Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Parlophone, 2021)

Karakter: 5.5/6

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu.jpgIt is safe to say that whenever the legendary heavy metal trailblazers Iron Maiden release a new record, it turns into an event and one that is obviously of great significance and value to those of us who love and cherish the group and consider them one of the most important bands of all time regardless of genre. Having been shrouded in secrecy for quite a while but with a few clues having been planted here and there to alert the hardcore fans out there that something was about to be unveiled soon, "Senjutsu" is the latest LP by the pioneers and there is nothing even remotely ordinary or pedestrian about this deftly executed piece of work.

With its truly muscular and dark riffs, the title track is just to die for, and Bruce's vocals are magnificent and add an emotive quality to the composition that makes it a flawless epic. It also happens to be one of the catchiest tunes along with album closer "Hell on Earth", and its slightly ominous vibe works like a charm. The disc boasts a powerful production with a balanced mix and all the shades, nuances, layers, and textures that one would expect from an Iron Maiden album are very much present here. The galloping and infectious "Stratego" recalls "Speed of Light" from the previous album while "Lost in a Lost World" is hauntingly beautiful and an inspired track. In some ways, "Senjutsu" is akin to an invigorating blend of "A Matter of Life and Death" (2006) and "The Book of Souls" (2015) in that it is relatively similar to both of them in terms of style, tone, and structure but without being as prog-influenced as the former and arguably not as musically adventurous or majestic as the latter. However, it is more accessible and instantly appealing than both of them. I do think that its aura is a tad bleaker compared to some of their other works in the 21st century and that there is a more prominent tinge of melancholy to Maiden's music anno 2021, which might be one of the reasons why I find "Darkest Hour" and "Death of the Celts" to be so moving and heartfelt. Actually, the latter is not that far removed from the classic "The Clansman" in terms of atmosphere and melody. Perhaps my personal favorite is the cinematically grand "The Time Machine" but picking one is not exactly easy with so much quality stuff to choose from. I should probably also point out that the record is as lyrically accomplished and impressive as it is musically, but that is hardly surprising, is it?

As tempting as it is to provide the awesome readers out there with a thorough analysis of the song material simply because I am so passionate about this stellar opus, I shall refrain from doing so as you need to approach the offering with an open mind and simply experience it yourself. These gentlemen clearly still possess the creative spark and the ability to churn out material that never really loses any momentum, and this 10-song effort is a most worthy addition to their discography. 82 splendid minutes of metal bliss await you!


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