Iron Maiden review: Band finds an eastern muse on ‘Senjutsu’

“Senjutsu,” Iron Maiden (BMG)

Iron Maiden is not a band for those with short attention spans.

Since blasting out of England in the late ‘70s in what would become known as the new wave of British metal, Iron Maiden has never been one to give record companies the kind of three-minute anthems they craved.

Instead, they wrote and played (and played some more) until they were good and satisfied, and the result was often an epic track of 8-10 minutes or more, completely exploring a topic or idea until no stone was left unturned.

That is particularly the case on their 17th studio album, “Senjutsu,” which translates from Japanese as “strategy and tactics.” It deals with Iron Maiden’s obsession with war and battle, from the title track to “Darkest Hour,” an ode to Winston Churchill’s perseverance during World War II.

This cover image released by BMG/Parlophone Records shows “Senjutsu,” a release by Iron Maiden.

This cover image released by BMG/Parlophone Records shows “Senjutsu,” a release by Iron Maiden.

The album’s 10 tracks average eight minutes apiece, and the final three last for a combined 34 minutes.

Give singer Bruce Dickinson and Co. props for sticking to their musical guns and writing a song to be as long as it needs to be. As far back as the mid 1980s, they were breaking these barriers with tracks like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” which clocked in at nearly 14 minutes.

The guitar trio of Dave Murray, Janick Gers and Adrian Smith bring an unparalleled level of firepower to each track, and the duo of bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain has long been among the best in metal.

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