The Final Frontier Review

artist: iron maiden date: 07/24/2012 category: compact discs
iron maiden: The Final Frontier
Released: Aug 16, 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: EMI
Number Of Tracks: 10
That 15th album is upon us, and while it may not be what we all dreaded, the world is still listening.
 Sound: 9.2
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Overall rating:
 9 
 Reviewer rating:
 9 
 Users rating:
 9 
 Votes:
 318 
reviews (11) 93 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: UG Team, on august 16, 2010
18 of 18 people found this review helpful

Sound: We couldn't just let it end, could we? It's strange to think that one day, Iron Maiden will release their last record, will play their last show. But it is not this day! I don't think a full encapsulation of this global phenomenon could ever be committed to disc anyway, but The Final Frontier' has only the grandeur of your average Maiden release, though that is not to be underestimated. The cartoony artwork could hardly have been further removed from that of the dark, dramatic and aptly named A Matter Of Life And Death' opus of four years ago, and on the whole there is an air of positivity about the package. It's not often that Iron Maiden open an album without letting a riff or three out from the starting blocks, but something tells me this is the first and last time we'll kick off with an Adrian Smith home demo. Satellite 15' is atmospheric, intense and absolutely one of the biggest curveballs they've ever thrown, and for every problem with the unpolished mix, there's a reason to love the uncompromising drum machines and desperate melody. Once the intro is over and done with, it's Maiden being Maiden for an hour-and-a-bit. Lovely! All the expected conventions are ticked off promptly, including those of the last two albums long excursions through ideas as they come and, for all the developments in progginess, highlights in the form of vocal hooks and lead breaks. Two top-quality singles are thrown in the bag early, and from there that bag goes relatively unmixed. Coming Home' is a great Children Of The Damned' style singalong, and The Alchemist' is actually the closest to the Di'Anno sound they've come in many years, but the lengthier songs predominate. A couple of them ebb without flow at times, Isle Of Avalon' being a quite brilliant exception, but this album is refreshing indeed. Hats off, once again, to Mr. Adrian Smith for his contributions to proceedings not to take away from Dave Murray or Janick Gers, but the man can't half solo! He tends to dominate the solo sections, but Isle Of Avalon' boasts the best guitar work (best everything, in fact) overall, with tasteful modal playing. When The Wild Wind Blows', one of the initial fan favourites following the album's leak, comes with a mental image of 40,000 fans screaming their lungs out, so if we're remembering albums for their flagship guitar leads, The Final Frontier' has a solid place in the history books. // 8

Lyrics: It is only before you look at the lyrics that you might think that this album is without drama. The topics of religion and war make welcome returns, yet the overbearing themes are of solitude and homesickness. You can feel the decades worth of touring experience, though it's fed through a theatrical Maiden/space mission funnel. The title track, though, is worryingly self-referential given its dying thoughts' perspective: I surely will burn, like Icarus before me, There isn't much time, must say my last rites...while the ostensible story is of an astronaut, these allusions are cruel, if not indicative of anything. Other lyrical high points include El Dorado', a suitably menacing characterisation of bankers, and When The Wild Wind Blows', which is about nuclear holocaust but somehow ends with something even more tragic. It is, then, chiefly the music that keeps things upbeat. Tell you what though, that Bruce Dickinson is sounding pretty good! While his vocal power has taken a mild battering since the glory days, his timbre is as good as it's been in years and all ten tracks benefit from it with at least one big juicy wail. // 9

Overall Impression: Would this have been the perfect send-off? Not quite, but it's a fine way to reach the 15-album landmark and another testimonial to the strength of this band post-reunion. It's also testimony to their capability to write more than the hits' that everyone's favourite song is different. The Final Frontier' has not shattered the Earth with either innovation or emotion, but any Maiden fan - big or small, young or old should leave content, well fed by this chapter of what is hopefully a story that shan't end for many years to come. // 9


- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2010

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overall: 10
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: DIII 503, on august 16, 2010
3 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sound: Up The Irons! Iron Maiden is back with their fifteenth studio album, one that has been eagerly awaited by Maiden fans all over the world. This album, as opposed to their previous album, is unique in the sense that the guitar works are quite different. Although tinged with the prog influenced riffs of AMOLAD, the riffs of this new album are heavier and more complicated with much less melody that would've been expected from Iron Maiden. But, the songs carry perfect chord progressions and time signatures and Steve's galloping basslines are stronger than ever. Also, the first track, Satellite 15..The Final Frontier, contained some modulated vocals from Bruce which also sounded nice and one of the songs featured double-bass drumming from Nicko McBrain. Adrian, Dave and Janick were on top gear, featuring some melodic and blistering solos. // 10

