The Final Frontier
IRON MAIDEN

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IRON MAIDEN - The Final Frontier cover
3.73 | 87 ratings | 16 reviews
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Album · 2010

Filed under NWoBHM

Tracklist

1. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier (8:40)
2. El Dorado (6:49)
3. Mother Of Mercy (5:20)
4. Coming Home (5:52)
5. The Alchemist (4:29)
6. Isle Of Avalon (9:06)
7. Starblind (7:48)
8. The Talisman (9:03)
9. The Man Who Would Be King (8:28)
10. When The Wild Wind Blows (10:59)

Total Time 76:34

Line-up/Musicians

- Bruce Dickinson / vocals
- Dave Murray / guitar
- Adrian Smith / guitar
- Janick Gers / guitar
- Steve Harris / bass, keyboards
- Nicko McBrain / drums

About this release

Released by EMI.

Mission Edition has the following multimedia content:

1. The Final Frontier (director's cut music video)
2. Band Interviews (conducted by Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen)
3. Mission II: Rescue & Revenge game
4. Wallpapers And Photos

Thanks to Pekka for the addition and Time Signature, Lynx33 for the updates

IRON MAIDEN MP3, Free Download/Stream

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IRON MAIDEN THE FINAL FRONTIER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

666sharon666
The Final Frontier is the album that brings Iron Maiden into their fourth decade of releasing albums. The time between releases is getting longer and longer but much like Brave New World before it The Final Frontier is a very impressive start for the new decade.

While I still enjoyed the prior album A Matter of Life and Death I did think it was the weakest of the previous three albums. The Final Frontier marks a step back up for me. While not as good as Brave New World I find more individual songs memorable on this one and it still has the progressive influences and longer songs that has become an Iron Maiden trademark by this point. The second half of the album is dominated by such songs. I think I would prefer the shorter and longer ones mixed up a bit more for balance though. But this is exactly the sort of album that I expect and want to hear from Iron Maiden at this point. The best songs for me are El Dorado, Mother of Mercy and Where the Wild Wind Blows.

Attribution: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/iron-maiden-the-final-frontier-t3676.html
Warthur
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.
Sinkadotentree
Studio album number 15 for these guys and they haven't missed a beat. This kind of reminds me of RUSH and their latest as both bands have drifted into proggier waters late in their careers. And hey why not ? It's not like either band needs the money, so they are making the music that brings THEM pleasure...and a lot of the fans too. Of course with both band's latest recordings there are many long time fans who don't like the directions they've taken. My only two complaints about this latest MAIDEN offering is the length of it and that it's fairly wordy. Despite those minor issues this record brings me a lot of joy. Amazing cover art here too by the way. Tough to pick out the highlights because this album is very consistant but i'll start with the opening track "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier". That industrial sounding intro is incredible then Bruce comes in as we get told the beginning of this story. "El Dorado" simply kicks ass. The first two songs really work well together. "Isle Of Avalon" sounds so god to start as Dickinson's reserved vocals join in. It kicks in around 3 minutes. Nice. "Starblind" sounds incredible when they kick in before a minute. This album has taken me much longer to appreciate than past MAIDEN records but that's not a bad thing at all.
Conor Fynes
'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.
Stephen
"The Final Frontier" marks the fifteenth album of the British heavy metal beast. I've been listening to them for about 20 years now and honestly said, this is the first album since Bailey's era that made me scratch my head and shockingly confused. I know they wandered quite far with the previous album but this one is just too much. By the moment "Satellite 15" is on, I know this is going to be a complex ride, but with a noisy chattering on top of Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands" drumming pattern, the first four minutes is just plain awful. The rest of the track is quite okay, but definitely a completely decent track. The same goes with their single, "Eldorado", not good and powerful enough to be the frontline track, but luckily the chorus is catchy enough to sing along.

"Mother of Mercy" started picking up what they have left off on the prior albums but still failed to deliver what I’ve been expecting and "Coming Home" is a nice power ballad, radio friendly stuff, a safe passage but however, nothing’s special. "The Alchemist" is the real first track that I love here. The harmonic guitars, signature scream, explosive chorus, all the thing that I love about Maiden is there. "The Talisman" is the second tune I like, started slow as usual before bursting out into a flaming arrangement, this is traditional Maiden at their best, what a great track! "Starblind" and "When The Wild Wind Blows" ain't bad at all, but still far from great.

