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THE FINAL FRONTIER

Iron Maiden

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4 stars Maybe the best Maiden since the 80s

This is a great album. The tracks have a proggy feel to them and Bruce sounds great. Theres a lot of memorable solos and such. The only problem I have is some of the songs can drag, and the first 2 song are not very good, But other than that an amazing album. This album also feels like classic maiden but moves forward at the same time. I don't think it will be for everyone, but if you remember its not the 80s anymore and Maiden is diffrent then you'll be fine. I give this album a 4.5 out of 5.

Report this review (#294088)
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
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 haven´t ordered yet) has had five spins.

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

Report this review (#294123)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010)

Overall Rating: 6

Best Song: THE TROOPER (because it's not on here)

Oh, I wasn't talking about Iron Maiden, screw Iron Maiden. I was actually talking about Judas Priest, see, on account of how they used to be so mighty, but Nostradamus was utter garbage. Iron Maiden never were mighty, just pretty good. Heck, son, Iron Maiden has pretty much consistently been decent, with a few dips, twists, twirls, and shimmies, here or there. But now, oh god, now they're OLD, and nobody wants to listen to old man music. That is especially true when said old men want to sound as young as they can, and it's sad because you know deep down in their hearts they are trying, practically begging you to not put them in a nursing home and looking up at you with their puppy-dog eyes, but you know they smell rotten and the kids complain and what with the economy these days...

Iron Maiden is old, and argue the necessity of the elderly all you wish, I don't need them giving me any friggin' stickers or their ugliness when I walk in to my local Wal-Mart. What I need, is elderly gymnastics. Broken hips are so funny. So yeah, who needs a new Iron Maiden in 2010? No one. This is some inoffensive bilge. It's got the trademarks of dem boys, like stupid 'war' lyrics, Cockinson's air raid sirene, and the mashy-rashy heavy trot. It's got the personality in spades, but ya know, like, the songs themselves are really really bad. Have you ever heard a smashing, superb metal album with unique riffs, a singer who's got it 'going on', and a rhythm section that blows your mind? Yep, this album don't got none of that.

Iron Maiden's eagle is on automaton autopilot. Come on, man, no one needs this. The old farts will be content with their Number of the Beast, the proggers will be content smelling their own bodily fluids, and the young 'uns have their Lamb of God or whatever. It'd be worlds different if the songs were memorable, hard hitting, ferocious, or not boring, but no, we got nothing but generic (and oh god that word applies more than it ever should) rock/metal tunes with no soul or energy. Oh, the CD is over 70 minutes long, too. Makes me weep.

Why the hell?! why the hell did they need so much material? Those arrogant pricks! They know this isn't any good, but they shove as much of it down our throats as possible, just to make money. It's not fair! Don't they know I have to give my useless opinion on it?! Urgh, it makes me so angry! Plus, these other critics, giving it these reviews. Here, let me offer some insight into my rage:

"It's beautifully paced and disarmingly complex. It's a fresh take on a sound that has admirably withstood three decades of fashions and fads" - Classic Rock Magazine

"Only Iron Maiden know if this is their last hurrah, but if it is, they're going out the same way they came in: fearless, adventurous, and with a record that will still bowl you over in a decade's time." - Kerrang

Are these guys high on crack cocaine? Are we listening to the same record? What is wrong with humanity? Please lord, bring forth nuclear holocaust, please oh please Shiva, eliminate us from our delirious woes and trivialities! I beseech thee! Really, it's more like:

"It's an ugly mess of of complex tunes that got no energy or melody. It's a hideous take on their repetitive sound, and I don't know why they haven't died yet. Only Iron Maiden knows if this will be their last soulless cash-in, but if it is (please!) they're going out the same way they came in: as a group of folks with no real songwriting abilities, and merely trying to make some money to uphold their hardcore drug habits." - Some silly magazine

Hopefully this put everyone on the same page. This isn't a bad record, this is a boring record. It's so boring, I can't emotionally handle it, and the fact that they just friggin' had to put so much material on it is punishing. The guitars don't even screech and wail, no more! Dickinson's singing has died off and he sounds like he's singing from behind an oxygen mask. I can only say that at the very least, all the standard modes of Maiden are present, but I almost pity them, pondering on their lives and all the hardships they had to endure. Then I remember that they're Iron Maiden, and probably have lots more money than me, so screw them. This is just another lifeless album from old men who don't know when to quit torturing the younger, better generations. Someone put them in a nursing home!

**

Report this review (#294342)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Less Richard Wagner, more Ludwig van Beethoven.

That is my conclusion after listening to this album for around eight times. Gone is the crushing heaviness from the Wagnerian albums Piece Of Mind and Powerslave. The new Iron Maiden sound is Beethoven like in it's virtuosity and musicality. This is amply demonstrated on The Final Frontier. An album rumored to be their final album. I sincerely hope this is not true. They are currently touring this planet with songs from post 2000 and a couple of old times classics like Hallowed Be Thy Name, their best ever song. This tour is not a greatest hits tour. But still, they get raving reviews everywhere they go. Iron Maiden is as we speak on top form and has never ever been so popular. The Final Frontier reflects this.

After the opening salvo which is unknown Iron Maiden terrain (as usual on an Iron Maiden album), we comes straight onto the well known Iron Maiden landscape with the title track. From there on, Iron Maiden impresses with innovative writing within the well known Iron Maiden formula. A formula this album never leaves. But still, their material feels fresh and very relevant.

Style wise, I would put this album somewhere between Brave New World and Dance Of Death. It is not as Wagnerian and claustrophobic introspective as A Matter Of Life And Death. The Final Frontier can safely be mentioned alongside the three above mentioned albums. Both quality wise and genre wise.

