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Albums Reviews

Iron Maiden

The Final Frontier
[Four stars]

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Sep 10, 2010

For a band to have been around for 35 years is impressive enough. And for a band to come up with consistently fantastic music that many years later is rather rare. Iron Maiden ”“ one of the pioneering bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement in the late Seventies ”“ show they are on top of their game with the release of their 15th studio album last month. The Final Frontier, clocking in at 76:34 is the longest album from the band, with only one song below the five-minute mark, and easily among their more adventurous ones.

The album kicks off with ”˜Satellite 15”¦ The Final Frontier,’ which is actually two separate songs joined together. Of all the songs on this album, ”˜Satellite 15”¦’ is the only one I didn’t know what to make of, thanks to a distorted and rumbling bassline, squealing guitars, crunchy powerchords and tribal drums. It just seems like an extended, and perhaps unnecessary, intro. But soon enough, vintage Maiden kicks in with ”˜The Final Frontier.’ Vocalist Bruce “Air Raid Siren” Dickinson navigates the high registers effortlessly, the guitarist trio of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers lays down the Iron Maiden sound, as does the galloping rhythm section of bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain. ”˜The Final Frontier,’ along with ”˜Coming Home’ and ”˜The Alchemist’ are the three songs on the new album that are in the Eighties Maiden vein.

The band continues its magic on ”˜Coming Home,’ and on the first single, ”˜El Dorado,’ perhaps the strongest song on the new album ”“ and the one destined to be a classic a few years hence. In fact, I stick my neck out when I say this, but a decade or two from now, The Final Frontier will definitely find space right next to Iron Maiden’s classic Eighties albums. Songs like ”˜Isle of Avalon,’ ”˜The Talisman’ and the 11-minute long ”˜Where the Wild Wind Blows’ are all unmistakably Maiden, yet their uncharacteristic lengths allow for a slightly more experimental sound. While some reviewers have called this sound “prog,” I wouldn’t. This is just Iron Maiden in 2010. Be patient enough and The Final Frontier will suck you in.

Key Tracks: ”˜El Dorado,’ ”˜Isle of Avalon’

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