The epic progressive metal direction has been plundered to death so thoroughly that Iron Maiden have become more predictable than ever, not to mention boring and powerless.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Iron Maiden
ALBUM: The Final Frontier
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Bruce Dickinson – vocals * Adrian Smith, Janick Gers, Dave Murray – guitars * Steve Harris – bass * Nicko McBrain – drums
TRACK LISTING: 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
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Let’s be honest, ever since Bruce Dickinson rejoined Iron Maiden in 1999 the band has been pretty much awful, even if I have given them positive reviews, which looking back was misguided. I haven’t listened to 2006’s ‘A Matter Of Life and Death’ since ’06 itself and when details began to emerge about ‘The Final Frontier’ it was no surprise that the band had conjured up another 78 minute album with epics by the truckload.
The epic progressive metal direction has been plundered to death so thoroughly that Iron Maiden have become more predictable than ever, not to mention boring and powerless. Does this album stop the trend begun so many years back? Not at all. In fact it just confirms how far past their sell by date Maiden are.
Deciphering these unnecessarily long songs is almost impossible. Steve Harris’ fetish with Iron Maiden’s progressive metal stance has led to a host of faceless songs, with 600 tangents in each track. It’s a far cry from the days when each Maiden album had two classics from the onset. Dickinson’s vocals are among his most tired yet and it’s pretty obvious he’s done with the whole thing.
Blind Maiden devotees will love it though, even though ballad ‘Mother Of Mercy’ is far worse than ‘Wasting Love’ and can’t come close to ‘Como Estais Amigo’s’ from the Blaze Bayley era, which was far more in keeping with vintage Maiden than this nonsense. As always there’s a token four minute ‘fast’ track, this time ‘The Alchemist’, which is identical to anything off the last three albums.
I can’t quite comprehend who will be excited by the nine minute ‘The Talisman’, which opens with the usual acoustic intro before leading into ‘heavier’ sections. Are these guys taking the piss? I’ve heard this type of song so many times I can’t separate one from the other anymore. It’s a case of repeat for ‘The Man Who Would Be King’, slow intro, orchestral background, lulling sounds, then heaviness. But heaviness of the weakest kind. This isn’t even metal.
Then to top it off there’s eleven minute closer ‘Where The Wild Wind Blows’ which follows the same formula, again. This is almost impossible to listen to because of the repetitiveness of the sound. Where’s the heaviness? I can’t imagine anyone wanting to hear this live. Tracks like ‘Starblind’ and ‘Isle of Avalon’ wander aimlessly, lacking melody or general purpose.
Supposedly there’s a three man guitar army too, but you’d be lucky to hear one with this weak, thin production that’s become Kevin Shirley’s trademark with Maiden.
This review may appear totally unfavorable, but it truly is the nadir of Iron Maiden’s once legendary career. Just how far they’ve plummeted is almost unfathomable when you hear the mess here. No track stands out and historians will surely have to reconsider how superior albums like ‘The X Factor’ and ‘No Prayer For The Dying’ are by comparison.
All I want is another ‘Sun and Steel,’ too much to ask these days with all the pompous, overblown lyrics. If this is it for Iron Maiden then I won’t be complaining. A staggering flop of collosal proportions.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)