After an intense listening, overall I found this to be a between-decent-and-good release, some compositions are just too safe, some I think they're trying too hard to be progressive, and I'm just hoping this isn't the declining sign of the gods. This is by far the worst release since Bruce return to the camp in 2000, but still an interesting release of 2010, a great buy for "Alchemist" and "Talisman" tracks alone.

As this review's written, I've been waiting impatiently to be a part of a historical concert tonight with the rest 20.000 Indonesian people, for the first time ever Maiden finally came to our country, after 20 years of waiting, finally!
UMUR
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.
J-Man
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!
adg211288
With The Final Frontier Iron Maiden have now made a grand total of fifteen studio albums, that’s the number that Steve Harris has always said he wanted to make. So is this Maiden’s swansong? Well all you fans will be glad to know that in recent interviews members of the band are not ruling out another album, with drummer Nicko McBrain going as far to say that this isn’t the last. Thank God for that.

Now onto the album at hand. At a glance The Final Frontier may be described as an album of two parts, one part classic Iron Maiden, one part new more experimental and progressively inclined Iron Maiden. I wouldn’t say that the two parts are equal, actually I’d split it about 45% classic to 55% progressive. The first half of the album features generally shorter songs with the exception of the opening track Satellite 15... The Final Frontier., which clocks in at just over eight and a half minutes. It’s this song that makes me not split this album into 50/50 classic Maiden and prog, because it’s such an oddball. It is like two songs made into one track and it sounds like it. The Satellite 15 part is easily the most experiment piece of music that Iron Maiden ever recorded. It’s like an intro song at times that isn’t actually an intro at all, Bruce Dickinson’s vocals are delayed in coming in, but it is a song in its own right even before The Final frontier section starts, which is much more on the classic side of the Maiden sound. It’s the first bit that is perhaps most memorable though for being so different. Thundering bass and drums and eerie drawn out lead guitar. It is very percussive throughout with the exception of the first vocal part. It seems random at first listen but it actually has a lot of atmosphere and it does a good job of getting you in the mood for the rest of this album, which as the name may suggest has several songs with lyrics rooted in science fiction and space.This part of the song is actually slightly longer than The Final Frontier part. This is a very different album opener to what we’ve been given with their last three efforts, 2000’s Brave New World, 2003’s Dance of Death, and 2006’s A Matt of Life and Death, all of which opened with single material songs and while the second half of the song could easily be considered as such but as a whole this is an entirely different beast. This is a good thing, 2010 is Iron Maiden’s 35th year as a band and they still manage to surprise and sound fresh. Not many bands can claim that.

The next four songs really focus on that classic Maiden sound, though at the same time they aren’t songs designed to relive the days of albums such as The Number of the Beast and Powerslave. No, these are songs designed to be Maiden as Maiden are now and that is more versatile than ever. El Dorado is the longest of these songs at just under seven minutes and was the lead single from the album but again, it has a completely different feel to the other long songs on the second half of the album. It starts with a flurry of instrumentation that barely has a pause between it and the end of the first track, before it launches into a trademark gallop. Despite generally being longer this one is obvious single material and showcases classic Iron Maiden with that afore mentioned gallop, strong writing and an epic chorus delivered with great vocals from Dickinson, who quite frankly sounds great on The Final Frontier. This isn’t a vocalist who is losing power with age, in fact at times he sounds better than ever.

Highlights however from these songs have to be Mother of Mercy and Coming Home, which may be the most accessible song on the album from a commercial standpoint but is still pretty awesome. Mother of Mercy has a light intro with a lead melody that goes into the first verse, not getting heavy until nearly two minutes in. Another review I read recently said that this wouldn’t have been out of place on A Matter of Life and Death and I quite agree, it’s all in its war themed lyrics and generally delivery of the song. It’s also the most progressive of the first half of the album. The AMOLAD feel continues into Coming Home but I must stress that The Final Frontier is by no means AMOLAD Part II. This AMOLAD feel will again be heard later in the longer more progressive tracks, but for now let’s finish up with these shorter ones.

And on The Alchemist (in no way related to Bruce Dickinson’s song of the same name) that trademark Maiden gallop should bring a smile to people’s faces. As the shortest song on the album it isn’t so progressively inclined but at the same time it really belongs here. It all goes to show that Maiden are a band always moving forward and never back. It gets going quick and is one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t start light and build up into a metal song. It is however perhaps the weakest moment on The Final Frontier.