Lyrics: First thing that I can be sure of is that this is not a concept album. Although one might get a hint of the concept of space exploration from the title, the lyrics of the songs vary. As Bruce explained the lyrics of El Dorado, it contains cynical lyrics dealing with the economic turmoil that has been happening recently. Some of the lyrics are centered on fantasy, songs such as Isle of Avalon and The Man Who Would Be King. The subject of war, although mentioned less, has not been not wholly left out from this album. The song Mother of Mercy is about such, where Bruce sings I'm a soldier at war. Bruce's vocals are top-notch, polished and operatic as ever. But I feel his voice has lost some vigour which he used to possess back in the middle 80's. But, anyway, the lyrics wholly represent what Iron Maiden is all about, nothing meaningless in them, and Bruce has done in this album what he does best. Moreover, this album has focused less on darker lyrics and more on fantasy and the possibilities of exploration unlike AMOLAD, which dealt with war and nuclear proliferation. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a great album which I absolutely loved. But to be honest, this particular album will create a mixed response among the fans and critics probably due to a different way of playing the songs. I had to listen to the album twice to truly find out the awesomeness in it. However, on the whole, this is a must buy album for metal fans. It has great songs. In fact, all the songs are equally great and epic. The worst song of this album, according to me, would be The Alchemist. I thought the feel of the song didn't quite fit into the feel and vibe of this album. Also, this should be a must buy album for those who aren't Maiden fans. This album has the ability to change their minds. On contrary, it's not comparable to the classics of Iron Maiden like The Number of The Beast or Powerslave. This album has a different feel and sound altogether, similar to their previous album. However, Iron Maiden has proved their crafty, skillful musicianship producing yet another epic tale (my way of expressing an album) full of poetry, epic and lyrical genius. Thumbs Up to Steve and the others for the song making and same to Kevin Shirley for the fabulous production. // 10

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overall: 9.7
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: henryfp, on august 19, 2010
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Let me just tell something before I begin to talk about this album: Get ready for what some will find an outstanding record, meanwhile others will hate it. I really think this album is amazing, but I already heard from a friend that this album is awful. My friend told me "I understand you like this album, you play the guitar. But The Final Frontier isn't definitely about drums." I can't question him because I don't know anything about drums, well let's take a look at Iron Maiden's last work. Compared with the classics (Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast, Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, etc) The Final Frontier is much more experimentalist. Besides Bruce maintains his epic voice, Steve is still the captain of the ship and we still have some precious guitar work. I'll tell you what I think of each track: 01. "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier": It opens with a really suggesting bass (makes you remember Muse) and some kinda psychedelic guitar work and some jungle drums (just like Rolling Stone's "Sympathy For The Devil"). Then Bruce starts singing with a really strange voice. And suddenly the song stops and re-opens showing you there are actually two distinct parts composing this song: "Satellite 15" and "The Final Frontier". When the real song starts ("The Final Frontier" part) you realize Iron Maiden's songwriting is alive and healthy since A Matter Of Life And Death. An exciting verse and simple but cool chorus could have made the song but the guys decided to put some of their signature solos to make even a better start. I would give it an 8 out of 10 if that "Satellite 15" strange voice didn't break it. (7/10) 02. "El Dorado": O.K. This one was the premiere single and is actually one of the most comparable with the usual Iron Maiden sound tracks in the whole album. It begins with all instruments exploding just like they usually do in the end of the songs. After that Steve Harris comes up with his "horse" bass. It's an excellent verse and a cool chorus (not as cool as the verse). The the solos go nicely and after the last chorus the song closes with other explosion. (9/10) 03. "Mother Of Mercy": Another great song. Beautiful opening and verse. And as Bruce says "I'm a soldier of war" the song gets heavier but keeps awesome. The chorus and the solos keep the good work. (10/10) 04. "Coming Home": Still perfect. A great opening riff, beautiful verse and another brilliant chorus. The guitar work is really good in the whole song. (10/10) 05. "The Alchemy": This isn't so notable as the others but it's still a pretty cool track which keeps the beauty and the Iron Maiden spirit of the previous. (10/10) 06. "Isle Of Avalon": Here begin the true experimentations. But they don't mess the song. They're actually pretty exciting interesting and don't last the whole song. I just loved them since I've heard "Isle Of Avalon" for the first time. Great tone! (10/10) 07. "Starblind": Once again a beautiful song that suddenly changes into a more heavy and Iron Maiden familiar tone. Once again a perfect song! (10/10) 08. "The Talisman": An acoustic intro keeping the superb beautiful tone. And suddenly "Oh, What a surprise" it becomes heavy and totally rocks. (10/10) 09. "The Man Who Would Be King": I know it might be strange, but this track, just like the last 3 ones, starts slowly and suddenly turns into that classic Iron Maiden sound. But this one, even more than the other gets the epic sound of some of their classics. (10/10) 10. "When The Wild Wind Blows": It opens with the sound of the wind and when the band starts playing makes you remember the Blaze Bayley era. But, again, the song gets much more rocker. What can I say? It's amazing! (10/10) // 10

Lyrics: First of all I must tell you I can't say much about the lyrics because I don't understand them very well as I'm 14 years old and I'm Portuguese... But if want to get an impression of the lyrics you should just check out the UG Team review. Bruce Dickinson's singing is just great as usual. // 9

