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Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier CD (album) cover

THE FINAL FRONTIER

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.67 | 297 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 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!

J-Man | 4/5 |

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