In a new interview with the WGRD 97.9 radio station, IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain spoke about how he and his bandmates managed to keep the details of their new album, "Senjutsu", under wraps for more than two years after completing it in early 2019 during a break in their "Legacy Of The Beast" tour. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Basically, what happened [was] Steve [Harris, MAIDEN bassist and founder] has had the only copy that he took on his computer of the album — the finished product. That was it. There were no copies sent to anyone. There was no advance media — of course, there was no advance listenings for any of the record companies around the world. So it was all kept under wraps. I got my digital download of it from Steve three and a half months ago. Only the band — each of the members of the band — had a copy of it. Bruce [Dickinson, MAIDEN singer] had a copy earlier in the year, obviously, when Steve went over to England prior to the COVID really getting bad, Bruce did have a copy of it on his computer. But we were all sworn to absolute secrecy with it. We couldn't even tell our friends about it, like, 'Oh, we've got a new album. It's done. And this is the title of it,' and whatnot. So we had to keep it a secret. And I think we did a pretty damn good job of that."
"Senjutsu" was released on September 3 via BMG. IRON MAIDEN's first LP in six years was recorded in Paris with longstanding producer Kevin Shirley and co-produced by Harris. It was preceded in July by a highly acclaimed animated video for the first single "The Writing On The Wall" made by BlinkInk based on a concept by Dickinson with two former Pixar executives. It followed a month-long teaser campaign and global "treasure hunt" for clues about the track title and concept.
For "Senjutsu" — loosely translated as "tactics and strategy" — the band once again enlisted the services of Mark Wilkinson to create the spectacular Samurai themed cover artwork, based on an idea by Harris. With a running time of a little under 82 minutes, "Senjutsu", like their previous record "The Book Of Souls", is a double CD/triple vinyl album.
Back in May 2019, Italian web site Maiden Concerts first speculated that IRON MAIDEN was putting the finishing touches on a new album. The site concluded that the LP was nearing completion after gathering social media evidence that all six members of the band, their wives and Shirley were in Paris at the same time. The producer even posted new pictures of Guillaume Tell Studios, where MAIDEN recorded "Brave New World" (2000) and "The Book Of Souls", saying he was finalizing a major project.
During MAIDEN's summer 2019 North American tour, Dickinson hinted at new material, telling the crowd at the group's Oakland, California concert: "New IRON MAIDEN songs — sooner than you think." At MAIDEN's Nashville show in August 2019, Dickinson said that fresh music from the band wasn't "beyond the bounds of possibility," adding that a new MAIDEN record was essentially a "certainty."
"Senjutsu" marks MAIDEN's sixth album to be produced by Shirley, who has worked with MAIDEN for the past two decades.
In addition to MAIDEN, Shirley has collaborated with dozens of notable acts, including Joe Bonamassa, JOURNEY, DREAM THEATER and LED ZEPPELIN.
During the making of "The Book Of Souls", Dickinson was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor at the back of his tongue. He recorded all the vocals for the album with the tumor before undergoing treatment and making a full recovery in time for the LP's release in September 2015.