Overall Impression: I know it might be strange, but this album sounds perfect to me! I just can't decide which my favorite song is. The only thing I didn't like in it was that "Satellite 15" before "The Final Frontier". It's outstanding! "If it were stolen/lost, would you buy it again or get something else?" I think is question is quite silly because it's obvious I already have the album in my mp3, saved in my computer and if I wanted it in the CD format I would record in a virgin CD. // 10

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overall: 7.3
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: brokenwizard, on august 17, 2010
2 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: I went out to buy this album on the day of release and living in Australia I had to travel a fair way to get the deluxe edition which comes with some bonus content. Driving back home I tentatively placed the CD in my car stereo when the fuzzy bass line starting pumping through my stereo, shortly followed by those heavily reverbed drum machine rolls. This is nothing like the Maiden I know and love but my god my heart was racing. Surely the most atmospheric and exciting opening to a Maiden album ever, 3 minutes later and ...The Final Frontier proper begins and it's off to a good start, but on first listen the song seems a little unfocused however on further listens the song has really grown on me. This album marks a departure of sorts from the more gloomy atmosphere portrayed in A Matter of Life and Death, and it certainly suits the band a lot more. The next track El Dorado is very punchy and will most likely have fans singing along when they see the band perform the tracks live. Like all the albums since the "Reunion" this album features a lot of longer more progressive tracks then the likes of say Powerslave or Piece of Mind which many of the more mature fans who were arround during the 80's glory days may not fully appreciate. It may not be classic Maiden but the band have evolved since those days and even on first listen many of the tracks on the new album stand out and don't seem to drag on. For me Isle of Avalon and The Talisman are stand out tracks featuring great work all round by the band vocally and musically. On first listen I could imagine my self screaming my self hoarse when I see the band at Soundwave in February if the band plays these songs. As well as the more progressive tracks the album also features the Alchemist, coming in at 4 minutes and 30 seconds this rates as one of the shortest songs Maiden have released in some time, it runs at a fast tempo and contains those classic Maiden twin guitar riffs, my favorite song on the album for sure. The guitar work remains as solid as ever featuring some immense riffs and a couple of golden moments in the solo department. It must be said though that some of the solos do seem a bit improvised and lack a sense of direction. Steve and Nicko shows no signs of slowing down at all in the rhythm department with both players showcasing why they are so revered in the metal community. // 7

Lyrics: Not unlike Maiden's previous effort, A Matter of Life and Death, the theme to Final Frontier's lying are often a comment on the current social state of the world and are not very upbeat in contrast to the music that backs them. This is a great thing however, it's a good balance that shows an improvement form A Matter of Life and Death and makes the songs thought provoking as well as enjoyable to listen to. Of course it would not be a Maiden album without those fantasy based songs which we all know and love but even these seem to have an underlying moral message to them. Great work by Steve and the rest of the guys on this front. Like the rest of the band Bruce is aging and unfortunately this shows more with his instrument, that being the voice. He might not be able to rip those falsetto screams that he did during the 80's but his voice is still really defined and powerful and adds a great sense of atmosphere and grandeur to the lyrics and the music over all. // 8

Overall Impression: Like all of the Maiden albums from Brave New World up, The Final Frontier is not a rehash of the great albums from the 80's that some well established bands seem to be trying to produce at the moment. Some fans are going to hate this album like they have for the past few albums. At over an hour long it can be hard to take in all in one go. I feel personally that the next album would benefit from featuring a couple more fast tempo, riff heavy songs like The Alchemist and a couple less longer progressive songs to make the album a bit shorter and perhaps a bit more catchy. That being said this album is packed full of some great moments and is definitely their greatest achievement since Brave New World and I can't stop listening to this album. UP THE IRONS! // 7

