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Iron Maiden announce 17th studio album, Senjutsu, their first in six years

Iron Maiden Senjutsu
(Image credit: Iron Maiden)

British metal icons Iron Maiden will release their new double album Senjutsu this fall.

The record is the band’s 17th studio album and the announcement comes on hot on the heels of the six-minute single The Writing On The Wall, which debuted on Thursday.

Kevin Shirley has once again returned to produce on Senjutsu and, as with 2000’s Brave New World and 2015’s The Book Of Souls, the new album was recorded at Guillame Tell Studio in the suburbs of Western Paris.

“The place has such a relaxed vibe,” says Steve Harris. “The setup there is perfect for our needs; the building used to be a cinema and has a really high ceiling so there’s a great acoustic sound. We recorded this album in the same way we did The Book Of Souls in that we’d write a song, rehearse it and then put it down together straight away while it was all fresh in our minds. 

“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.”

The title reportedly translates from the original Japanese term as “tactics and strategy” and the album's cover features the band’s mascot Eddie reimagined as a samurai warrior. 

Indeed, in the video for The Writing On The Wall, Eddie takes on the samurai guise in order to battle the warped leaders of the world’s great nations, all amid a post-apocalyptic landscape (it is a Maiden video, after all). 

Guitar-wise, the tones feel rougher and rawer than recent productions, with more of an off-the-cuff live feel and a generous handful of earworm riffs.

That first single runs to over six minutes but is among the shorter tracks on the record, with most of the the albums 10 tracks clocking in at over seven minutes. 

You would be forgiven for thinking it is the inevitable result of a band with time on their hands during the live downturn of the last 18 months, but the record was actually made in early 2019.

“We recorded it during a break in the Legacy tour,” says Bruce Dickinson. “So we could maximize our touring yet still have a long set up period before release to prepare great album art and something special as a video. Of course the pandemic delayed things more - so much for the best laid plans – or should that be ‘strategies’!?  

“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!”

Senjutsu will be released on September 3, 2021 and available in a variety of formats including heavyweight vinyl and a deluxe boxset. Check out the full tracklisting and format list below.

Iron Maiden Senjutsu

(Image credit: Iron Maiden)

Senjutsu tracklist

  1. Senjutsu (8:20) - Smith/Harris
  2. Stratego (4:59) - Gers/Harris
  3. The Writing On The Wall (6:13) - Smith/Dickinson
  4. Lost In A Lost World (9:31) - Harris
  5. Days Of Future Past (4:03) - Smith/Dickinson
  6. The Time Machine (7:09) - Gers/Harris
  7. Darkest Hour (7:20) - Smith/Dickinson
  8. Death Of The Celts (10:20) - Harris
  9. The Parchment (12:39) - Harris
  10. Hell On Earth (11:19) - Harris 

Senjutsu release formats

  • Standard 2CD Digipak
  • Deluxe 2CD Book Format
  • Deluxe heavyweight 180G Triple Black Vinyl
  • Special Edition Triple Silver and Black Marble Vinyl (Selected Retailers)
  • Special Edition Triple Red and Black Marble Vinyl (Selected Retailers)
  • Super Deluxe Boxset featuring CD, Blu Ray and Exclusive Memorabilia
  • Digital album (streaming and download)
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.