One of the first things that strikes me is that Bruce Dickinson has finally found his voice. His singing is brilliant and utterly brilliant. The rest of the band also does a cracking good job. It is easy to ignore them though because we have become so used to their high standard. It is easy to forget that they are on a standard most other bands has no chance whatsoever to reach. Both live and in the studio. Three guitars is most definitely not one cook too many in the kitchen. I find that remarkable. The Final Frontier has a lot of different guitar voices too. I suspect the interloper Janick Gers to be one of the brains behind this experimentation. If that is the case, I hereby withdraw my long held beliefs that he should not be an Iron Maiden member. The mix of both new and old guitar sound on most songs here is simply excellent and something I did not expect from a 30 years old band. Iron Maiden is still an innovative band in many ways (as they were in 1980) and The Final Frontier proves that.

The songs......... Well, there are in my view ten excellent songs here. They works on different levels though. The rather fast and heavy El Dorado works on a different level than the epic prog rocker When The Wild Wind Blows. But both songs are great songs. Isle Of Avalon proves that Iron Maiden is renewing themselves, thirty years after their debut album. Mother Of Mercy is a homage to the Iron Maiden legacy. Coming Home is about Bruce Dickinson's other passion and daytime job; flying commercial airplanes. A great ballad, btw. My favorite song ? I have only been listening to this album eight times and it is a bit early to find my song here. All the ten songs here are excellent. I have yet to find a killer track though. Hence my four stars.

The Final Frontier is just a brilliant album throughout and it has no weak points whatsoever. The Final Frontier just cement Iron Maiden's position as one of the best ever music ensembles to have graced this planet. I hereby recommend this album to every member of this community and to everyone else.

4 stars

Report this review (#294574)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've put off passing judgement on this all day its taken me three listens to be sure about it!

Firstly this album is definitely a grower! It's very different (the 2nd half is at least) from anything Maiden have done previously. It's very musically diverse and you can really hear the prog inclinations of the band members shining through. It doesn't really sound like a maiden album at first, but after a while you do begin to feel whatever that thing that is intrinsically Iron Maiden is present! The other thing that really struck me about this was Bruce Dickinson's voice, he uses parts of his range that we have seldom heard from him previously. He can still hit those high notes but he has started to sing lower and although not as powerful, sounds very beautiful almost Peter Gabriel-esque when sings softly (Coming Home, The Talisman, When the Wild Wind Blows).

Satellite 15 the final frontier: A song of two halves! Soon as the track starts you bombarded with the heavy drums, (computer, but it sounds great) it really gives the feel of being lost in space which is the narritive of the track. It sounds stunning, it's proggy, which makes it all the more disappointing when the second half kicks i which is just a simple hard rock song. Don't get me wrong liked the signal version of this (which is just the 2nd half), it's accessible, catchy chorus it just too incongruous with the first part for me.

El Dorado: Quite a rocky track, I'm sire most people have heard the free download from the maiden site. I can tell you this works very well live!

Mother of Mercy: Dark, melodic, dripping with menace, I love it! For me one of the albums stronger tracks the three pronged assault form Smith, Gers and Murray is something special.

Coming Home: This is almost definitely Bruce's song, it has the feel of something from his solo stuff, and the aircraft references in the lyrics tend too suggest he wrote them.

The Alchemist: I feel this could become a modern live classic, it sounds like to 'Aces High' with a darker tint. Maiden do sometimes re-use old riffs and song structures and inject new life into them which is what they've done here.

Isle of Avalon: From here on out it is a step into unknown for Maiden, the songs are much longer than you would generally associate with them and it is proper prog metal! There's time changes, three part harmonies between the guitarists, long prog rock style instrumental passages, you really feel they pushed themselves with this.

Starblind: Very easy on the ear, even when the riffing does kick in! Again sporting progressive hallmarks such as shifting time signatures frequently.

The Talisman: I love this! Very reminiscent of 'The Legacy' from the previous album. Bruce is fantastic on this, he starts of singing his eerie low and gentle voice and from the then he really goes for it, stretching his vocal chords to the limit. Instrumentally this is spectacular also, blues inspired lead guitar (I suspect this is Adrian Smith), there is an awful lot going on in this song just listen to it!

The Man who would be King: This is great! It actually reminds me of Dream Theater (particualrly the Octarvarium album), theres a wonderful little instrumental passgae at around 4.00 minutes

When the Wild Wind Blows : The only Harris solo composition on the album, those familiar with Maiden will be expectant. I'm delighted to say it doesn't disappoint, don't judge it on the first listen I took me three, but I think it's probably my favourite track. There's a divine intro/outro, Bruce singing softly, clean guitar sound and in the song itself there is some very memorable riffs and solos-enjoy! Steve Harris take a bow.

On a personal note, I love how Iron Maiden, one of my first musical loves, have become a lot more progressive in recent times much as my own tastes have! I give it 4.5/5.

Report this review (#294857)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first listened to this album I was not impressed, but after a few good spins it has grown on me. Now personally I did not like A Matter of Life and Death and thought it was their worst Bruce album and their 2nd worse album only to Virtual XI so this album had a lot to prove to me.

The song starts out with Satellite 15 which is a shocker because it is so different than the maiden I am used to. Then it goes into The Final Frontier which is more of what I expected, and well I wish there was more surprises like Satellite 15. This bring in one of my problems with this album. While I like the album as a whole, it seems Iron Maiden has changed their style to be more proggy but at the same time not having the complexity of other prog metal bands. It's not a bad thing really, I just needed to just focus on what this is, a Iron Maiden album and a good one at that.

But more on the album, the album is very good for a maiden album. It has some interesting solos, and overall a good selection of songs. While the album is a very long one, it doesn't feel like they are just throwing in songs to make the album longer, each song feels like it should be there and overall is a hell of a lot better than Dance of Death and A Matter of Life and Death. I will even say this album is their best since Brave New World, or even Seventh Son.

