Now in their mid 60s, the lads of Iron Maiden are still plenty heavy, but don’t always revert to patented galloping rhythms, C-D-Em progressions, and piercing vocals. Over 40 years on, this venerable metal institution is, surprisingly, evolving.
The eight-minute “Senjutsu” has a slow, progressive mood, setting up slide growls, modulated solos, and big riffs from Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers, and bassist Steve Harris.
“The Writing On the Wall” is epic metal with an Irish/Celtic vibe and scorching leads. You’ll detect Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” riff within the vamp to “Days of Future Past” – but it totally works.
If you want triumphant tones, fire up “Stratego,” which deploys more organic tube-amp flavors than that mountain of ’80s distortion. Conversely, the acoustic piezo-pickup tones in “Lost in a Lost World” are unfortunate. It’s incredulous that top studio engineers won’t mic a flat-top for superior tone – it’s not that difficult. Fortunately, “The Parchment” is redemptive, a piece of 100 percent British guitar crunch.
In all, Senjutsu is the sound of an older, wiser Iron Maiden. Grab the CD and leave it in your car for hellacious highway headbanging.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.