British heavy metal juggernauts Iron Maiden return with their seventeenth album ‘Senjutsu‘. In the last four and a half decades, the sextet unfolded an unprecedented level of mastery within the genre of heavy metal. With the augmented classic lineup led by genius bassist/keyboardist Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers on guitars, Nicko McBrain on drums and Bruce Dickinson make a triumphant return to glorious years. From the first guitar notes of this magnificent double album, the epic riffs and the charismatic powerful vocals shine through on the opening track ‘Senjutsu‘ which is filled with the band’s characteristic qualities. The majestic vocals are sustained by the metallic performance of the guitars. Solid drumming work and crafty riffs reverberate like a deafening storm as the catchy choruses explode sending whirlwinds of solos that personify the fabulous guitar arrangement. It goes with saying that the song composition is reminiscent of Iron Maiden‘s contemporary works such as ‘Brave New World‘ and ‘The Book of Souls‘.The guitar and bass departments bring so much passion for creating such a massive full-bodied sound.
The album opener ‘Senjutsu‘ is an epic track that shows the cohesiveness of their impeccable songwriting. The vicious attack of the triple guitars evolves into oriental melodies while the solos are masterfully layered. Catchy choruses are followed by superb harmonies while Steve Harris‘s bass plucks and stomps heavily. In contrast to the clear instrumentation, the keyboards sweep in and out providing an extra element to the composition. The following track ‘Stratego‘ brings many stellar moments with the guitars sending the crashing waves through the speakers. It fuses the classic combination of powerful metal riffs and captures the sonic aggression of ‘Powerslave‘ and ‘Fates Warning‘ era.
‘Writing on the Wall‘ is one of the songs featured as a single. Although the vibes here are daring the guitars to create an old-school feeling, the hard rock influences are notable throughout the track, whereas the shredding solos cut you in half the music flows through robust dynamism. The album features numerous lengthy tracks and songs such as ‘Lost in a Lost World‘ seem to transcend into an untrodden musical direction. It begins with an entrancing acoustic guitar section followed by Dickinson’s emotive vocals. With the heavy pounding drum work of McBrain, the song builds on long mid-tempo while the heavy guitar currents will bring you the chills. The meandering lead guitars and the soaring vocals merge well with the excellent riffs. You can expect plenty of invigorating vibes: the riffs are solid as fuck and the catchy melodies are overflowing with energy.
‘Days of the Future Past‘ shows excellent musical versatility: the track is rife with compelling rhythms. There are harmonies and solos galore, and the use of keyboards is occasionally used, adding an extra layer. After all these long years Iron Maiden hasn’t lost their touch for emotional songwriting. ‘Senjutsu‘ is mind-blowingly engrossing. The band eschews any unnecessary experimentation. The songs are oriented towards mid-tempo. The composition is packed full of powerful riffs and the charismatic vocals continue to soar over the heavy rolling drums on ‘The Time Machine‘ which emphasizes the use of acoustic guitars.
Whereas the dark atmospheric intro on ‘Darkest Hour‘ steers into galloping riffs and thundering drum beats, the hallmarks of the band’s classic riffs are one of the album’s key elements. ‘Death of Celts‘ is a ten-minute epic track where the atonal bass guitar reminds of ‘The X-Factor‘. The plucking of the bass guitars here works perfectly. Each instrument is given enough space to shine as the songs navigate through epic ,lengthy tempos. An excellent concoction of modern and old, Iron Maiden‘s classic styles prove the strength and the vision of their impeccable songwriting.
Some of the band’s darkest riffs appear on ‘The Parchment‘, an epic composition of vicious and powerful riffs. The grandeur of the triple guitars shines through the hammering drum beats. Rhythm guitars splendidly portray oriental melodies conveying tales of noble samurai, knights and warriors, brilliantly encapsulated in themes of the epic riffs. The sonic magnetism of the potent guitars consistently creates a dark majestic atmosphere that maintains an excellent interplay between the instrumentation. The final track ‘Hell on Earth‘ unfolds an epic composition that brings the hallmarks of the vocals and the guitar harmonies. The riffs and the sweeping synth fit into the musical idiom offering plenty of solos.
Iron Maiden has meticulously crafted one of their best contemporary works to date. The sextet makes a triumphant return to regain the throne as they take their brand of NWOBHM to new unforeseeable heights! ‘Senjutsu‘ is a remarkable testimony to the quality and skills of one of the pioneer bands in heavy metal.
Release Date: September 3rd, 2021
- The Writing on the Wall
- Lost in a Lost World
- Days of Future Past
- The Time Machine
- Darkest Hour
- Death of the Celts
- The Parchment
- Hello on Earth