Report this review (#296016)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Overall feel after 4 listens: the best LP with the 3 guitarists. Excellent production resulting in a very cohesive sound but at the same a rich record with plenty of twists and turns. Tempo changes, melodic incursions and varied vocalizations bring up a record that's quite pleasant to listen throughout; you never know were each song will lead you.

Personally, "A Matter of Life and Death" was a bit of a disappointment, while continuing the trend towards more complex compositions it had some songs that drag for too long without adding much of new, respecting some well defined formulas. Simply put, it was a record that was hard to listen from start to finish. "The Final Frontier", though longer, completely deals away with this problem, presenting a varied menu that slowly builds into a strong set. This is partly due to a clever track disposition, where shorter songs lead the way to the core of the LP in its later stages.

In terms of composition the band went through paths that were somewhat trailed previously with songs like "Lord Of Light". There are several moments where this record would easily pass for someone else's LP, weren't it for Dickinson's distinctive vocals. The minimal clean melodies that were the hallmark of the Gers/Harris years are almost completely absent, with Smith bringing different guitar work more reliant on complex riffs. Beyond that there's an overall "tranquillity" to this LP that is both unusual and pleasant; while previous records often transmitted moments of anxiety, in "The Final Frontier" each song has plenty of room to grow and transit from the introspective to the cavalcade and back, each tempo twist fells smooth and timely.

So far no real weak songs to point out; yes, even the overture is worthy with its completely un-Maidenesque intro. "Starblind" and "The Man Who Would Be King" are the highlights, where the band adventures further way for its traditional formulas.

On the negative side, this LP may have little to offer to old time fans waiting for 4 minutes sing-a-long mini-symph songs. But that's a characteristic of progressive music, it progresses.

More after a few more listens.

Report this review (#296887)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Is it really ten years since Bruce Dickinson returned to Iron Maiden on their Brave New World album? How time flies. The last couple of albums to feature Dickinson before his departure had been somewhat lack-lustre as were the two in the Blaze Bailey years. Since then Iron Maiden returned to some sort of form with three good solid releases but with The Final Frontier they've not only topped them all by a considerable margin but have made their finest record since at least Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. It may be no coincidence that it was one of their most prog orientated albums as The Final Frontier can claim that distinction too.

Iron Maiden have never been afraid to include long songs on their albums but here there's no less than five that cross the eight minute barrier including the closing When The Wild Wind Blows which reaches eleven. Of course long songs alone don't make it prog but here Maiden are at their most inventive and least predictable for some considerable time with a collection of imaginative metal that frequently shifts from subtle restraint to powerhouse riffing in an instant with many twists and turns between. The riffs are much meatier and more satisfying, ditching those celtic sounding dual lead runs they frequently go into (though When The Wild Wind Blows does venture here at times) in favour of something more substantial. This is immediately apparent as soon as opener Satellite 15...The Final Frontier kicks in with its dark and brooding drawn out opening. This is Maiden as we've never heard them before and it's not until Dickinson's vocals kick in that you'd realise who you were listening to if you hadn't just put it in the Cd player. Around halfway it shifts into more traditional territory but nevertheless continues in fine style. Any metal album is only as good as its riffs no matter how good a performance and there's no shortage here, whether it be the shorter no messing around tracks like El Dorado or the longer pieces like Isle Of Avalon, an album highlight for sure.

As to be expected of a band that's been round the block a few times Maiden put in a fine performance with plenty of pleasing guitar work from the three pronged attack of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janek Gers. Steve Harris's bass and Nicko McBrain's drums as always make a fine rhythm section, solid as a rock yet not lacking in dexterity. How McBrain keeps that fast right foot triplet kick drum pattern going (not unlike Somewhere In Time) on The Talisman I don't know and Dickinson's Air Raid Siren vocal chords are in amazingly good order for a man who's been stretching them to their limit for thirty odd years.

The Final Frontier is certainly a long album, only a few minutes short of the Cd's maximum capacity but fortunately down to the sheer consistent quality I'm confident it will hold your interest if you've ever had a liking for the band and most long term fans should be more than happy. I applaud Iron Maiden for not resting on their laurels and for stretching themselves so far into their career. The result is one of the best metal albums I've heard not only this year but in the last few at least.

Report this review (#299384)
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Iron Maiden continues its 21st century winning strek with The Final Frontier, what will certainly go down as one of the most ambitious and artistic albums of the band's monolithic career. This record is filled with relentless-- and lengthy-- showcases of the band's always excellent brand of metal, showcasing peerless instrumental performances and nuanced songwriting, this time around with an even more epic sound and creative variety. The band absolutely nails this one, coming across as mature, sensative, and very heavy-metal.

The first thing fans of the group will notice is a sheer number of epic tracks on this album-- about 5 (though 7 might be closer to the truth), and they're all excellent. The compositions are first rate, as is the group's playing, which is very tight, intense, and melodic. These songs are self-contained and feel very focused, almost introverted actually. There are very few stand-up and shout choruses or iconic Maiden guitar solos which one will be likely to hear in concert: these songs have an air of craftsmenship to them not quite present in other albums. The shorter, more straight forward rockers are good, too, though they're eclipsed by the momentum and power held in tracks like "Isle of Avalon" and "Talisman". "Man Who Would Be King" features some very unique group playing during the bridge which will catch one's attention as well... just one of many new sounds Iron Maiden surprises us with with this release.

It's hard for me to chose a stand-out track, since all of them are so good, but then again, it's hard for me to say there is anything in this album which really grabbed me as strongly as their past few works. While not quite a masterpiece, Final Fronter plays like a prog-metal epic which blows away most metal albums I've heard lately with its style and effect. This is Maiden at their most progressive, most ambitious, but not quite they're most powerful. The Iron Maiden faithful will be more than pleased by the artistic direction of this most iconic of metal bands. They've come along way from "Run to the Hills"...and I am hoping their streak of excellence continues!