Then from track six onwards it all turns into epic tracks that range from just under eight minutes (Starblind) to eleven minutes in length (When the Wild Wind Blows). The sound here is very much influenced to progressive music. Here the music is not just about rocking, it’s about creating something much more intricate that includes changes in style, unexpected quirky moments and as stated, long songs. Was it wise to split the songs in this manner? Maybe, maybe not, personally I think it’s a point worth mentioned but my personal conclusion would be that it doesn’t matter too much. It’s all Maiden and it’s all good.

The progressive influence is something evident early on in Isle of Avalon, a song that has about three minutes of light music before it turns into a metal song, which although common in the previous songs as well, in those songs the light section was delivered just as an intro while this is a third of the song. The riffs are more unconventional by Maiden standards between the vocal sections as well. And then just to throw you they throw in a chorus that is more akin to what we’ve been hearing on the previous tracks. Isle of Avalon is a genuine highlight of The Final Frontier, so when Starblind comes along and knocks it out of the water, it is unfortunately slightly forgettable. Starblind may just be THE song of the whole album. Progressive and still very much Iron Maiden it’s the chorus of this one that really makes me want to sing along with it.

The band doesn’t shy from use of acoustics and clean tone guitars and softer vocals, although there isn’t a completely acoustic song as there was on Dance of Death. The Talisman in particular starts very soft with just the guitar and Dickinson’s vocals. It’s almost folksy in its intro but then at just over two minutes in it transforms into one of the album’s heaviest songs. Once it gets heavy it can feel like another nod towards A Matter of Life and Death, especially in the delivery of the chorus. Not a bad thing at all, but overall The Final Frontier is an album by a very developed band and as such cannot be recalled the v2.0 of any album they did previously.

The Man Who Would Be King is the most progressive song though, this one never goes in the direction it seemed to be leading up to in one minute. Again the chorus delivery gives a nod to AMOLAD while being completely different in instrumentation delivery and despite its eight and a half minute length it feels as if it’s over too soon. They save the longest of the songs for last though, the harrowing When the Wind Blows which is apparently based on a post-nuclear graphic novel. Like all the long progressive songs here it starts soft and the melodic presented here is one of the best on the album which really fits with Bruce’s vocals. An epic way to end the album.

I previously mentioned that 2010 is Maiden’s 35th year of life and to be honest some of their output in the last ten years has, in my opinion, been just as good as anything they did in what is widely considered to be the band’s classic era, and much of it better. Different and more evolved yes, but by no means a band in decline, as some people may try to have you believe. Maiden seem incapable of producing a truly bad album and this is not the exception, but I suppose the question to be asked is where does it sit in terms of score and position between the previous fourteen Maiden albums? Well this reviewer isn’t ready to call its ultimate position in the Maiden albums but of the last four I think that Dance of Death is its superior. It’s about on par with Brave New World and A Matter of Life and Death. One thing that I really feel needs to be said about The Final Frontier is that on my first listen I was a little disappointed with it. But after a couple more its growing on me and I definitely have the stress the fact that it is not an album to take an first listen. If you don’t like it at first give it a few more tries and you might just be surprised.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)
The Block
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.
Pekka
Throughout their fourteen album run Iron Maiden have been accused by some of always sounding the same. This is obviously nowhere near the truth, but come the fifteenth album not even the ignorant can ignore anymore the fact that there's more to Maiden than the gallop and the air-raid siren. Most of the album certainly sounds like the Maiden that they have evolved into over the years, but...

If someone put on the opening track without telling me which band was in question, there's no way in hell that I'd have guessed it's Maiden. With heavy use of synth bass and a drum machine the intro called Satellite 15 is the most un-Maiden thing the band has ever recorded, and while it's an admirably brave jump in the dark, in the dark it's easy to stumble. And that's what they do in my opinion. It's a fittingly dramatic piece to open the album, but I can't help feeling that the piece would be much more enjoyable with the more conventional sound filling the rest of the album. In an effort to sound futuristic the band risks sounding dated, whereas the full band sound is timeless. The title song, tacked on the same track for some reason, is completely unrelated and in its midtempo rocking feel quite an oddball as a Maiden opening track.

