Final Frontier Review
The Final Frontier… ominous words, no? Perhaps. But they are dramatic words and grandeur such as that has always been synonymous with Iron Maiden in their 30 plus year history of broad, widescreen pioneering of this genre of music that we all adore so. But, unfortunately, Maiden aren’t the super heroes that we viewed them as when we all first discovered their life altering music. They are in fact human… mortals like the rest us. It’s true, which means they can’t go on forever as much as we’d like them to. Steve Harris stated some moons ago that he ideally looked at Maiden releasing fifteen albums and The Final Frontier is the big one-five. But conversely Nicko McBrain has insisted on getting another album out of our would-be super heroes before they hang up their capes.
All this talk of curtain calls aside, you don’t need reminding of Maiden’s reputation and why they have such appraisal. Classic album after classic album, a folly here and there aside, is why. Since the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith for 2000’s mass spectacle comeback Brave New World, Maiden have enjoyed a comfy sit on metal’s throne. This was all accentuated by two more all killer records in Dance Of Death and A Matter Of Life And Death. So, you’ll be glad to know that on The Final Frontier the streak continues.
El Dorado, the first track released, may have faced a tepid response; while anything but poor it’s a flawed indication of the entire record. Opener, Satellite 15… The Final Frontier shows otherwise and is wholly emblematic of the sci-fi theme of The Final Frontier. All the vital elements of Iron Maiden are here. The Alchemist delivers with the frantic clash of twin guitar leads that we’ve all come to expect while conversely Coming Home treads in semi-ballad territory.
Bruce Dickinson shows that, while some of his peers have fallen prey to the rigours of time, he can still push himself vocally. Mother Of Mercy’s chorus is seismic and similarly Starblind’s vocal patterns, heightened by lush riffing, makes it a particular highlight of The Final Frontier.
The fact that a band of Maiden’s stature and universal admiration is still delivering top notch records is awe-inspiring. Granted, The Final Frontier struggles to hold its ground when staring, say, Powerslave or Piece Of Mind in the eye but that doesn’t take away from its entirely satisfying content. The last ten years of Maiden’s history have been nothing short of phenomenal in a return from their abysmal late 90s run. Solid, naysayer defying albums and vast tours has proved this and The Final Frontier is a continuation of that.