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#300162)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars Rebuild where the ruins did stand - a fan's review

This is the fourth album of the band after their reunion about 10 years ago and it quite follows the short tradition the 6-piece set themselves both in terms of composing and of selecting poor covers for their releases (with the exception of Brave New World). The title of the album has confirmed the rumours for some that this is indeed the "Final Frontier" of the band. If this is true, then it would be neither the best nor the worst way to go.

I have always considered Brave New World as the "benchmark" of any post-2000 releases as I do not think it is fair, for various reasons which I will not explain here, to compare with the glory of the mid-80s era of the band. Since 2000 and Wickerman the band has not succeeded in producing impressive openers of great quality and this is confirmed here with the title track and El Dorado. The former wastes half its duration with an uninspiring spacey intro and finally bursts into a rather simple rocking riff that stays through the entire track, verse and chorus. The latter is meant to be a crowd pleaser, a song written to be played live, and I am sure it will succeed in its purpose. Although slightly more adventurous than its predecessor, it fails to impress with its repetitive patterns and relatively silly lyrics. The chorus does not do much to improve the situation and the track closes in exactly the same way as it opens.

The first glimpse of Maiden's compositional ability appears in Mother of Mercy. Faithful to their recent tradition of war-and-death-related songs (i.e. The Mercenary, Montsegur, Paschendale), the band delivers another epic-themed composition. Great guitar work, epic tempos and meaningful lyrics comprise the first really interesting track of the album which only suffers from the relatively weak chorus vocal lines. Coming Home shows the first signs of prog-related approach, with its astounding opening riff (that is fortunately repeated in the track), one the band's best in recent years. The track evolves as a mid-tempo "power-ballad" but the quality of the warm vocal melodies (resembling Dickinson's personal works) takes this composition a level higher, making it definitely one of the highlights. The moment a genuine Maiden fan always yearns for comes with The Alchemist. Fast-tempo, dual or triplicate high-pitched guitar riffs, heavy verse and two (!) bridges lead to the majestic chorus that could please even the most demanding listener; certainly a composition that takes us back nearly 25 years in the band's catalogue.

This concludes the first half of the album that is based on relatively short-mid duration tracks (not taking into account the intro of the opening track). It is interesting to observe that the second half accounts for more than 44 minutes, consisting of 5 long compositions.

Isle of Avalon, as the title suggests, deals with themes of fantasy and mysticism, unveiled through an opening clean guitar theme that brings to mind patterns similar to 7th Son, both lyrically and atmospherically. Slowly building up, the first distorted riffs appear after 2.5 minutes and the track peaks at its mid-point with a great variety of solos and rhythm guitar passages lasting 2 minutes, giving the second evidence of adventurous song-writing. The opening riff is brought back to the equation and a similar development leads to the track's conclusion. Almost identical in song-writing approach, evolvement and quality is Starblind. However, the "mellow" parts are shorter, allowing more space and time in the three guitarists to deliver multiple and interesting ideas; and they do succeed.

The Talisman brings us back to the times of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, both thematically and structurally, although of shorter duration. The long, bard-like acoustic intro prepares for the forth-coming epic sequence of the story which is developing through dual guitar phrases, bridges and long verses, interrupted by a single minute of adventurous soloing. Compared to the two previous tracks, this epic lacks strong melodic choruses and inspired guitar work for its most part, and sadly falls into repetition at times. Unfortunately, the album concludes with two rather weak compositions, the closing track resembling the approaches followed in The X Factor and Virtual XI, a "curse" from which the band has still not fully escaped.

The Man Who Would Be King, although starting encouragingly, falls into a blunt verse after 2 minutes and never seems to recover from this. The only glimpse of hope appears in the chorus section but this is not enough to save the track. When the Wild Wind Blows is, from start to finish, a huge a disappointment, although many will disagree with me. Childish bass lines that unfortunately reflect to the guitar and vocal melodies and weak lyrics about the end of the world comprise the picture. Mid-way the track turns into a constant mid-tempo, but fails to improve the quality and the overall feel of indifference.

The Final Frontier will not remain as a classic, will not shake the foundations of the rock/metal history, will not disappoint or delight the band's fans. However, it is another decent album added to their discography that deserves some respect and apologies from the author for the length of this review.

Highlights: Coming Home, The Alchemist. Worth mentioning: Isle of Avalon, Starblind.

Report this review (#303926)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was never a huge fan of Iron Maiden until this year. This was the third Iron Maiden album that I had bought, after "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" and "A Matter of Life and Death". When I first listened to this cd I took into account that they hadn't released and album in 5 plus years. But none the less I was blown away.

This album has so many great songs on it that it was hard not to like it. "Mother of Mercy" is such a great song because of the great guitar lines and the vocals are pretty good too. The same goes for "The Talisman" which is a very solid song. Of all the songs it is one of the more progier ones. They have even incorporated an epic, "Where the Wild Wind Blows", which is a much softer song in the beginning, but then it builds up to heavier music. This is a really nice touch to another wise heavier album. It's amazing that after all these years that this band still has it and that their voices aren't blown.

Besides the songs being very good, I would like to congratulate them on not turning into the Rolling Stones and just release an album to make money. They did a very good job producing and playing on the album, especialy considering that they are 50 something.

One thing that I do have to say is that their creative gene might be a little washed up. Many of the songs sound the same, and after enough listens you can really tell that most of them are the same. If it weren't for that it would have gotten a 5 star review from me, but none the less it definitely deserves 4 stars.

