about somebody's t-shirt while nannies (mods) tried to calm everybody down. Seems so long ago now, doesn't it? I was thinking of hanging up my meme gloves, thinking: "If it weren't for certain users here, I would have nothing to meme about. Nothing!" But then it came... Those words made out of fire that spelled: "Writing on the Wall." What a blissful moment!

I must admit that the first couple of listens I was a bit sidetracked by the video in a manner that I didn't really "follow" the song itself. Still, I'll say today what I said after that first listen (those 4 Eddie bikers be damned or not!): That first minute has more variation than the majority of "Book of Souls". (sidenote: 6 years later, I don't really rate BoS that high and somehow still feel disappointed by it).

So I approached this one cautiously: even after a couple of listens, I still couldn't say the song is "bad". I liked it, but then again, it wasn't like I was instantly overjoyed with the song itself like I was with some other singles (El Dorado, for example). Could this one be a grower? (SPOILER: It was.) At first, I didn't want to read what people here said because I don't really know everybody's "Maiden taste". So, I sent a couple of messages to my friends whose taste I know a bit better. Responses came back positive.

As days passed, I've liked the song more and more, but I still couldn't really wrap my head about it. It was a couple of weeks later when it came on the radio as I was driving. I turned it up and asked my wife for an opinion. This was her first reaction even before chorus hit: "OK, this sounds great, but you couldn't tell it's a Maiden song until Bruce came up. And when he did, he sings like it's a typical Maiden song." And then it clicked.

It really is different and to put this one as a first single is really brave. Nothing (rhythm, riff, Adrian solo) about this one is what I knew as Iron Maiden. On the other hand, Bruce's singing is everything I knew as Iron Maiden. For me, it was a weird combination at first, but keeps growing with time. Except one part: that riff between two solos - you could've played that to me one year ago, and I would instantly know it was Maiden.

Yeah, it took me some time. During that time, I started liking the verses (I loved the intro instantly) get used to Bruce's voice and made peace with the chorus (it isn't anything special or something to get really excited about but fits the song nicely). Furthermore, I'll try not to get myself involved into mastering debate because it's something I know very little of. But... In WOTW choruses there are some guitar licks (I believe it's Janick - if I use my good headphones I can barely hear it on the left channel) that would give that nice extra layer to the chorus.

Oh, and I believe more than enough has been said about Adrian solo. If there is any reason why it should be played live, that's Adrian solo. On the other hand (and I may be in the minority) but I don't see this one as a live song. It is good, but it's kind of unconventional for it to be played live. Who knows, if it happens, I might go: "Damn, that sounds great, I can't believe I said this isn't a live song."

Nevertheless, two months ago, Maiden announced another album journey with "Writing on the Wall". I could feel it was a bit "different" journey, a territory I wasn't familiar with. Maybe because of that, I was really hyped, although I was trying to reason myself down. But last Friday, September 3rd, these three first songs on "Senjutsu" were enough to justify the six-year wait.

And we haven't even reached the "good stuff" yet...
 
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