Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Writing On The Wall
Lost In A Lost World
Days Of Future Past
The Time Machine
Death Of The Celts
Hell On Earth
Release Date: September 3, 2021
Label: Parlophone Records
Bruce Dickinson - Vocals / Steve Harris - Bass & keyboards / Dave Murray - Guitars
Adrian Smith - Guitars / Janick Gers - Guitars / Nicko McBrain - Drums
When it comes to new music from the band, the fan reactions are always mixed, because you have one half that find the new music contains the same level of quality as the classics do, and there's the other half that tend to prefer the classics more, and are not feeling the new music mainly due to reasons like production quality and song lengths. I certainly prefer the classic stuff a lot more, but a new Maiden studio album is always welcome, even if I'm not a big fan of it. Of course, even if a new Maiden album is not 100% perfect, we can always find moments that keep the album afloat and save it from sinking. Given that there have been a lot of songs over the last few albums that reached over the 10 minute mark, with multiple parts and instrumental sections, multiple listens are required for a majority of people for the album to start hooking them.
Maiden tend to get a lot of flack for making intros and outros too long at times. I have no problem with long intros, but there is certainly a line where it starts to drag for too long. Examples include "Lost In A Lost World", "Death Of The Celts" and "The Parchment", which all feel kind of bloated. With "The Parchment" being the longest song on the record, the slow tempo throughout a majority of the song can struggle to hold interest for a lot of people, unless if you have the capacity to listen to long songs where a majority of the tempo is slow. However, the tempo increase towards the end will certainly wake you up if you found yourself falling asleep during the first three quarters of the song. I also agree that Bruce's voice is too much in the background on certain songs like "Days Of Future Past", "Darkest Hour" and "The Time Machine". However, the closer "Hell On Earth" is by far the best song on the whole album. It almost feels like it pays homage to "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner". Several of the guitar melodies have that sing-along quality, making it a song that begs to be played live.
When I first heard Senjutsu, it was not hooking me right away like I was hoping it would. It required several listens before it started to hook me. I think that's what the last few Maiden albums were meant to do. However, I don't think there are as many memorable songs on this album as there were on Book Of Souls. It certainly makes you wonder whether Maiden's days as far as releasing new music are coming to an end. They can certainly still deliver the goods live, but when it comes to writing and recording new material, it sometimes feels like they're going through the motions in that sector. However, at the end of the day, Maiden are storytellers, and they have been that since the beginning. It's just that with long songs, it's kind of the equivalent of someone putting too much unnecessary bits into a story to get their point across. But then again, who are we to tell Maiden what they should and shouldn't do. Even if they do read bad reviews, it doesn't affect them in any way.
If this turns out to be the last Iron Maiden studio album, given that they're not getting any younger, and Nicko is nearly 70 years old, I would not exactly call it as a great way to close out a recording career, but you never know. At the time that I write this review, I would not call this one of my top picks of this year. Could that change? Absolutely. Give me some more time with this album, and my opinion on it might definitely change when it comes time to pick the best albums for this year.
Highs: "Stratego", "The Writing On The Wall" and "Hell On Earth".
Lows: Not as many memorable songs as on Book Of Souls.
| || |