Rating:
7.2
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
16 August 2010


01. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
02. El Dorado
03. Mother Of Mercy
04. Coming Home
05. The Alchemist
06. Isle Of Avalon
07. Starblind
08. The Talisman
09. The Man Who Would Be King
10. When The Wild Wind Blows


Iron Maiden have had ups and downs, but they consistently stuck to their unique style. 2006's A Matter of Life and Death saw a serious departure from that style towards a darker, more progressive sound - it was only a partial success. Unfortunately, Steve Harris and Co. felt encouraged, and decided to go further in their departures. The first 4 songs on The Final Frontier rank among the worst this band has ever committed and most of the time sound nothing like the Iron Maiden everyone knows. Departure from style my ass. If they wanted to depart again, the previous album was the way to do it.

'Sounds like shit' - this was my first thought when I heard the longish introduction to the album. "Satellite 15..." is so unlike anything that Iron Maiden have ever recorded. A crude, repeating drum pattern, distorted, spacy sounds, drunken guitars that go nowhere. Even the vocals, when they enter, sound strange. Not only does that intro suck, but it also sounds really weird. Fortunately, the song changes radically after 4 minutes into a remote semblance of a good song.

'What the hell have they done to Iron Maiden?' - that was my second thought. The opening tracks are decent enough for thousands of obscure bands who would be proud to have recorded them, but for Iron Maiden standards, they are sodding poor, and I mean really poor. "The Apparition" poor. "The Final Frontier" isn't utterly abysmal - resurrecting the spirit of the 70's metal, with a catchy chorus, it is remotely palatable. But to balance it, "Coming Home" is an Iron Maiden fan nightmare, sounding like it was recorded during the Fear of the Dark session, which, in my opinion, is the worst Iron Maiden album, with only 2 good songs.

The next six tracks brought back some of my faith in Iron Maiden. Long songs, catchy choruses, melodic solos, everything is seemingly in place. Seemingly - Maiden fans can at last feel at home, and utter a sigh of relief, because there will be no more experiments until the end of the album, at least not as blatantly obvious ones as the intro. But what follows isn't top-notch Maiden, it's mid-range most of the time. Solos aren't too memorable, vocal lines aren't too melodic, riffs don't stick in my head.

Only the last song, "When the Wild Wind Blows," can be honestly called excellent. The riffs supported by simple, but powerful drumming somewhere in the 7th minute of the song - in that solitary moment Maiden sounds really classy. The song isn't quite as good as Maiden's best classic tracks, but it's on a par with the good songs from the later period. Maybe the leading vocal theme sounds too joyful and optimistic, in spite of telling a grim tale, but the song is deliciously complex and rich, a real treat to end this album.

Having died during the first 4 abysmal songs, I was partially resurrected by some good ones that followed, of which, sadly, only one is brilliant. The Final Frontier clocks in at over 76 minutes, and most of these minutes are well spent, assuming you have a pair of paddles handy to shock you back to life after the cardiac arrest that you will undergo at the onset of this album. Better yet, start listening from "The Alchemist." You should be at least partially satisfied.
How do I rank this? I could try to turn a blind eye on the beginning of The Final Frontier. But 4 terrible songs out of 10 is quite a lot. Sorry guys, not this time around. I can't ignore 40% of the album. 1 point up for the last track.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 6


Band profile: Iron Maiden
Album: The Final Frontier


 


written by Daniell | 16.08.2010

Guest review by
Death To Posers

Rating:
9.5
It seems like it's become trendy to dislike any music that becomes even somewhat mainstream. I am by no means bitter; I'm guilty of this prejudice quite often. So, when I saw the album votes go the way they did for The Final Frontier I wasn't shocked. But, in all honesty, I thought this album was pretty hard! This is one of Maiden's most successful albums to date and for a damn good reason. While it does sound different from anything they've done before, that doesn't make it worse. Do you really want three albums that sound exactly like Brave New World?

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published 18.01.2011 | Comments (46)



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Void Eater - 26.12.2011 at 01:32  
This is probably my favorite post Seventh Son album... A lot of the riffs remind me of their old days, but with the extended songwriting of their current albums-Kinda like Brave New World, but the shorter songs on that album were pretty dull, while the ones here are much better. Isle Of Avalon and Where The Wild Wind Blow could use some trimming, and the intro is a complete waste of time, but it's still pretty good.
Milena - 26.12.2011 at 02:39  
Written by RavenKing on 26.12.2011 at 01:07

Unfortunately, metal and idiocy often walk hand in hand.

Idiocy walks hand in hand with everything

Written by Void Eater on 26.12.2011 at 01:32

...could use some trimming... but it's still pretty good.

You can see by the comments all over that it's pretty much just the opinion of us fans
Troy Killjoy - 26.12.2011 at 05:06  
Written by Milena on 26.12.2011 at 02:39
...

I was gonna start a long-winded response, but RK said everything I wanted to.
Dark Cornatus - 04.05.2012 at 12:34  
I am ashamed to say, that i just realised i haven't even listened to the album before just now (i've had it for a year or so haha). So far i'm liking it more than AMOLAD, but not the other two post reunion albums. AMOLAD was so damn repetitive and Bruce's voice was so horrible. Most songs were decent, but nothing great besides 'For the greater good of God' maybe.

I agree with one point most people say though. The songs just drag on A LOT in places.

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