Report this review (#315872)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's good to see the positive reviews here after hearing a lot of negative comments about this latest MAIDEN album. In fact my brother-in law who is one of the biggest IRON MAIDEN fans I know told me he thought this latest record was "crap". I'm glad I purchased it anyway.This is a concept album and a sci-fi one at that, and considering it clocks in at over 76 minutes it's taken me some time to appreciate. In fact it was the fifth listen before I felt they had pulled off another winner. It's interesting too how proggy this is, not since "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" have they delved so deeply into Prog-Metal.

I love how this starts with "Satellite Is...The Final Frontier" and the heavy, almost industrial feel as the drums pound.The drums let up 2 1/2 minutes in as the vocals cry out reminding me of FATES WARNING.The drums are back ! Check out the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in.Then the song kicks in with vocals. Nice. Ripping guitar solo 6 1/2 minutes in. "El Dorado" makes me shout "Hell Yeah !" Check out Harris ! We're galloping now then the vocals join in. Guitar solo before 4 minutes then back to Harris and that galloping rhythm. Killer track. "Mother Of Mercy" is more laid back including the vocals. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up. I like the chorus. Nice bass too. Guitar solo 3 minutes in followed by a great sounding rhythm. "Coming Home" settles right down before a minute then it picks up as contrasts continue.Tasteful guitar after 3 1/2 minutes then it becomes more passionate. Excellent track.

"The Alchemist" hits the ground running as vocals join in. Some nice chunky bass then the guitar lights it up. "Isle Of Avalon" is a top four track for me along with the opening two songs and the one that follows this one. Love how this sounds instrumentally. It kicks in at 3 minutes to a fuller sound. Great sound before 5 minutes as the guitar grinds it out with a heavy hythm.Themes are repeated. Amazing ! "Starblind" sounds so good when it kicks in before a minute.Vocals stop 4 minutes in as the guitar comes to the fore and we get a light show. Vocals return after 6 minutes. "The Talisman" features spoken words and acoustic guitar to start. It kicks in hard before 2 1/2 minutes. An interesting instrumental section from 6 to 7 minutes follows. "The Man Who Would Be King" is mellow with vocals to start. It kicks in before 3 minutes. Nice bass. It settles some to end it. "When The Wild Wind Blows" opens with the wind blowing before the vocals come in after a minute. It kicks in a minute later. A change before 4 minutes. It's heavier before 7 minutes with vocals. Nice bass. A guitar solo follows before 9 minutes then it settles after 10 minutes to how the intro sounded with the wind blowing.

This for me is a complete success and one where the band challenged themselves perhaps a little more than they have in quite some time. 4 stars but it could go up because i'm just starting to really appreciate it now (7th listen). For what it's worth my first MAIDEN album "Piece Of Mind" was purchased the year it came out and I went to their concert in Toronto that year in support of that album. Long time fan.

Report this review (#343206)
Posted Saturday, December 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
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!

Report this review (#358709)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maiden es la banda mas importante del heavy metal, Iron Maiden llevo al Heavy Metal a un nivel superior dentro de la musica, Stve Harris siempre a reconocido sus influencias progresivas y las supo impregnar con la potencia y fuerza del Heavy Metal sus composiciones desde los primeros dias siempre tuvieron algo nuevo e interesante que aportar ejemplo el fantasma de la opera, despues con la llegada de Dickinson a la banda uno de los mejores vocalistas de Heavy, nos regalaron "The Number of te Beast" disco que para mi inicia una revolucion en la forma de componer e interpretar el Heavy Metal para mi lo llevo a la primera divisions de la musica (hablando futbolisticamente). Bueno The Final Frontier es un disco que ocupa una muestra de todos los recursos de Iron 2000 temas cortos pero precisos, unas guitarras siempre innovadoras, llenos de buen gusto y para la ultima mitad del disco, nos brindan 5 temas casi 100% progresivos Iron se dan el gusto de pasearse dentro del progresivo con amalgamas de Heavy Metal y viceversa produciendo un deleite para el paladar mas fino que podamos encontrar, pero esta vez sacaron un poco el pie del acelerador con respecto A Matter Life of Death que si se podria decir que es el disco del milenio para Maiden por sus complejas composiciones y estructuras que hasta el dia de hoy me deleitan yo se que muchos aun no lo comprenden mucho pero espero qe algun dia lo hagan; espero que Iron Maiden nos regale un proximo disco sin tanta demora como fue este gran FINAL FRONTIER
Report this review (#358940)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Final Frontier is the 15th full-length studio album by British heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released in August 2010 by EMI. The lineup for The Final Frontier features the same six that have recorded the last three albums before this one so there´s no inconsistency there.

Fortunately the same can be said about the music on the album. I think it´s safe to say that you get exactly what you expect when listening to The Final Frontier. The last couple of albums have displayed a preference towards longer epic tracks ( even semi-progressive at times) and the more hard rocking fast tracks have taken the backseat. That´s also the case on The Final Frontier, but tracks like El Dorado and especially the fast- paced and powerful The Alchemist, prove that Iron Maiden are still able to put on hard rocking action when needed. There´s sci-fi atmosphere and lyrics to boot on the album and it´s hard not to think of the equally sci-fi themed Somewhere in Time (1986), while listening to tracks like Satellite 15... The Final Frontier, Isle of Avalon and Starblind. The overall sound on the album is unmistakably the sound of post-2000 Iron Maiden though. I have a personal preference for the faster paced Iron Maiden tracks, but it´s hard to complain about the lack of fast tracks when the rest of the tracks on the album are of such high quality. If I have to air a minor complaint, it would be about the writing formula on the longer epic tracks, which all start with a couple of minutes quiter building up drama before the songs really get going. Now back when there were only 1-2 epics on each Iron Maiden album, that trick worked very well, but I could wish for some variation, when 8 out of 10 tracks start like that ( I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture).

