Album Review: Iron Maiden – Senjutsu (2021)

Senjutsu (BMG; September 3rd, 2021) is the seventeenth studio album (41st release overall) by the British Heavy Metal titans, Iron Maiden. The title is Japanese and is being translated, “tactics and strategy” by the band. Senjutsu is the band’s first record since 2015’s “Book of Souls,” and their second double album in their discography. The album cover features the band’s longtime mascot, Eddie, in his latest evolutionary development – a Samurai Warrior, complete with a katana. 

An interesting study, BTW, is the long development of Eddie, from the classic Killer on Iron Maiden’s self-titled debute and the follow-up, “Killers,” through a mental patient, a Pharaoh, a Fighter Pilot, and on into the future… and beyond! The image of Eddie is as well known as the band themselves!

So, it’s always been interesting to me to read, and write my own, album reviews of GIANTS such as Iron Maiden! I mean, they can do whatever they want and it’ll be great! They’ve been doing this far longer than I’ve been alive! If you talk to O.G.s about Maiden, you usually get the stories from the 80s – the epic live shows, songs like “Run to the Hills” or “The Trooper” or “Hallowed be They Name.” Iron Maiden spent a short time – just a few records – on these types of songs, but quickly moved to a more progressive sound and song structure. Usually basing the lyrics in historical, or at least historical literary context, the music becomes winding with multiple temple changes and epic and dramatic interludes and refrains. This is a thinking band, if you will. These later offerings are brilliant thought experiments and some truly classic tracks that many generations claim as their own. This is the key to Iron Maiden’s timelessness; to their longevity. 

Categorically, the soul of Iron Maiden is found in the long-time rhythm section, namely, Steve Harris (founding bassist) and Nicko McBrain (drums). These two have been galloping along, over and under the sound together since ’82! The spirit of the machine is a three-pronged attack: Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers are the three guitar players, who individually span the entire epic of Maiden, but collectively represent every solo and riff from every era of the band. And the heart of the beast is Bruce Dickinson (vocals). He was not the founding singer, and he also left in the 90s, but returned in 2000 where he has performed as the voice of Iron Maiden as no one else ever could. 

It is this soul, spirit, and heart that is on display on Senjutsu. It is just an incredible record, by extremely talented individuals, who have learned the secret to playing together, for a long time.

Disc One:

Senjutsu – 8:20

Stratego – 4:59

The Writing on the Wall – 6:13

Lost in a Lost World – 9:31

Days of Future Past – 4:03

The Time Machine – 7:09

Total Length – 40:15

Disc Two:

Darkest Hour – 7:20

Death of the Celts – 10:20

The Parchment – 12:39

Hell on Earth – 11:19

Total Length – 41:38

Rating: 8.5/10! Come on! It’s Iron Maiden!!

Favorite Songs: Lost in a Lost World; Darkest Hour 

What is your favorite song off of Sinjutsu?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW