Iron Maiden 2010

IRON MAIDEN – The Final Frontier

Iron Maiden - The Final FrontierOne thing I like with writing an Iron Maiden review is that I don’t have to write an introduction because if you don’t know who Iron Maiden are you have probably been living under a rock for most of your life and well, you can might as well crawl back there and continue with your life. Today, Iron Maiden are one of the huge – as in HUGE – bands that only play arenas and outdoor stadiums. They are up there with Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Kiss. Who would have imagined that when they played to 1000 people with Blaze Bayley fronting the band in the 90’s? And speaking of Blaze Bayley, thank God, Iron Maiden ifired his ass and reunited with Bruce Dickinson in 2000. Oh, yeah, they brought back Adrian Smith (guitar) as well, which was also a really good thing. But unlike many of the biggest touring acts, Maiden also sells a lot of records and even though the quality of their CDs since the Dickinson reunion has been a little up and down, their fans still buys every album in large quantities. However, it must be said that despite my harsh words about Bayley, it wasn’t all is fault that Maiden sucked throughout the 90’s when he was fronting them. The two albums Blaze sang on, The X Factor (1995) and Virtual XI (1998) had such lousy songs and crap production that no Bruce Dickinson in the world could have saved them. Fact is, Maiden’s downfall started already back in 1990 with the useless No Prayer For The Dying and its follow-up, the uneven at best Fear Of The Dark (1992). Steve Harris has always been looked upon as Maiden’s main composer but it was when Adrian Smith left the band that a lot of the high quality composing got lost. This albums predecessor, the progressive A Matter Of Life And Death (2006) took a while to get into, but when it stuck, it really stuck and is now, in my book, their finest hour since their reunion album Brave New World (2000). Hell, I would even say that it was their best album since their 1988 masterpiece Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. The pre-release for this album said that it would be even more progressive and I thought I’d give it few runs to make sure I got the album completely before reviewing it. Because of the fact that I loved their last album so much, I hade huge expectations on this one.

But unfortunately, this one never grew on me like A Matter Of Life And Death did. In fact I found this one quite boring and the 6 I have given it is a 6 minus. The albums start with ”Satellite 15”, a weird instrumental intro that goes right into the title track. So far, so good as the title track is a really good song. But just as you got your hopes up, ”El Dorado”, the first single, takes them down again. Weak song. There is something with Iron Maiden and their leading singles for their albums after the reunion. They always seems to be the weakest songs off their albums, A Matter Of Life And Death excluded. Both “The Wicker Man” and “Wildest Dreams” is really weak, in my opinion and weak seems to be the key word for this album. A lot of the songs just goes in one ear and out the other. But there are, of course, some good moments here. ”Coming Home” is great ballad that sounds a lot like Dickinson’s earlier solo stuff, ”The Talisman” is classic Maiden and a great track and ”When The Wild Wind Blows” is best of all, a majestic and epic track that closes the CD. The problem with this album is that when it’s good it’s actually great , but when it’s not, it’s very mediocre and there are far too many of those songs.

There have been some talk of that this album might be their last studio effort, but hopefully, Iron Maiden will release at least one more album, because it would be a shame if this became their swan song. It really hurts to not be able to praise this album, but it’s really hard when there aren’t anything on here that makes me think it could be another Maiden classic. Next time, if there’ll be a next time, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a great, classic Maiden album.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Tracklist:

01. Satellite 15… The Final Frontier
02. El Dorado
03. Mother Of Mercy
04. Coming Home
05. The Alchemist
06. Isle Of Avalon
07. Starblind
08. The Talisman
09. The Man Who Would Be King
10. When The Wild Wind Blows

9 comments on “IRON MAIDEN – The Final Frontier

    • Well, at least we agree on AMOLAD…
      To be honest, I don’t think that any of Maiden’s albums after their reunion is that strong. Brave New World had some great tracks, but too many unmemorable stuff and Dance Of Death was plain dull.
      What’s your opinion on those albums, Mike?

  1. I agree that DOD is the weak link. But by and large I really like the newer Maiden. I think every album they’ve done since the reunion is better than their 1990s albums. Of course I can’t compare to the 80s classics…

    • Oh yeah, definitely. The Blaze albums and NPFTD and TOTD doesn’t stand a chance to any of the reunion albums.

      • No Prayer is I think the weakest Maiden of them all. If ever there was “just another Maiden” that’s the one. Fear of the Dark I thought was a step up but it is loaded with filler. Weekend Warrior?

      • Haha. Yeah, Weekend Warrior!!! What’s up with that? But I’d say that No Prayer is the weakest with Bruce at the mike. It’s still a masterpiece compared to the pure shite that is The X Factor and Virtual XI. Those album sucks so bad I don’t even count them as Maiden records.

  2. After reading Mike’s review of The Book of Souls (here: http://mikeladano.com/2015/09/05/review-iron-maiden-the-book-of-souls-2015/), and reading your comment therein about your disappointment with The Final Frontier, I had to track down and read your review. You aren’t the first person I’ve encountered who has expressed displeasure with The Final Frontier—but it’s still, for me, a surprising sentiment.

    I didn’t bother picking up The Final Frontier when it came out. I thought, at the time, that A Matter of Life and Death was terribly boring. So when the early reviews of The Final Frontier promised longer and more progressive cuts similar to AMOLAD, I stayed away. At some point, however, I gave in and picked it up. And I was taken aback. The style was far more focused and the song arrangements tighter than what I had expected. The longer, more progressive cuts eventually turned me onto AMOLDAD and I came around to loving that album too.

    Now, for the record, I love all of Maiden’s reunion albums—including Dance of Death.

    Just had to share my opinion. When it comes to taste, there is no right or wrong. I enjoyed reading your thoughts here Jon and look forward to reading your review of A Book of Souls!

    • Awesome! Thanks for stopping by here and thanx for leaving a comment. It’s always interesting to read diiferent views from people.
      The Book of Souls review will be up in a couple of weeks or so as I’m still working on some August releases.

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