As always when talking about an Iron Maiden album, the musicianship is one of assets that needs mentioning. Bruce Dickinson sounds exactly like he did in 1982, which is an unbelievable achivement. Doesn´t the man and in particular his voice age? Apparently not, because he still wails like an air sirene and hits the high notes with ease. The instrumental part of the music still offers plenty of melodic guitar soloing, harmony themes, precise and organic drumming and those powerful and melodic basslines from Steve Harris. The keyboards are placed very tastefully in the mix and work as atmosphere enhancement.

The Final Frontier might not be a revelation in the band´s discography, but since we´re dealing with a band that pretty much play by the device: "if it ain´t broken, why fix it", I don´t expect revelations when I put on a new Iron Maiden album. I expect high quality heavy metal and engaging playing from the musicians involved and that´s exactly what I get when listening to The Final Frontier. The Final Frontier is another excellent heavy metal album in a long line of excellent albums by Iron Maiden and a 4 star rating is fully deserved. While I could live with Iron Maiden releassing quality albums in the vein of this one for the rest of their active career, I do still hope they might surprise us with something a bit different again sometime in the future. Just like they did back in 1986 when they released Somewhere in Time.

Report this review (#364660)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars As a long-time fan of Iron Maiden is was awaiting this album since almost four years, the longest gap ever between two albums of this band. When I first listened to "El Dorado" when it was published on the official website at midnight, I was one of the first to discover the new song. I thought that it was something new and unusual with a jam intro and outro, almost spoken word verses and a powerful chorus that comes quite late. I also thought that this song was a rather average song but now I know that is one of the best ones on the album. The other two songs on the album which I like is the opener "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier" that surprises with a very progressive and experimental introduction that proves that the band can still innovate and create something new. Otherwise, "Where The Wild Wind Blows" is a good epic track and even if we have already heard several comparable songs and even if this one isn't as strong and innovating as the big classics, it might still please to the majority of the Iron Maiden fans.

Now, where does this album fail? First of all, there is the sound. It all sounds very dumb and almost like a demo recording. Especially "El Dorado" has some sound problems and also technical lacks as the drumming is out of the rhythm and filled with mistakes. This album wants to transmit a certain live feeling but that doesn't fit with the progressive style at all.

Second, the elaboration of the songs is extremely poor. Most of the tracks sound as if they were written in several jam sessions and blindly recorded without arranging them or taking a second look at the product. Often, the instruments play all at the same time like the guitar parts in the horribly weak "The Talisman" that almost causes headaches. There is no clear line, no progression and no emotion a part of confusion in the track. "Starblind" is a comparable random jam session and Bruce Dickinson sings a completely different melody than the guitars play while bass and drums play yet another rhythm. He sings as if he was under pressure and if he was screaming against the confusing potpourri of failing melody lines. The result is just horrible. "Mother Of Mercy" has got the same problem as Bruce sounds as if he was suffering while he is trying to sing more high pitched notes than ever needed. The band tries to sound progressive but they ultimately fail because they have good ideas for four or five minutes and decide to repeat the whole patterns to stretch the songs to an artificial length of eight to eleven minutes. That's the case for "Island Of Avalon" that has a very interesting beginning and would be an enjoyable song if it would only last about six minutes but the last three minutes of repeating boredom and a lack of inspiration just make you want to skip the rest. It isn't the length that makes a song progressive or epic but the band doesn't seem to understand that. Boring long introduction of several minutes are present in almost every song. That can work for one or two tracks on an album but on this record half of the songs have unnecessary introductions like in "The Man Who Would Be King" that often fail to create an interesting atmosphere or tension. Sometimes the band even copies itself. "Coming Home" has almost exactly the same elaboration and melody as "Out Of The Shadows" while "The Alchemist" sounds like a mixture of "Flash Of A Blade" and "The Mercenary". The song tries to sound like a classic but as he is by far weaker than the two mentioned tracks he just sounds lost on this overlong pseudo-progressive cacophony.

The third thing is the lack of motivation. After four long years where the band put so much energy in their retro concerts around the world as well as in a couple of live recordings, compilation albums and documentaries, they seem tired to me. They worked out the song quite fast, recorded and published them quite fast without any process of reflection or authentic passion. There has been no real tour alongside the album. There hasn't been any physical single for the first time ever. They called some people to create a music video and a little game and weren't even involved in the whole development. They are still a great live band as I have seen them last summer but everywhere else, they seem to focus on something else. Adrian does his side projects, Bruce does a few other jobs, Nicko does some golf and they don't concentrate their creativity on the band that made them the legends they are today and forget about what they have achieved to be able to do side projects and more nowadays. They forget about their responsibility and legacy. They let this band musically die.

I never thought that I would give less than three out of five points to any album of one of my favourite bands. Even some tracks on "No Prayer For The Dying" really rocked and sounded fresh and "Virtual XI" had at least a very unique, dreamy and progressive atmosphere that is enjoyable from time to time. This album simply goes nowhere and loses itself in endless introductions, repeating patterns and horrible guitar solos. If they are heading through the universe for the final frontier they seem now be torn into a black hole. Great recent offerings like the much diversified and heavily underrated "Dance Of Death" showed that the band is still able to be surprising and diversified and so there is maybe a way out of trouble. But it will be a long way back to the top and I hope that they won't leave us with this pseudo-intellectual piece of boredom.

The next time they should give less concerts and focus on the music and the song writing before going to the studio...

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on February 3rd of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379089)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an album that has taken me many listens before feeling able to review it. One of Maidens most successful releases for a very long time, partly down to the exposure they gained on the Somewhere Back In Time Tour reaching more fans and partly down to this being almost incomparable to any other Maiden album. The music is at times reminiscent of the X Factor era with a lot of progressive leanings but is almost entirely following a new sound. This new direction for me took a long while to sink in, this album contains less melody than you would normally expect to find with maiden with very few dual guitar harmony parts.

