Iron Maiden

The Final Frontier

Written by: PP on 09/12/2010 04:33:45

To review an Iron Maiden album is such a daunting task that no-one in staff dared to do it, so the mission was left to me, the guy that knows all of their megahits but not much more, which I suppose is the case with a large majority of you readers as well discounting the die-hard Maiden fans who own their entire discography. So how is this review going to be of any value to you? Let me pull an ace out of my sleeve: I've reviewed nearly every single power metal release sent to in the last six years. Why is this important? Because nearly all of these bands attempt to plagiarise what Iron Maiden have done throughout their extensive career, and also do on their fifteenth studio album "The Final Frontier", and they never come anywhere near the brilliance of Dickinson, Murray & co, who keep on releasing albums that each year unmistakably beat 100% of the competition within the heavy/power metal genres.

The musicianship and the riffage alone is worthy of an entire paragraph's length of praise. The axe-trio Murray/Smith/Gers make mockery out of groups attempting to emulate the Maiden sound by delivering an immense repertoire of variety, starting from high-flying solos to solid supporting riffs and just brilliant overall technical ability, to catchy passages and sequences which are classic heavy metal by design: inimitable, original, and very, very, VERY Maiden-esque by definition. And this is where it gets real interesting. There are ten songs on the record, but yet the overall length is a little over 76 minutes, making this one of the longest Maiden albums to date. That means there's a ton of riffage, technical wizardry, sublime melody and instrumental talent to be discovered here. But it also means that "The Final Frontier" is an album that takes a LOT of effort and patience before you can absorb it fully. At first, it seems like a beast you cannot overcome, but given a few weeks of listening, the songs begin to open up and you'll realize they're as fine as any on the Iron Maiden back catalogue. A big reason why is the sheer quality of riffage throughout; it's nearly impossible to find a riff you wouldn't think is, at the very least, 'pretty cool' on the album.

Moving onto the vocals, Bruce Dickinson delivers another very British, and very awesome performance. A song like "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" is fairly catchy, "Mother Of Mercy" is likely to make an appearance in their live performances for years to come, and "Coming Home" is as classic Iron Maiden ballad as they come. It's not like he needed to prove anything, but his ability to shift from ballads to medium-tempo to high-pitch singing during the high-octane power metal songs (see: "The Alchemist") deserves much credit. In the vast sea of power metal I normally have to review, the vocalists usually are skilled in one out of three, but never all of them simultaneously, which is exactly why Dickinson and Maiden are considered by many to be the best band to have existed on planet earth. Listening to the songs on "The Final Frontier", and looking back at their catalogue, it's not difficult to understand why. p.s. anyone think "Isle Of Avalon" guitar riff sounds a lot like a really, really famous Iron Maiden song?

Download: Satellite 15...The Final Frontier, Mother Of Mercy, Isle Of Avalon, The Alchemist
For the fans of: Judas Priest, Megadeth, heavy metal
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.08.2010

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