This is by no means a bad album. Quite to the contrary, “Senjutsu” contains numerous positive listening experiences. For instance, there’s the opening title track, a call to arms with drums of an almost marching character, which helped by repeated riffage creates the notion of trance. Then there’s the symphonic interlude inside “Stratego”, the folksy elements of “The writing on the wall”, the spooky acoustics which embark “Lost in a lost world”, the 70’s feel of “The time machine” and the semi-ballad of “Darkest hour” with its picturesque lyrics. Also, there’s the sympathetic jig interplay and beautiful, encouraging strings of “The death of the celts” and there’s the dark and moody epic “Hell on Earth” ending this vast double.
Still – I can’t understand the overwhelming panegyrics this album has gained. Don’t people want to be surprised? Doesn’t the listener feel a bit tired of the same three or four chords on repeat? Guitarist Adrian Smith has stated that the folk bits are new (what about “Dance of death” or “The clansman”?) as is the drumming intro (fair enough), but will this do?
Furthermore, what about the variety of yesteryear? Where is the bouncy energy of “The Clairvoyant” or “Heaven can wait”? The way things are, we are made to wait half an hour for the first touch of up-tempo (“Days of future past”) and yet another thirty minutes for the second (“The parchment”). Adding insult to injury, most of the album is in one and the same minor key, with singer Bruce Dickinson sometimes struggling to reach the high notes.
Returning to the plus-section, the lyrics are thought-provoking throughout and the guitar solos truly entertaining. The hardcore fans will surely love “Senjutsu”, and I…well I kinda like it.
Band: Iron Maiden
Date of release: September 03, 2021
Stand out tracks:
Lost in a Lost World
The Time Machine