The most typically maiden songs on the album are the shortest song 'The Alchemist' with one of the few guitar harmony parts and a chord progression that would have fit right into the Dance Of Death album and Adrian Smith solo's continuing the sound he achieved on A Matter Of Life And Death. Another very typically Maiden song is the closer 'When The Wild Wind Blows' which contains progressive leanings but also the multiple strong melody's that you come to expect from classic Iron Maiden songs.

One of the strongest progressive style songs on the album is 'The Isle Of Avalon' with lots of tempo and time changes, a long solo section and a very strong vocal performance. This was the only track on the album that i found accessible the first listens with a sound that continues on from the direction of A Matter Of Life And Death. Once again lacking in any guitar harmonies but still maintains a very Iron Maiden sound. Starblind is also a more progressive song that is still recognisable as being maiden, but containing a weak chorus section where Bruce's vocals feel very out of place.

There are also songs on this album which are in unheard directions for the band. The albums opener Satellite 15 starts with a short synthesised bass part leading into heavy drums and guitar riffing which can take plenty of listening to seem at all like the band we know. The Final Frontier is a little more recognisable with Bruce's vocals in a Matter Of Life and Death style and lots of Adrian Smith soloing. Another song that tends to feel out of place the first few listens is 'Coming Home', with a strange main riff which wouldn't feel out of place on a Nu-Metal album. Eventually like all songs on this album after a few listens it feels very familiar and can simply be seen as experimenting, which the band were definitely doing with all the writing on this album.

In my opinion the only truely weak song on this album is 'The Man Who Would Be King' which seems to try a little to hard to be complex with lots of tempo changes which just feel out of place and a middle section containing a melody section which would feel at home on an Indie album. This song can still be enjoyed though with lots of strong playing and some very fine lyrics.

Overall this is one of the hardest to access efforts Maiden has every released, but given time this can be as enjoyable as every effort this line-up has brought out and shows that there is still a lot more to come from this brilliant creative band.

Report this review (#399637)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars right, on to the final Maiden album at last, and what are my thoughts? pretty damn good actually yes yes yes i know its quite different from there earlier albums, at times almost too different, but i actually really like that about this album, the opening track SATELITE 15..THE FINAL FRONTIER has a cool bass/noise intro with some nice almost tribal drum patterns, before kicking into the kick-assery that is the main song, although it is songs like THE TALISMAN with its very Jethro Tull intro and the experimental final track WHEN THE WILD WIND BLOWS with its sampled intro and outro and incredible twin flourishes that really make this album, in general though i think that this whole album almost feels like one standout track, its real hard to pick a favourite song, can be quite difficult to get into at first but please bear with it, you'll be glad you did;

Satellite 15.... The Final Frontier - 9/10 El Dorado - 8/10 Mother Of Mercy - 8/10 Coming Home - 9/10 The Alchemist - 9/10 Isle Of Avalon - 9/10 Starblind - 9/10 The Talisman - 10/10 The Man Who Would Be King - 10/10 When The Wild Wind Blows - 10/10

CONCLUSION, a very worthy add to your Iron Maiden collection

Report this review (#427615)
Posted Monday, April 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many, many of you reading this will all be old Maiden fans, having followed them through the 80's and watched their decline in the 90's to experience the sheer joy of an actual good album in 2000.

I, however, am taking this, The Final Frontier, from a different viewpoint, a viewpoint of a 14 year old boy who bought it on it's release date after nagging from your friends, and hearing only two Maiden songs before, Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills, both of which I loved.

This album is still my favourite Maiden album, after the past year or so of searching through their old albums and loving them, this remains my favourite. It's sound is so clear, the melodies are fantastic, and Bruce's vocals are actually decent.

I'll highlight some of the great tracks.

Satellite 15. This is a wonderfully interesting opener, with quite a prog-feel to it, with an unnecessarily long opening with a thumping drum beat, which merges into one of the best rock riffs I've heard, and a stunning melody, something Maiden don't often pull out.

El Dorado is another great song, aided mainly by the great melody in the chorus, and an upbeat rhythm.

There are many other fantastic songs in the middle of the album, highlights being Isle Of Avalon and the Talisman, but it's the final two that nail this 5-star rating.

The Man Who Would Be King. This is my favourite metal song of all time. Any band. The slow opening, the lyrics reminiscent of Doctor Who, the great melody, and specifically, the incredible riff that makes you lie down and collapse under it's awesomeness. This is a truly phenomenal song.

And the final track, When The Wild Wind Blows. This track is driven by a slow melody, which tells a tale, part of the sci-fi element of this record, moving into a brilliant heavy section and a fantastically long guitar solo, reminiscent of Child In Time by Deep Purple.

Maiden have always been making hard rock, but this is so much more. This is their first TRUE prog effort, even though it's not prog at all. In my honest opinion, nothing they've done before tops this.

Report this review (#573872)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'The Final Frontier' - Iron Maiden (8/10)

Iron Maiden's career is a perfect example of one that managed to not only achieve greatness, but maintain it with a relative consistency. Sure, there are a handful of albums from the nineties that are generally considered 'weaker' than the others, but when some fans of the band- myself included- regard a lot of their new stuff to be on par with the classic material, that's damned near unheard of. Upon the release of "The Final Frontier" (Maiden's fifteenth studio release to date), the band had been together for the better part of 35 years in one shape or another. Admittedly, their style has not changed much this time around, although given that their sound has earned them a cross-generational legion of fans, this isn't such a bad thing. "The Final Frontier" is an epic quest of heavy metal, and it's home to some of the best tracks the band has ever done.