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overall: 10
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: LesPaulGuy77, on july 24, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Iron Maiden has always been a very poetic, melodic, awe-inspiring group... Almost contradictory to what you expect from a metal band. Needless to say, they're incredible. An unstoppable force in music, if you will. Call my choice of wording silly, but it's true; not a single Iron Maiden album has been released to which I've had the slightest bit of contempt towards. 01. "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier": The album kicks-off with this interesting piece. The intro is essentially the only worrying bit, as others have noted. But mind you, it's well worth the tease to hear the band explode with yet another incredible performance. 02. "El Dorado": This song starts with a roaring introduction. It's as if a thousand wild steeds are thundering towards you. Cheesy analogies aside, I have to say, the song gets better and better as you listen. "El Dorado" is a very cynical song in musical aspects, as well as lyrical. The riffs during the chorus are bittersweet with Dickinson's vocals. I think some fans received the song badly as it strays from an older Maiden sound, and moves into unexplored territory. This doesn't stop Adrian, Dave, and Janick from delivering the always expected solos, wailing and crying with excitement. 03. "Mother Of Mercy": Similar as far as sound goes to "El Dorado". I honestly can't think of tons to say of this piece, but that doesn't mean it's not an awesome song. Lots of great bass, the rhythm of this song is dead on. Again, Nicko gives this album his best drumming skills. Can't get enough of him! 04. "Coming Home": "Coming Home" is a fresh breath of optimism. They switch from (as I stated) a very cynical outlook, to such memorable lyrics telling what seems to be almost a fantasy from the perspective of the singer. Not to mention the stunning guitar work spanning every last second of the track. I mean... The opening guitar riff is just epic. The harmonies are spot on, and the melody just seems to chunk together with a subtle yet powerful bass line, wrapped together in one ear-pleasing piece of music. 05. "The Alchemist": Despite the rather odd lyrics, which I have yet to understand, it's a great track. I love the lyric "I am Doctor Dee, and this is my house!" It's so silly sounding (In a good way!), but whatever the lyrics lack in depth, the guitar and and drums compensate. Great drum fills, overall a very melodic and memorable tune. Something you can hum to yourself, you know? 06. "Isle Of Avalon": The song starts with a faint sound of wind blowing, for sure nodding to the final song on this album. Then the bass punches you in the face, and the drums are there to cheer it on. The guitar is almost at the back of the track, but nonetheless important. Bruce comes in with his typical opening style; quiet, restrained... A time bomb waiting to erupt! He teases you with a little of that voice we all love, notably chanting one or two words right before exploding in the operatic tenor he's known for. I mean - the man's in his 50's and he still sings like this. One of a kind, if you ask me. The solo seems to almost refrain the typical Iron Maiden style. It's interesting actually, although I'm not entirely sure how to explain it. The solos go on for a minute or two, before the song returns to a calm narration of lyrics. In the background you can hear some more wind blowing just before the lyrics. The guitar riff near the end of the song is very melodic, sort of returning to the previous track, "Coming Home". 07. "Starblind": I believe this is the first time Bruce mentions anything about his/the world ending. Again, the intro is very mellow, and suddenly Dave comes in with a roaring guitar riff. Bruce's voice is wild during the verses. In fact, the whole song is sort of wild. The drums during the chorus are spread out and slow, emphasizing the back-beat of the song, while in contrast the guitars are insane between Bruce's vocal phrases. Nicko always knows just what Iron Maiden songs need as far as percussion. You could almost compare him to Ringo Starr, who, despite being constantly criticized, really plays the song as opposed to playing the drums. The one thing in common is they both know how the drums should go, instead of belting out fast fills every three seconds. About 3/4's into the song, there's some very interesting guitar work, including a nice little melody mixed into the background of the all the tracks. 08. "The Talisman": This piece is my second favorite in the entire album, only being beaten by the final track. The acoustic intro is just what the album needed. The last time I remember such a beautiful acoustic piece in Iron Maiden was at the end of "The Prophecy" in "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son". Now the lyrics tell a story of someone maybe evacuating from an apocalyptic scenario? It's a very beautiful song as far as tone and melody goes. I love the chorus. It's the cherry that tops of this song. The lyrics about the sea are so vivid. Anytime I hear the song, I'm just rushed to this scene of waves splashing upon a frigate, dark clouds rolling over the skies, thunder booming, and rain pouring over the wooden deck. It's really incredible what Harris' songwriting can do to the rest of the bands' music. The guitar harmonies in the chorus almost mimic Bruce's singing. Truly one of Iron Maiden's best songs. I mean of all time. 09. "The Man Who Would Be King": A relatively calm intro, with a pleasant guitar opening. In the background the orchestral arrangements are very well placed. The bass plays along with the guitar in a nice arpeggiated sound. Here comes the guitars, once again, a nice, memorable harmony. It leads into the main verse. Now there's something so persuading about this melody Bruce sings... Reminding you of the days of "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son". In fact, the whole song is very reminiscent of that album. The solo is among the best in the album. It's just all out power. Wow, now, the outro of this song is absolutely breath-taking. The guitar traces Bruce's voice perfectly in a totally new melody. It could be a whole other song, honestly. 10. "When The Wild Wind Blows": Wow... I could say the world of this song. It is no doubt one of the best songs Iron Maiden has ever written. Comparable to "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", or the "Phantom Of The Opera". The melody of the song is just awe-inspiring. The first time I heard it I was just memorized. The lyrics are also among the best Steve has ever written. Props to him, listening to the lyrics (especially the opening verses) it just gives me goosebumps. Then, from nowhere... BOOM! The whole band just erupts in a literally epic... Well EVERYTHING. The rhythm is spot on for the song, the guitar continues to lay down the melody for Bruce to follow. Then another "BAM!" the verses are followed by an amazing series of solos and bridges. This is without a second thought, the best song on the album. Clocking at 11:01, it's worth every second to listen to. The chills this song gives you are incredible. You just hear this perfect, well-crafted song, topped by Iron Maiden's always amazing performance. You know what, if this were Iron Maiden's last album, I would be beyond alright with this being there last song. It's so memorable... From hearing "Prowler" from 1980 for the first time, to this. I can't believe how much Maiden has changed. The album ends in a gust of wind. Interpret how you like, but when I'm 60 years old, I'll hear a gust of wind, and remember the chilling band known as Iron Maiden. They have, and I hope they will continue to deliver from epics, to adrenaline pumped songs, from emotional masterpieces, to spine-tingling instrumentals. Up the Irons now, and forever! // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics vary from "The Alchemist", with very odd, specific lyrics, to "When The Wild Wind Blows", with emotional, nearly saddening penmanship. Then of course you have "The Talisman", reminding me of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" in the way Bruce narrates to the audience. As I mentioned, the ecstatic lyrics featured in "Coming Home", to very descriptive lyrics such as from "The Man Who Would Be King". // 10

