You do ask yourself if there’s actually any point in reviewing an Iron Maiden album. It’s not like they need the exposure and there is very little chance of saying anything bad about it unless, of course, they decided to have a crack at metalcore or the suchlike. But then you remember that there are some things that you do out of pure pleasure and nostalgic glee. And thus, as I gaze upon a Samurai Eddie with his trademark burning eyes, I am nothing but thankful for the fact that my lifelong journey with Iron Maiden continues.
Weighing in at a colossal hour and twenty plus length, the Irons have crafted yet another epic journey of globally dynamic proportions. Their stubborn, unaltered sound shines through on belters such as ‘Stratego’, ‘Lost in a Lost World’ and the pugnacious title track opener. Of course, tempos have slowed over the years as Nicko clambers his way around the drum kit but steadfastly refuses to give up his pulsating, knife-edge grooves. Harris’ prominent bass and the everlasting triple guitar attack unleash a hedonistic, therapeutic glory that casts itself as a continuum rather than a footnote of this seminal band.
Dickinson, a man for whom half-hearted is not in the dictionary, once again stands in the midst, arms dangling as he unfurls one of his most impressive vocal onslaughts since ‘Brave New World’ (2000). And nothing screams ‘Donington’ more than the extravagant chronicle ‘Hell On Earth’ that brings this heavy metal continent to a dramatic close.
Iron Maiden are, without doubt, indestructible. What I find so reassuring is that they, unlike so many of their peers, simply sound as inspired and as excited as they did 40 years ago. Nothing about ‘Senjutsu’ is forced or out of place. It’s natural, it’s eloquent and it’s overwhelmingly Maiden.