BMG will release IRON MAIDEN's 17th studio album, "Senjutsu", the band's first in six years, on September 3. It was recorded in Paris with longstanding producer Kevin Shirley and co-produced by Steve Harris. It was preceded on July 15 by an already highly acclaimed animated video for the first single "The Writing On The Wall" made by BlinkInk based on a concept by singer Bruce 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.
A new three-minute video in which Shirley, Harris and Dickinson discuss the making of "Senjutsu" can be seen below.
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 bassist Steve Harris. With a running time of a little under 82 minutes, "Senjutsu", like their previous record "The Book Of Souls", will be a double CD/Triple vinyl album.
Steve said: "We chose to record at Guillaume Tell Studio in France again as the place has such a relaxed vibe. 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."
Dickinson added: "We're all really excited about this album. We recorded it back in early 2019 during a break in the 'Legacy' tour 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!"
The full track listing is:
01. Senjutsu (8:20) (Smith/Harris)
02. Stratego (4:59) (Gers/Harris)
03. The Writing On The Wall (6:13) (Smith/Dickinson)
04. Lost In A Lost World (9:31) (Harris)
05. Days Of Future Past (4:03) (Smith/Dickinson)
06. The Time Machine (7:09) (Gers/Harris)
07. Darkest Hour (7:20) (Smith/Dickinson)
08. Death Of The Celts (10:20) (Harris)
09. The Parchment (12:39) (Harris)
10. Hell On Earth (11:19) (Harris)
"Senjutsu" will be released on the following formats:
* Standard 2CD Digipak
* Deluxe 2CD Book Format
* Deluxe heavyweight 180G Triple Black Vinyl
* Special Edition Triple Silver And Black Marble Vinyl (Details to follow)
* Special Edition Triple Red and Black Marble Vinyl (Details to follow)
* Super Deluxe Boxset featuring CD, Blu Ray and Exclusive Memorabilia
* Digital album [streaming and download]
IRON MAIDEN hadn't released any fresh music since 2015's "The Book Of Souls" LP, which was recorded in late 2014 in Paris, France with Shirley.
"The Book Of Souls" was the longest MAIDEN album, clocking in at 92 minutes, with lyrics heavily based in the themes of death, reincarnation, the soul and mortality.
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.