Overall Impression: Honestly, in my personal opinion, I've not heard a single metal band I would rather listen to than Iron Maiden. They've always had a vibe to them that's just... indescribable. I feel lucky to be able to live during their times of prosperity. As I doubt I've failed to mention, the most impressive song was "When The Wild Wind Blows". Others include "The Talisman", "Coming Home", "Isle Of Avalon", and "The Man Who Would Be King". I love nearly everything about this album. It beats "Brave New World" by a hair. (Not an easy call.) There's really nothing I hate about it. If you have any free time - nay, just make time to listen to this masterpiece. Go to the store and buy it, buy the LP version, just find the album somewhere and listen to it! If you have already... Do it again! I would buy it again, in a heartbeat. // 10

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overall: 10
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: remotenightowl, on august 24, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The overall sound I feel is typical Maiden. The guitars, bass, drums, and vocals are all typical, which is what I all hope we would expect from Maiden. I definitely feel that they have wrote another masterpiece and have not sold out to a "modern sound." They are one of the few old bands that keep going and pioneering with who they are, and Maiden should be praised for their current sound. And quit trashing them because they're not using their "old" sound. C'mon, they are better now then they've ever been, so give it a chance. // 10

Lyrics: Definitely their best lyrical album. It's all poetry, and I'm happy because it's nice to hear more of a full story with each song, Like The Talisman, for example. Best story I've heard from them in years, and could possibly be a sequel to The Pilgrim from A Matter of Life and Death album. // 10

Overall Impression: Best music I've heard in years, aside from their previous albums, and The Talisman is my favorite by far, with When The Wild Wind Blows at No. 2. Love the whole album, nothing bad to say. I also like their use of a different song structure, what I mean is with almost all their songs, it's more ABBACCA style rather than typical intro, verse, chorus deals. A lot better for story telling. I do think this album is AMOLAD's parallel opposite, because It's a lyrical album, where as their last album was more guitar, so as far as the guitar solo's go, listen to the story for once, take a break from the guitars, and give them some slack, they don't sell their fans out so quit complaining! And yes, I would replace this album if it got lost or stolen, which WON'T happen. // 10

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overall: 8.7
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: AdamJacklin, on august 24, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: From the very first track this album with have fans surprised, and perhaps even a little confused. Those who had seen the video to the single The Final Frontier' will probably not be expecting to wait an extra four minutes for the song to kick in, but what a wait it is! Unlike anything Maiden have released before, the introduction (Satellite 15') marks a departure for the band, but one that is satisfying and has you wondering about the rest of the album. At that moment, my notion of what to expect from this release was severely challenged. El Dorado', the first release from the album, made available for download from the official Iron Maiden website, is possibly the weakest track of the selection. That isn't to say it is without its charm. After a few listens the riff begins to grow on you, and you can imagine it being played to a stadium full of screaming fans. Track 3, Mother of Mercy' does not dissapoint. After a minute and a half of Bruce singing over a beautiful clean riff the song kicks in. The solo's here are as can be expected, intricate and skilfully crafted. Coming Home' is an excellent track, featuring one of the best choruses on the album, and not a bad verse either. The track itself is a reminder of such songs as Out of the Shadows' and Children of the Damned', clean guitar verses with some fantastic solos. A track that is somewhat reminiscent of classic Maiden, The Alchemy' is the shortest song on the album and is a departure from the lengthy songs that the band have been writing over the past few years. Featuring a large section of guitar solos, Isles of Avalon' is guaranteed to please fans of old and new Maiden. Featuring a clean intro, which has become common in the band's newest releases, the song soon jumps into fifth gear. One of this reviewer's personal favourites, Starblind', following the clean intro, is a non-stop heavy metal ride. This track also sees Bruce at his best, pushing his vocals hard, and the results can clearly be heard. A beautiful clean section opens The Talisman', before, as in many Maiden songs, the full power of the band kicks in and it becomes an incredible track. A great example of the musical ability of all the band members. The penultimate track, The Man Who Would Be King' once again sees a clean intro open up into epic proportions. Another great track. Now for this reviewer's overall favourite. Coming in at over eleven minutes, When the Wild Wind Blows' is an epic track themed on nuclear war. The lyrics here are very well written and the lead guitar work here is some of the best on the album. // 9