Iron Maiden may have generally stuck to a signature sound throughout their career, yet especially since 2000's "Brave New World", they have been going down a more progressive path with their music. Maiden already had plenty of experience with the proggy, epic form of metal throughout the eighties; "Phantom of the Opera", "Alexander the Great", and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" all come to mind. With "Brave New World" however, the progressive direction they had always acknowledged began to take a greater step forward. Of the three new millennium albums that came before this, "The Final Frontier" rests at a general par. It may be a tit less consistent than "Brave New World" or even "A Matter of Life and Death", yet it makes up for it with its highlights. As "Dance of Death" impressed me most with "Paschendale" and its haunting title track, "The Final Frontier"s greatest contribution to Maiden's discography is through a few of its best moments.

Among these 'highlights' are the eerie opener "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier", an intensely atmospheric introduction recalling Dickinson's work with Ayreon, building up gradually and making way for a rock-oriented latter half. "The Man Who Would Be King" is a progressive powerhouse with some of the album's best guitar work. Above all else however, is the epic "When the Wild Wind Blows". Based on a similarly titled animated film, it's a sombre piece of music that tackles the topic of nuclear war from the everyman's perspective. Unlike a million thrash metal bands who may fetishize nuclear war as something 'epic' or extreme, "The Final Frontier"s highlight focuses on the feelings of confusion and helplessness that arise from the catastrophe. Within ten minutes, "When the Wild Wind Blows" enjoys an impressive emotional arc, ranging from the intimate to the balls-out epic. It was a real joy to hear something like this on one of the band's latest releases- one of my now-favourite Maiden tracks, and on I would rank up there with the band's longstanding epics.

The instrumentation is a little more laid back on "The Final Frontier" than they have been in the past. The guitar solos are still as fiery as ever, but Iron Maiden put less of an emphasis on speed here than they did on "A Matter of Life and Death" and prior. In its place, Maiden's proggy undertones have taken a step up. In the end however, these changes are minute in the overall scope. Iron Maiden are largely up to their old tricks once again, and though some fans will be disappointed to hear the development (or lack thereof) in the band's sound, their style still sounds fresh and vital.

Report this review (#803753)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars IRON MAIDEN: A BAND THAT IS STILL PROGRESSING GRACEFULLY. 

A lot can be said about Iron Maiden's extensive discography, but ever since 2000's BRAVE NEW WORLD Iron Maiden has taken their incredible heavy/power metal sound to a new level by adding a stronger progressive metal element to their overall sound where a lot of their songs exceed the 8min mark. THE FINAL FRONTIER is no exception to this movement where by Iron Maiden have taken the progressive metal movement into a deeper, more mature sound than some of their previous efforts like say NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING, PIECE OF MIND and FEAR OF THE DARK. I will say, and make no mistake, when I say Iron Maiden have always been prog related, but not to this extent. Overall, it's suits Maiden just fine and THE FINAL FRONTIER is a great success in my opinion. For instance, having the incredibly dynamic guitar sound with the holy triune MURRAY, SMITH and GERS in full force once again is very pleasing to the ear. Tracks like THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, STARBLIND, ISLE OF AVALON , Satellite 15: THE FINAL FRONTIER and of course the beautiful dense ballad WHERE THE WILD WIND BLOWS are key highlights on THE FINAL FRONTIER  album that exhibit the strong bewildering guitar combinations, which are fast and furious like a shot gun to the face while the drumming by NICO McBRIAN is still nothing short of superb. Age has definitely not slowed this monster of a drummer down. He can still slam on a few high hats and Tom toms if you will. Then of course, their is BRUCE DICKINSON who still sings like the operatic banshee with power and vigor. BRUCE simply blows the mind by how he is sings so charismatic-ally on the Chorus for THE TALISMAN 🎶 WESWAAAAARD THE TIIIIIDE!!!🎶 simply beautiful and full of spirit and that is what this album conjures up all together. It's a another great effort and Iron Maiden have proven that they are not slowing down in any way at all. So blast COMING HOME on your way home from work one evening and appreciate the strong spirited work by Maiden. You'll love it and it's a band tags has three lead/rhythm guitarists!! Come on, what's not to love. Not to mention Maiden have still to this day one of the best bassist in the business in Steve Harris, who really shines on every track with his loud and chunky sound. All in all, this album gets a well deserved 4/5. 

Happy listening in the name of prog 👍

Report this review (#851629)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Iron Maiden's Final Frontier continues the "business as usual" thrust of their post-Brave New World reunion. Once again, you have a brace of compositions which suit the band's musical direction from their golden age between Number of the Beast and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and which wouldn't embarrass any of those albums by their inclusion. (Indeed, the opening track Satellite 15 pulls off a futuristic rendition of the Maiden sound far more successfully than Somewhere In Time ever did.) Fans of the band's progressive leanings will be glad to hear them indulged here, with the songwriting centre of gravity clearly shifted towards their longer and more intricate types of song, and whilst it isn't the groundbreaking classic the very best Maiden albums were it's still a solid album that deserves a prominent place in the band's canon.
Report this review (#1028670)
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Final Frontier is often called Iron Maiden at their most proggy, in part because over half the songs are eight-minute plus. Well, at least it is their most un-Iron Maiden (relatively speaking of course, Maiden is Maiden). In place where you usually expect blazing guitar harmonies, you'll often find psychedelic solos, melodic solos, a power ballad and even more folk than usual. However, longer is not always proggier. They are just really long regular songs, with long clean intros, long verses and chorus repetitions, and especially the last songs are structured very similar. Another issue for me is sound. It's a strangely quiet production for metal, Bruce Dickinson on faster songs strains his voice even more than usual. And I'm not hearing the possibilities afforded by three guitars. Seriously, I was at their Moscow concert once, and a lot of foreign acts seem to take Russian audience for granted. One of guitarist was probably so drunk, that instead of al playing he would often try to do the "axe" and couldn't hit strings. Guess three guitars not always necessary.
Report this review (#1117041)
Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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