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Review: Iron Maiden - Senjutsu
Iron Maiden

Label: Parlophone Records
Year released: 2021
Duration: 1:21:53
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: September 6, 2021
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers Rating

Rated 3.25/5 (65%) (52 Votes)

To say I was surprised to find out a month ago that Maiden was releasing a new album a month later would be an understatement. This came out of nowhere and I jumped online and made the preorder within minutes of finding out. Iron Maiden is my favorite band (hell, I have a tattoo of Eddie on me) and I honestly believe there is no such thing as a bad Iron Maiden album, but I am also not blinded by my love for this band.

This album is simply too damn long. This is an issue that has been going on for most of the 2000s. The proliferation of these 10-minute plus epics. Don't get me wrong, the songs are all very well done and have great hooks and melodies, but I contend if some editing goes into this, you could have some absolute bangers. To illustrate my point, let's go with the live setting as this is one of the greatest touring bands in the history of Heavy Metal. What gets the largest response? Is it the 18-minute sprawling epic ("Empire of the Clouds") or the clear concise 4-minute headbanger ("Aces High")? Before anyone says I am just wanting the band to re-record those classic albums, let me get in front of that... Yeah, I kinda do. Not a straight lift, but to get back to writing songs that are amazing in a live setting and get the crowd fired up. I know they can do it because my favorite song on this album is "Days of Future Past" which clocks in at just over a paltry four minutes. I'm guessing someone at some point told the band they need a radio friendly song, and they kicked that one out and it is absolutely great. I think the problem I am having with this album is because I do actually enjoy the album as a whole, but in my opinion, it could be an album that could rival their classics. It really feels like they have gotten to where they are trying to tell short stories in musical form when sometimes a meme could get the point across. There are tons of great ideas in these long songs that I think could easily be multiple songs and they would be better for it. There are three different excellent riffs in the first two minutes of "Death of the Celts" that could easily be turned into three different songs and we still have another eight minutes of the song to go. It is an excellent song as a whole, but I just can't shake the feeling that it could be even better if it were edited down a bit. A couple of days ago, I had a discussion with a friend about how a vinyl album is more immersive than listening to something via Spotify or YouTube. When I listen to an album on vinyl, I sit with the album cover and the liner notes in my hand and follow along with the lyric sheet. This will be a phenomenal album on vinyl, considering that is the level of attention this album deserves and actually requires.

Overall, this is an excellent album, but you'd better be prepared for a time commitment. This album feels like a good workout. That overall good feeling you get after you are done and you know you pushed yourself. It is an experience like watching a good movie that you will think about for a while afterward. Considering I have watched movies that were shorter than this album, it seems like a good comparison. Highly recommended, especially for Heavy Metal fans with good attention spans and stamina.

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