Lyrics: This album boasts an impressive performance from Bruce Dickinson, as we are accustomed to. That said though, Bruce of course is growing older like the rest of us, and his voice is not surprisingly losing some of its edge on those high screams notable on earlier releases. But fans should not fear, as he still packs a punch, and still has one of the most distinctive voices in heavy metal. The lyrics see Iron Maiden tackling themes such as space travel, the growing economic struggle, the loneliness of touring and of course the topic of war makes a welcome return, an echoing theme from A Matter of Life and Death'. While some similarities remain from A Matter of Life and Death', the topics on The Final Frontier' are much more fantasy based. Songs such as The Man Who Would Be King' and Isles of Avalon' are prime examples of this. // 8

Overall Impression: A fantastic album, and well worth the wait. As a fan of Iron Maiden's newer work I was not disappointed with this release. Musically it is similar to A Matter of Life and Death, however the fantasy themes included in The Final Frontier make it a slightly more up-beat album. I say slightly', because songs such as When the Wild Wind Blows' and Mother of Mercy' reveal Maiden's darker side once again. Overall a must-have album for any collection. // 9

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overall: 8.7
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 23, 2010
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Sound: From the very first track this album with have fans surprised, and perhaps even a little confused. Those who had seen the video to the single The Final Frontier' will probably not be expecting to wait an extra four minutes for the song to kick in, but what a wait it is! Unlike anything Maiden have released before, the introduction (Satellite 15') marks a departure for the band, but one that is satisfying and has you wondering about the rest of the album. At that moment, my notion of what to expect from this release was severely challenged. El Dorado', the first release from the album, made available for download from the official Iron Maiden website, is possibly the weakest track of the selection. That isn't to say it is without its charm. After a few listens the riff begins to grow on you, and you can imagine it being played to a stadium full of screaming fans. Track 3, Mother of Mercy' does not dissapoint. After a minute and a half of Bruce singing over a beautiful clean riff the song kicks in. The solo's here are as can be expected, intricate and skilfully crafted. Coming Home' is an excellent track, featuring one of the best choruses on the album, and not a bad verse either. The track itself is a reminder of such songs as Out of the Shadows' and Children of the Damned', clean guitar verses with some fantastic solos. A track that is somewhat reminiscent of classic Maiden, The Alchemy' is the shortest song on the album and is a departure from the lengthy songs that the band have been writing over the past few years. Featuring a large section of guitar solos, Isles of Avalon' is guaranteed to please fans of old and new Maiden. Featuring a clean intro, which has become common in the band's newest releases, the song soon jumps into fifth gear. One of this reviewer's personal favourites, Starblind', following the clean intro, is a non-stop heavy metal ride. This track also sees Bruce at his best, pushing his vocals hard, and the results can clearly be heard. A beautiful clean section opens The Talisman', before, as in many Maiden songs, the full power of the band kicks in and it becomes an incredible track. A great example of the musical ability of all the band members. The penultimate track, The Man Who Would Be King' once again sees a clean intro open up into epic proportions. Another great track. Now for this reviewer's overall favourite. Coming in at over eleven minutes, When the Wild Wind Blows' is an epic track themed on nuclear war. The lyrics here are very well written and the lead guitar work here is some of the best on the album. // 9

Lyrics: This album boasts an impressive performance from Bruce Dickinson, as we are accustomed to. That said though, Bruce of course is growing older like the rest of us, and his voice is not surprisingly losing some of its edge on those high screams notable on earlier releases. But fans should not fear, as he still packs a punch, and still has one of the most distinctive voices in heavy metal. The lyrics see Iron Maiden tackling themes such as space travel, the growing economic struggle, the loneliness of touring and of course the topic of war makes a welcome return, an echoing theme from A Matter of Life and Death'. While some similarities remain from A Matter of Life and Death', the topics on The Final Frontier' are much more fantasy based. Songs such as The Man Who Would Be King' and Isles of Avalon' are prime examples of this. // 8

Overall Impression: A fantastic album, and well worth the wait. As a fan of Iron Maiden's newer work I was not disappointed with this release. Musically it is similar to A Matter of Life and Death, however the fantasy themes included in The Final Frontier make it a slightly more up-beat album. I say slightly', because songs such as When the Wild Wind Blows' and Mother of Mercy' reveal Maiden's darker side once again. Overall a must-have album for any collection. // 9

