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Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.60 | 465 ratings

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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.

topographicbroadways | 4/5 |


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