When Maiden released El Dorado as the leading single, I wasn't very impressed by it, but on the album it works a lot better, perhaps because it's preceded by an even lesser track. The chaos opening seems even more redundant now that the opening track ends with a similar kind outro, but otherwise the track is a good step up, which is continued on Mother of Mercy, Coming Home and The Alchemist, all somewhat compact tracks with great melodies and performance especially by Bruce. The Alchemist, no relation to the Bruce's solo masterpiece from The Chemical Wedding, is the album's sole uptempo rocker.

In another never before seen move the album is constructed of two very different sides, the first containing the 'songs' and the second containing the 'epics'. This kind of polarization may sound like a weird idea, but it actually works really well. Perhaps more than ever the new Maiden album feels like a journey, which is perhaps helped by the fact that it begins with the weakest track and ends with one of their finest ever, with an overall ascent in quality being present all the time. All five tracks of the second side are multi-part compositions running through many different landscapes, featuring some quite unconventional instrumental sections, like the mess of soloing guitars and something that resembles a pedal steel in The Man Would Be King, as well as some of the good ol' galloping, which especially dominates The Talisman. Closing the album as the ultimate triumph is When the Wild Wind Blows, once again showing the masterfulness with which Steve Harris handles melodies and a gripping storyline and structure.

This album has some completely new things and approaches and a slight change from the harmonizing guitars to an emphasis on vocal melodies. Some of the new things work and some don't, but in the big picture that's irrelevant. What's important is that Iron Maiden is still evolving and searching, it would be a pity is this was the end. Luckily by their recent comments it seems that there will be more.

Members reviews

kluseba
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...
BryanT
Great Individual Songs

From the moment the album begins, you know Maiden's trying something different. The opening song, "Satellite 15..." is unlike anything else Maiden has done. It's a highly experimental track, even though it's second part, "The Final Frontier" is your standard Maiden tune.

And, yes, the rest of the album is exactly what you'd expect: something different. A huge portion of the album consists of progressive epics. 5 out of the 10 songs of the album are over 8 minutes!

While each of the epics is great, they unfortunately all follow the same formula: quiet begining, loud ending. Yes, it does work. But starting slow and ending fast on all songs of the album gets quite repetitive. Why not start fast and have a slow section in the middle of the song? Maiden did it with "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". It's not like they're uncapable of it.

And this is my problem with the album. Individually, I'd give a 10 out of 10 to each song. But as an album, they don't work together. With over one hour duration, and the same formula applied to all songs, it gets quite hard to listeng to the album in it's entirety. It feels more like a collection of songs than an album. Even though I've listened to each and every song hundreds of times, I only listened to the full album in order about 3 or 4 times. It's just too tiresome. I normally pick 3 or 4 songs and listen to those, then switch to something else, as I can't stand listening to the full album.

Since I'm reviewing the album as a whole, I'll give four stars. I believe any fan of Maiden, Metal and even Progressive Rock will love the songs of the album. "Excellent addition to any metal music colletion"
ovidiu
Definitelly,with THE FINAL FRONTIER the magic is gone!It says that when you try to cook again a steak it will never have the same taste like the first time!Honestly,it's so hard and difficult for me to understand how is it possible to produce an album of almost 80 minutes,instead to make a decent one of 50 with decent and good songs and not to put weak compositions to get at such unbelieveble timing... and,man...it's way too long...the compositions are repetitive and boring to death!The modern touch is present,Maideen are dinosaurs in motion,but the structure of the songs are pretty much the same.Melodic intro,some synth guitars and then long instrumental passages,plus boring and repetitive parts that prove a terrible lack of inspiration for strong compositions!What is more surprising at this album is the weak level of Dickinson's voice!Maybee only in FEAR OF THE DARK,Bruce was at such a weak level!That's even more strange,because in concert,Bruce's voice is excellent!It's so difficult to pick some notable compositions,because all are at the same level of boredom and platitude,so I have to say that for a band that made history in metal,this album is a major failure,a flop and only die hard MAIDEN fans will dig it!It's impossible to believe that they will gain new fans with this album!The production is excellent and the sound sensational,but this aspect doesn't save a more then mediocre album!I repeat-the repetitive aspect of Maiden's actual music proves at 100 % that the guys are running out of inspiration in a very unhappy way!For me,and not only,Maidean are living history and they live in the past,only the "classical compositions" are still strong,the LIVE setlist proves it,and that's a shame!Hardly 2.5 STARS for the production,album artwork and for what Maiden still are in metal!Sorry,guys,but this time you've missed the target,and I regret it!
friso
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.

Nightfly
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.

Ratings only

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