On February 12, 2021, Louder published that Iron Maiden could turn 2021 into an epic year, and of the ten things that fans wanted from the band, top of the list was a new album. The article went ahead to recount how the band members had been talking of being in the studio in late 2020, working on something. By then, no one could say for certain that the band was recording their 17th album. Luckily, the fans’ requests have been heard, and Iron Maiden’s new album “Senjutsu” was announced. Here is what we know about it so far.
It Was Recorded in Guillaume Tell Studio
As early as 2019, speculations were that Iron Maiden was recording a new album in Paris. According to Arrow Lords of Metal, an Italian website was among those who fueled the speculations because, in May 2019, it reported that the band was putting some final touches on an LP. The evidence was that the band members were spotted in Paris at the same time, and since that is where they had recorded their 16th album, clues began adding up. Kevin Shirley, a music producer, being seen with the band, was confirmation that indeed Iron Maiden was up to something in Paris.
He said that he had spent three months in Paris earlier in 2019 working on an unnamed not-so-secret project that ended up with him having a loud ringing in his ears. The speculations were put to rest with the announcement of the 17th album, which Steve Harris said was recorded at the Guillaume Tell Studio. Since they had chosen the studio again for “The Book of Souls” and “Brave New Worlds,” Iron Maiden picked it again for their latest album, saying it has a relaxed vibe. Harris explained that the studio was once a cinema; therefore, it has high ceilings that facilitate great acoustic sounds. The studio recently adopted producing music in Dolby Atmos; therefore, it upgraded its 5.1 mixing room to include eight extra Genelec speakers. The 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos studio also includes two surround rear speakers, two surround speakers, four Atmos speakers, three front speakers, and two wide surround speakers that optimize transition between surround and front speakers. The sound engineer Denis Caribaux said the investment would make Guillaume Tell Studio a creative home for artists, so maybe even for their next albums, Iron Maiden will choose it again.
It Will Be Launched on September 3, 2021
The anticipation to finally get new music will end on September 3, 2021, but the band kept teasing fans about releasing an album. Adrian Smith had refused to divulge any more information regarding the project. He said it would delight their fans and added that it was worth the wait. Bruce Dickinson, on the other hand, said that the pandemic had forced them to cancel their plans to tour, but they were not idle. Despite their frustrations, Dickinson said they were putting their time to good use by doing bits of writing, but he added that he could not tell the public what it was; otherwise, his bandmates would kill him. The teasing continued, and according to Ultimate Classic Rock, Dickinson was interviewed, and he talked about Iron Maiden’s upcoming plans. He said he would not divulge anything, but the answer was right in front of Edwin McFee. Dickinson was wearing a t-shirt on which “Belshazzar’s Feast” was printed. The band teased for a while longer with graphics such as “WOTW” to mean “Writing on the Wall,” also associated with Belshazzar’s Feast.
For this reason, most people thought the upcoming album had to be titled “Belshazzar’s Feast” since a poster bearing the same print had been handed out at the 2021 Pilot Festival in June 2021. The poster also bore the date “15/7” and roman numerals “IMXVII,” which McFee suspected meant that Iron Maiden’s 17th album would be released on July 15. However, the other titles suspected to be associated with the album, such as “Live Forever,” “Heaven or Hell,” and “Man or Beast,” were to throw speculators off their game. None of the tracks have such titles. However, the only thing released on July 15, 2021, was a six-minute single, “The Writing on the Wall,” written by Smith and Dickinson and produced by Shirley and Harris. The song is in an epic animated video produced by Mark Andrews and Andrew Gordon, former Pixar executives. With the 15/7 date already covered, it became clear that fans have to wait a bit longer for the 17th album, which was confirmed would be launched on September 3, 2021. The launch makes the 17thand the 16th albums have a precise six-year gap since “The Book of Souls” was released on September 4, 2015.
It Has So Much in Common with “The Book of Souls” Album
Besides being recorded in the same studio, the 16th and 17th albums have a lot more in common. As published in We are The Pit, Harris revealed that “Senjutsu” was recorded in the same way as they did with “The Book of Souls.” He meant that they would write a song, rehearse and record it while it was still fresh on their minds which, like the previous one, will enable the songs to have a spontaneous feel. Additionally, the new album will be a double album like the 16th album, Iron Maiden’s first double album ever. Although “The Book of Souls” remains the band’s longest album to date, running for 92 minutes and 11 seconds, “Senjutsu” comes close with a runtime of 80-odd minutes. While “Senjutsu” has ten songs, “The Book of Souls” has 11 tracks which could be why it has a longer running time; the album also has “Empire of the Clouds” that remains the longest track with a running time of 18.01 minutes. Given the many similarities, we hope the new album will achieve the same success as well.