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overall: 8
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: colm c, on september 01, 2010
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Sound: When listening to this the newest outing by Iron Maiden you expect to hear their trademark sound and some listeners may be thrown by the intro but after their foray into dark ambiance they kick into what got them to album fifteen The Final Frontier. Maidens sound on this album is the classic metal sound which has served them well through the years. But they have obviously experimented with it on this album. Down tuned guitar work on the intro, acoustic guitars over distorted riffs in the title track but this experimentation doesn't take away from the Iron Maiden sound. They revisited the studio in which they recorded The Number Of the Beast in 1982. Their sound is so radically different today that I'm not even going to compare the two albums. Its the sound we've all come to love and respect but with some little nuances too. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are typical of Maiden at this point. Steve Harris leads the charge here again, writing and arranging probably all of the songs on this album. Although the subject matter can be cringe worthy at times and the lyrics can be kind of cheesy they are too well suited to the vibe of the album not to enjoy. But my one problem is they sometimes seem disjointed from the music itself as if the two were recorded differently and just placed over one another, El Dorado being the prime culprit in its verses. Bruce delivers a fantastic performance here too. His voice has definitely suffered from the years of abuse touring but his vocal performance is exceptional but did we expect less? I'm a fan of Dickinson anyway so I have to resist the fanboy urge to praise and be unbiased. Its not his strongest vocal performance in his career but as I've said for a man of 52 in a Metal band its exceptional and admirable. // 7

Overall Impression: Iron Maiden are a well established band in the spectrum of Metal and Hard Rock, so its only natural people are going to compare it too their older material and other bands doing similar projects. But this is such a different animal to the previous Maiden albums from the 2000 onward line up. Its a refreshing sound and a terrific album and is a progression that remind me why I'm a metalhead in the first place. The power, passion, excitement and raw aggressive energy that exudes here is astounding as these gents are hitting 52+. Its not perfect, not by a long shot. Its too long by about fifteen minutes, the problems I've mentioned above too also add to this sentiment. But I definitely feel that the pros here outweigh the cons, and its lack of perfection here adds to my love of it, it knows its not perfect but it stands out warts and all above many younger bands today with their modern production and technology. // 8

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overall: 9.3
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: KaganH, on october 04, 2010
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Sound: I have always loved Iron Maiden's ability to create songs that take a few listens to appreciate. Songs that grow and continue to surprise after many listens. The Final Frontier is the band's crowning achievement in that regard. Not quite as crunchy and in your face as the last 3 albums. It incorporates the feel of SSOASS with the progressive compositions of AMOLAD. The synthesizers are back in full force, and the guitar work is very layered. Utilizing all 3 talented guitarists allows the band to blend perfectly harmonized melodies with "punch in the gut" all out shredding. And unlike past works where there were breaks between the two, here it is all layered over each other and the progressions are near seamless because of this ability to weave everything together. Rather than abrupt jumps, there is a slow grabbing of your attention by a layered riff that sweeps you into the next segment so elegantly. Overall, this is a highly eclectic album, and there is no single sound or style that dominates. With one caveat: almost every tune here utilizes an introduction of some sort, and the focus seems to be on beauty and mood, before it takes you away to something completely different. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are a bit up and down. For the most part they do a great job of story telling. But at times, I find they tend to meander, without fully getting to the point. I've often found that Iron Maiden lyrics are a bit enslaved to the song's theme or story. At times it leads to awkwardness, but over time, you appreciate the uniqueness of it. While I agree with many who have said that Bruce Dickinson has lost some punch, I believe that his stylings remain brilliant. He is not afraid to push the envelope despite his age, and some of his work on this album leaves me curious as to how he will ever replicate it live. I am left breathless just listening to "Mother of Mercy", and I can't imagine how he will find the air to sing this live. Otherwise, I think the band's age is a blessing in disguise, allowing Dickinson to concentrate more on style and substance as opposed to just belting out screams a la NOTB. It is also refreshing to see the band continue to include more personal messages and emotional tones as in "Coming Home". // 8

Overall Impression: 30 years ago, I stopped at the local record store (kids, ask your parents what this is)on my way home from school. I saw a fearsome album cover with amazing artwork. The band was Iron Maiden. I dropped my remaining allowance on the counter and took this one home. After cleaning the dust off the needle and placing it on the vinyl, I was greeted by the ridiculously fast riffs of "Invaders". I was unmoved. Bear in mind, the typical metal of the time...AC/DC, Scorpions, Judas Priest, etc. "COTD" was cool with it's acoustic opening....so I kept listening. It was all interesting enough to keep me listening, but not quite grabbing me yet. At the very end, after listening to the longest song I'd ever heard, I found myself humming the "Hallowed" melody in my head. "What was that"? I put the needle back to the start of the song. It ends. I pick up the needle and put it back. Listen again. Holy Crap! "this is amazing" I think. For the next week, I rush home everyday to throw on my headphones and listen to the the entire album over and over. I discover Prisoner, 22 Acacia Avenue, Run to the Hills, etc. WIth each listen, I hear something new, something intriguing, and before long I'm thinking this is the most bad ass band EVER! It took me a little while to catch up to what these guys were doing that was so different for the time, yet incredibly tantalizing. I experienced this once again with Powerslave, and now with The Final Frontier. Your first listen will NOT do it justice. It is a complete "work of art" that will stand any test of time, and will continue to inspire musicians for decades. It is just not what you expect it to be, especially after the 1st couple of straightforward tracks. It seems to me that Iron Maiden have figured out that having 3 incrredibly talented guitarists lends itself to some experimental playing. To hear all 3 playing simultaneously, often in different time, and seemingly unconnected, is at first unnerving. Yet as you pull yourself away from it all, you realize that there is quilt of sorts being formed by these different pieces. There is an overriding ghost like melody that begins to take shape. Likewise the songs themselves at times seem to be in disheveled pieces, but they all ultimately come together to form something amazing. This is the beauty of Iron Maiden at their best. The songs grow on you incrementally. And it takes multiple listens to begin seeing the big picture. To compare it to any other Maiden album is a complete mistake. It is clearly Maiden, but it stands on its own. You have to see it that way in order to truly appreciate its brilliance. After all, why should Maiden copy early Maiden? Everyone else has already done that. In other regards, it's pretty classic Maiden. The way the songs create a certain mood, which can shift and flow with the story telling. In example, When the Wild Wind Blows has an upbeat, almost comical movement to it, all the while leading to a very dark message about Nuclear Proliferation. Upon researching, I learned that it is based on a 80's animated movie. An apparent art film of sorts which presents itself as a comedy, only to bring the viewer to a chilling, dark, and depressing end. This serves as an indication of the amount of thought that Iron Maiden put into their compositions. Each individual song has its own unique sound, feel, and rythym designed to bring the story to life. In my 40s now, I fully expect to be listening to this album 15 years from now and finding something new and intrigueing once again. It is classic. // 10

