IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson spoke to France's La Claque FNAC about "Senjutsu", IRON MAIDEN's first album in six years, which came out on September 3. It was recorded in 2019 in Paris with longstanding producer Kevin Shirley and co-produced by bassist Steve Harris.
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.
"It's always a big thrill when you get a new IRON MAIDEN album and it comes out," Bruce said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "We thought it was a great album when we made it. But it was two and a half years ago, nearly three years ago now. So we just have to pinch ourselves and go, 'Let's just check.' It's one of my favorite albums. And after 17 albums, it's pretty cool."
Regarding the writing and recording process for "Senjutsu", Bruce said: "I would like to say that everything was very organized, but actually, we're not. We turn up and we sort of go, 'Oh, has anybody got a couple of ideas?' And Steve said, 'I've got one idea. I've got this track 'Senjutsu'. What do we think about having a Samurai Eddie?' And we were, like, 'Oh, yeah. Cool. Why haven't we done that before?' Because we had an Egyptian Eddie and we had a sci-fi Eddie and we had a Mayan Eddie. The album is like the picture that's in the frame. But just because the frame is Japanese doesn't mean every song is organized to be about Japanese themes."
"Senjutsu" bowed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, charting higher than even the band's early classics like "Powerslave" and "The Number Of The Beast". Nearly 90 percent of the LP's 64,000 equivalent album units earned came from pure album sales. The critically acclaimed double album debuted one place higher than 2015's "The Book Of Souls" and 2010's "The Final Frontier", which both peaked at No. 4.
"Senjutsu" is MAIDEN's 13th album to top in the Top 40 in the U.S.
MAIDEN's first two Paul Di'Anno-era albums, "Iron Maiden" (1980) and "Killers" (1981), as well as with those recorded with singer Blaze Bayley, "The X Factor" (1995) and "Virtual XI" (1998), all failed to dent the Top 40 in the U.S.
According to Billboard, "Senjutsu" logged the second-largest week of 2021 for a hard rock album in both equivalent album units earned and in traditional album sales. It trails only FOO FIGHTERS' "Medicine At Midnight", which debuted on the Feb. 20 chart with 70,000 units (of which 64,000 were in album sales).
"Senjutsu" topped the charts in several European countries upon its release, including in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.