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Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier

You really can't dispute the significant role Iron Maiden have had in the world of heavy metal, as one of the most successful bands ever with a massive following. At this point in their career I wasn't expecting to experience Maiden's best ever release, of which their 15th album The Final Frontier isnt, but I would have no complaints if they do keep on going and releasing albums of this quality. This is an easy one to like and more consistent than their last two, although for many The Final Frontier could take additional playtime to appreciate, unlike many previous albums all the gems don't surface straight away. But it's not totally different as this newest Iron Maiden album still has those Maiden familiarities like Nicko McBrain's drum fills, Steve Harris and his galloping bass, prominent guitar playing from their three players, song titles starting with 'The' and of course Bruce Dickinson. Fans of Maiden's more epic songs will be impressed as many of The Final Frontier's tracks have quite lengthy durations.

But it's not all familiar as The Final Frontier does have some differences, before the vocals of one Bruce Dickinson cut in on "Satellite 15.The Final Frontier" you would be hard pressed to identify who the band playing actually is, as Iron Maiden are experimenting much more and this certainly isn't your normal Maiden introduction. "Satellite 15.The Final Frontier" does go down a more familiar rocking Maiden road as it progresses, my only gripe is that this doesn't eventuate until over halfway through and maybe they should have made it sooner. The lyrics tell of one lost in space and drifting off course getting close to the sun, trying to communicate with those back home while there is still time but to no avail.

The track that gave us the first taste of this new album, "El Dorado", is one of the more traditional Maiden style of heavy and upbeat catchy numbers as are "The Alchemist" and "The Talisman". "Mother Of Mercy" builds into a powerful song with a thumping beat thanks to combo of Steve and Nicko. I really like "Coming Home", a ballad like track which alters in intensity and complemented by a great solo section, and "Isle Of Avalon" is another very impressive song thanks to some wonderful music. "Starblind" wasn't a favorite after multiple listens but that may still change over time, and "The Man Who Would Be King" has some more great music thanks to their very able guitarists. The Final Frontier has many lengthy songs and one of the best, "When The Wild Wind Blows", is also the longest at eleven minutes, based on the post nuclear fallout graphic novel by author Raymond Briggs. It's these kinds of epic songs that Maiden excels at, and once again they have on The Final Frontier.

Could The Final Frontier be the final studio release we get from Iron Maiden, after so many great ones? It's hard not to read into the album title, anyway I suppose we will just have to wait and see. If this is to be the finale of which I have my doubts then The Final Frontier is a top album to go out with, showing that Iron Maiden are still in very good form.


Track List:
1. Satellite 15.The Final Frontier
2. El Dorado
3. Mother Of Mercy
4. Coming Home
5. The Alchemist
6. Isle Of Avalon
7. Starblind
8. The Talisman
9. The Man Who Would Be King
10. When The Wild Wind Blows

Added: December 20th 2010
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2500
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-20 14:04:17
My Score:

Coming Home

Since the return of Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson in 1999, Iron Maiden has constantly been pumping out high-quality heavy metal albums that rival their classics in the eighties. A Matter of Life and Death was one of my favorite Maiden albums of all time, so I was naturally curious to hear how they would follow up such a masterpiece. Although The Final Frontier isn't quite up there with the band's finest efforts, this is still another amazing album by the legends of British heavy metal. This has everything that's great about Iron Maiden in a nutshell - galloping basslines, progressive epics, and breathtaking vocals. If you're new to Maiden, I don't recommend starting here, but this is essential for anyone who's a more seasoned listener. Let's hope this isn't the final frontier for these guys - they can still wipe the floor with the competition! Up the Irons!

The music on The Final Frontier is unquestionably Iron Maiden. If you enjoyed the epic song structures and heavy production on A Matter of Life and Death, you should love everything about Iron Maiden's fifteenth full-length. This album is filled to the brim with progressive heavy metal epics. The second half of the album really bombards you with epic after epic - only one of the five songs is under 8 minutes. There are still some traditional Maiden anthems like "El Dorado" or the emotional "Coming Home", but it's safe to say that the vast majority of this album is the most progressive stuff Steve Harris & co. have ever written. Just listen to a song like "The Man Who Would Be King", the acoustic guitar in "When the Wild Wind Blows", or the instrumental break in "Isle of Avalon" and you'll know what I mean. There's even an atmospheric/industrial opening to "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier". If you've disliked the direction Iron Maiden has been pursuing, there's no doubt you'll dislike everything about these songs. But if you're someone like me who loves recent Maiden music, there's definitely a lot to love on this 77 minute album. Although the running time can seem a bit daunting at times, there's enough variation to eliminate that "samey feeling" that usually comes along with a near 80-minute album.

