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Albums Of The Week: Iron Maiden | Sunjutsu

Need some nine-minute metal epics about war and death? You're in the right place.


Scream for me, metalheads! It’s a new Iron Maiden album. Of course, whether you’re screaming in joy or agony depends on what you’re looking for from the British metal stalwarts these days.

If you never tire of their absurdly compilcated, shape-shifting nine-minute epics about war and death, their 17th studio album Senjutsu — which was completed two years ago and literally locked in a vault while they sat out the pandemic — will be right up your alley. On the other hand, if you’re hoping for a return to the galloping arena-metal heyday of Run To The Hills, well, the midtempo tone and brooding intensity this time out might not be for you. Either way, gotta say: The band are still firing on all cylinders, bassist Harris remains at the top of his songwriting game, and indefatigable frontman Bruce Dickinson can still belt ’em out with the same energy he did four decades ago. That’s something to scream about, I guess.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded in Paris with longstanding producer Kevin Shirley and co-produced by founding bassist Steve Harris, Senjutsu is Iron Maiden’s 17th studio album and first disc of new material in six years.

Said Harris: “There’s some very complex songs on this album which took a lot of hard work to get them exactly as we wanted them to sound, so the process was at times very challenging, but Kevin is great at capturing the essence of the band and I think it was worth the effort! I’m very proud of the result and can’t wait for fans to hear it.”

Singer Bruce Dickinson added: “We’re all really excited about this album. The songs are very varied, and some of them are quite long. There’s also one or two songs which sound pretty different to our usual style, and I think Maiden fans will be surprised — in a good way, I hope!”

For Senjutsu — loosely translated as ‘tactics & strategy’ — the band once again enlisted the services of Mark Wilkinson to create the spectacular samurai-themed cover artwork, based on an idea by Steve Harris.

Iron Maiden have over 100 million record sales, more than 2,000 live performances in 63 countries, millions of fans worldwide, and 16 top-class studio albums already under their belts — the most recent of which was 2015’s The Book Of Souls, their first-ever double studio album and most successful chart-wise to date, debuting at No. 1 in over 43 countries. The band are due to resume the final leg of their Legacy Of The Beast world tour which began in 2018 and has since been taken around the world, playing to almost two million.”