|Release Date:||3rd of September, 2021|
|Released via||Parlophone, Sanctuary Records|
|Cover Artwork ©||Iron Maiden, 2021|
Iron Maiden are important, Iron Maiden are great, Iron Maiden are awesome. We all agree on that. In my opinion, however, the British Heavy Metal flagship has been on the wane for the last two decades. From Brave New World to the much-praised The Book of Souls, the band just hasn’t been able to grab me anymore. This all even though especially the works of the eighties were simply inimitable and should always remain. Now, in the distant year 2021, they have once again decided to release another opulent, complex and lengthy album. How has Senjutsu done, now, more than a month after release? Let’s go through all the songs one by one.
The title track and the following “Stratego” are very similar, both are completely overloaded and seem like a hopeless mess in places. This may be intended, effect this that, however, the listening fun is not conducive. What was producer Kevin Shirley thinking with the verses on the second song? The vocals and the guitar track together just seem awful.
“The Writing on the Wall“, on the other hand, has already convinced me as a sing-along. This one is a hit and I won’t be convinced any different either.
The following “Lost in a lost World” unfortunately absolutely does not awaken the desire in me to want to hear it a second time. Too predictable structure, no surprises or highlights.
The next track “Days of Future Past” could have been promising, but the lousy production unfortunately managed to ruin this one as well. Why does everything have to be so overloaded by now? Aren’t three guitars enough? This keyboard that wants to imitate classical instruments is annoying, nothing else.
I forgot how to listen to the first half of “The Time Machine“. The second, on the other hand, finally managed to muster what I like about Maiden – strong melodies, matching solos, a tailored sound and, above all, a recognizable ending, except for the unnecessary last thirty seconds.
My first impression with “Darkest Hour” (very imaginative title anno 2021) was that my ears are overwhelmed by all the listening impressions. It really kills any enjoyment of the music. Otherwise, it remains a tough Maiden ballad with an obligatory anti-war theme.
“Death of the Celts” actually went by faster than expected and even managed to please in places, even if I really get sick of the cheesy song endings on tracks like these.
Finally, let’s get to the positive surprises: “The Parchment” and “Hell on Earth” really got me. Heavens, I even felt something! Despite the length of both songs, they don’t turn out overlong, the guitar melodies work great with the vocals and most parts really knew how to captivate me. Why not do it more often?
All in all, despite these three highlights, Senjutsu remains a rather tough, lengthy and disappointing album overall. Iron Maiden have therefore managed it in 2021 much the same as the last twenty years: They have disappointed me quite a lot on balance.