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overall: 9
The Final Frontier Reviewed by: guitfiddleRR, on october 07, 2010
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Sound: Ah yes! Finally, here it is. The long awaited (for me, anyways) fifteenth studio album and final frontier for Iron Maiden. I awaited this album impatiently for such a long time, so I am going to review it. First off, I am probably not the first to say this on UG, but the rumors are in fact, untrue. I have to admit that just the word "Final" in the albums title scared me. If this really was planned to be Iron Maiden's final album, the world really would be coming to an end in 2012. Luckily, all six band members have confirmed their want and will to continue recording and touring. This is a huge relief as I have not seen them live yet. Now, on to the album. This record actually reminds me of releases like "Somewhere In Time" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son". Much like those two records, this album has very large musical atmosphere to it. Most of the songs are lengthy, melodic and divided into parts and movements. This album definitely takes the form of a melodic theater piece, much like most other Maiden albums. I must say that speaking for guitar tone, this is one of Maiden's heaviest releases, possibly the heaviest. That was my immediate feeling upon hearing this record. The rhythm guitar tracks are very beefy and distorted, more so than other Maiden releases. They have the usual "New Maiden" three part guitar leads harmonized over these rhythms, bringing forth a sound unheard on the previous three records. The music is done well. The sound and space are both there, allowing the record to pull you in. There are plenty of traditional metal riffs found to drive the average head banging metal maniac, there is also fundamental experimentation and creativity to satisfy the craving of the intricately influenced musician. All in all, the sound is there, and it satisfies. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics have the same sort of depth and creativity that the music does. Fifteen albums in, on top of 30+ years of experience, Iron Maiden truly know how to produce Class A heavy metal. I have had several people tell me, before and after I heard this record, that they believe that Bruce Dickinson is beginning to lose elements in his powerful voice. After hearing this, I can't quite say that I agree. I just don't think this album was written specifically for an outstanding vocal performance. Also, there isn't a single part in this album where the vocal performance drops below the level of satisfaction. It is simply put, just not Dickinson's best recorded performance. However, it is still beyond excellent. Even if Dickinson is starting to lose it a little bit, I'd like to see Trivium, or Killswitch Engage, or Avenged Sevenfold try to top them. I didn't mean to dis anyones favorite groups right there, but my point is that Bruce Dickinson holds influence over heavy metal like Mozart and Beethoven hold influence over classical music. The lyrics are nothing short of deep, melodic, and awesome. Just like every other Maiden album. Seeing as this album was foreseen by Iron Maiden as the final album, the lyrical ideas revolve around finality, or lack thereof. This is in too many aspects to count. One prime example is in the final song "When The Wild Wind Blows" which depicts the 2012 phenomenon. There aren't too many solid speculations, its just an imaginative lyrical adventure, much like any good album should be. Don't ask me to define the message of this album for you. Listen to it yourself, let it take you on your own personal journey. // 9

Overall Impression: So, In my opinion, Iron Maiden have brought on an excellent new year for themselves. This definitely isn't my favorite Maiden record, or even my favorite "New Maiden" record, but I did love it, and I am glad I invested in it. "Somewhere In Time" was my first listen to the gods of metal that are Iron Maiden, and this album reminds me of that. My favorite selections are "Satellite 15...The Final Frontier" (which upon first look in the store, looked like "Satellite Is...The Final Frontier"), "Mother Of Mercy", "Coming Home", "Starblind", and "When The Wild Wind Blows", although much like any other Maiden record, the best way is to listen to it from start to finish. If you are a true Iron Maiden fan, you will buy this album. With or without my recommendation it will find its way into your collection. You know it will, and it will be worth it. Perfect nine all the way! // 9

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