One thing that's obvious about any Iron Maiden release is that you're guaranteed to hear some of the best musicians in the industry. Whether it be the prominence of Steve Harris's bass playing, the multilayered guitar harmonies from Janick Gers, Adrian Smith, and Dave Murray, the amazing drumming from Nicko McBrain, or the iconic vocals of Bruce Dickinson, everything about the delivery of The Final Frontier is perfect. The production is also really sharp and enjoyable. The sound is almost identical to that on A Matter of Life and Death, which is always a good thing. Iron Maiden has always been known for their terrific production, and The Final Frontier is no exception.

Conclusion:

The Final Frontier is yet another shining success in a discography filled with gems. Although this isn't the best album from post-2000 Iron Maiden, it's proof that they can still create amazing music. Until this Maiden lineup ceases to exist, I have a feeling that they will keep making great heavy metal. 4 stars are well deserved for The Final Frontier. Although this isn't essential for any Maiden newbies, any fan of the band should definitely pick this up. UP THE IRONS!

Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-10-25 06:25:24
My Score:

I have delayed writing the review of this disc as with each listen to it I am more impressed by what the band is doing. Taking everything that Iron Maiden has produced over the years The Final Frontier is a fine testament to the different styles they have employed throughout their career.

There is the fist pumping anthems as in the title track "The Final Frontier", "The Alchemist" and the only song they played live on the American tour to promote the release of this disc, "El Dorado". Both will take you back to the early days where the band they rode the crest of the NWOBHM.

For those that like the epic grandiose style that came later for the band you have the monstrous "Coming Home" the slow building terrific "Isle Of Avalon" "The Talisman" and the powerful "Starblind".

The fans of the newer version of the band that added more prog oriented sound to the mix will get their fix with "Mother Of Mercy", "The Man Who Would Be King" and their almost 11 minute opus "When The Wild Wind Blows".

I hope unintentionally, the band seems to be giving a gift to all the fans that have been there for all the years. I say that because it almost feels like they are saying good-by which would be a terrible shame. As this disc proves they still have what it takes and I hope they give us more of this kind of stuff in the near future. This has been a favorite disc since I purchased it and I don't see that stopping as it is filled with all the things that have made Iron Maiden one of the names synonyms with heavy metal. This is one of those do yourself a favor moments when I say go get this disc for one of the best heavy metal albums period.

I bought the deluxe edition that includes access to an Iron Maiden game and interview with the band along with assorted photos. Well the interview was interesting, I have played the game a total of once and the photos are just more pics of the band. In other words, don't bother with this version. I am sure the interview will be available on You Tube by the time you read this and it is the only interesting part of the extras.

Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-22 08:56:41
My Score:

Each new Iron Maiden album is always a reason to celebrate, and always gets more discussion from metal fans as to the pros and cons of each release. You have in one corner the Maiden fan from the classic 80's era, who still follows the band but really don't like anything they've done since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. These fans probably wish that the band would just re-record albums like Powerslave and Piece of Mind over and over again, and refuse to move on to anything new. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have those fans that have embraced the bands more epic, progressive statements since they have re-united with the Brave New World album some years ago. If you are the former, you'll no doubt have many problems with their latest release The Final Frontier, as there are plenty of long, epic tracks here with extended instrumental breaks and intros for you to have issue with. The band also is not much into writing 'metal anthems' anymore, though parts of "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" and certainly "El Dorado' are the closest you are going to get to fist pumping anthems on this one.

Fans of Iron Maiden's more experimental recent material should once again have a field day with The Final Frontier. This is classy, epic sounding metal with a progressive edge, and fits in right alongside Brave New World, Dance of Death, and A Matter of Life and Death, their previous albums released this decade since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to the fold.

Speaking of Dickinson, he's more of a master storyteller here than a screamer, telling the tales of war on "Mother of Mercy", flipping back and forth between poignant passages and more high pitched wails on the melodic "Coming Home", and snarling with a vengeance on "The Alchemist", one of the more fast paced numbers on the album.

The second half of The Final Frontier is where all the epics hit you one after another, starting off with the extended intro of "Isle of Avalon", which takes over 3-minutes before the crunchy metal really kicks in. Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers offer up plenty of tasty leads and heavy riffs throughout, especially on "Starblind", "The Talisman", "The Man Who Would Be King", and the 11-minute closer "When the Wind Blows". Bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain contribute mightily with their galloping rhythms, as the duo more than do their share to help make 'the Iron Maiden sound' .

Overall, The Final Frontier is an adventurous listen, and not an album that will fully sink on over a few spins. As with many of their recent releases, this CD is one that will open itself up to you over time and reveal all its riches. Thought it might be too long and epic for those wanting The Number of the Beast Part II, if you can accept that this is the type of material the band wants to produce these days, and give it a chance, you'll find that The Final Frontier has a lot to offer, and the rewards will begin to come after you spend some time with it.


» Reader Comments:

Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier
Posted by ??? on 2010-08-17 14:44:36
My Score:

Anybody who ordered the vinyl should know that it has been slightly delayed. That way you might be impatient and buy it 2x's. My suggestion, cancel the order and download it. Heeeere piggy,piggy, piggy!!!




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