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Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.60 | 454 ratings

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4 stars Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010) * a three listens review

OK, we can conclude Iron Maiden has yet one more suprise for us. The Final Frontier is an album that can be mentioned in one sentence with the great Brave New World! This new album, with 76 minutes of new material, is in my opinion a balanced effort. The band has to manouver to keep the fans happy (by not being to progressive) whilst still making new music with bass-player and main composer putting his progressive stamp on the new material. The Final Frontier succeeds in being both a catchy and accessible album with enough moments to make it interesting for fans of the progressive metal genre.

Having that said, the album is not a flawless masterpiece. The album has two main problems for me. Iron Maiden still is kind of stuck in accesible song-writing with recognisable melodic parts to assure a safe song-progression for the normal metal-fans. Somehow the strength lies in how Iron Maiden manages to progress within their format. The second problem is the lesser song, the title track, The Final Frontier. The first five opening minutes, Satellite 15.., consist of progressive/space metal with an totally un-Maiden like approach. I love it! But right after that starts the poppy Final Frontier three chord song. I see no reason why these two opposite tracks were presented as one song.

There are some truly progressive moments on this album. The first halve of the opening track Satellite 15.... The Final Frontier is already mentioned, but there so much more! El Dorado has an very urgent sounding bridge, Mother of Mercy has inventive melodic song-writing and Coming Home and the Alchemist show great use of three-guitar melodies. The real treasure lies however in the longer tracks of the second halve of the album.

The last five tracks on the album are all longer that eight minutes! (Starblind is actually 7:48). All tracks have a story-line, as can be expected on an Iron Maiden epic.

Isle of Avalon is a real winner with a lot of atmospheric/progressive parts. The opening secton reminds me a bit of the dark chants of The Seventh Son of Seventh Son epic. The epic has many solo parts and a long section in 7/8! Whowh Iron Maiden.. they play prog! One solo section even sounds a bit like UK-era Allan Holdsworth.

Starblind is less good, but also an interesting epic. It suffers a bit from ordinary harmonics. Some riffs are however extremely catchy and the song remains good.

The Talisman is proggier and has a beautifull clean-guitar intro. The main heavy metal riff of the couplet theme has a nice dark twist. The melodic guitar-metal approach works really well on all parts here and the guitar solo's/themes are slightly progressive.

The Man Who Would be King is another winner. The opening section is quiet, reminding me abit of some X-factor moments. The progression of the song is strong, with great heavy metal riffs and intensive emotional moments. The extremely melodic un-Maiden like solo section in the middle is my favorite moment of the album. Truly progressive and very modern in a good sense.

When the Wild Wind Blows is the longest track of the album, running for eleven minutes. This is perhaps the most melodic epic of the album, but perhaps not (yet) my favorite. The harmonic normalities are the main problem, but the progression and melodic approach is still very strong.

Conclusion. The Irons are back with a very good album, actually with 76 minutes it can almost count for two albums! The first halve has great Maiden'ish songs with often catchy parts, great riffs and some progressive moments along the way. The second part is an epical, prententious (in a good sense) tour de force with FIVE EPICS IN A ROW. Satellite 15, Isle of Avalon and The Man Who Would be King are perhaps the biggest successes of this album, whilst the second halve of the opening track is perhaps the weakest part. All other parts fall between good and excellent. Four stars. Perhaps even more if my vinyl addition (which I havenīt ordered yet) has had five spins.

p.s. Itīs amazing how THE band of my youth can still suprise me after such an intensive progressive journey Iīve been through the last years.

friso | 4/5 |


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