01. Satellite 15….The Final Frontier
02. El Dorado
03. Mother Of Mercy
04. Coming Home
05. The Alchemist
06. Isle Of Avalon
08. The Talisman
09. The Man Who Would Be King
10. When The Wild Wind Blows
Reviewing Iron Maiden is always a challenge, how do you judge a new album from such a monumentally important band? Do you try and compare it to the back catalogue or, because of the bands size, take each album as an individual cog of the big machine that is Iron Maiden? It’s a tough obstacle to get over – but regardless of how you look at it, The Final Frontier is one hell of an album that is sure to make any Heavy Metal fans top 10 albums of the year.
I personally think it’s only fair to judge the band on their recent material, in that sense the fifteenth studio album from the veteran British metalers falls somewhere in-between Brave New World and A Matter of Life And Death, cherry picking the best elements from each while injecting some of the classic Iron Maiden punch and rush of blood to the head energy that they do oh-so well.
Despite the fact that it’s their longest studio album to date, clocking in at just under 77 minutes, it doesn’t drag it’s heals as much as AMOLAD, never resorting to retreading the same chorus/riff structure that so much of their previous effort tormented us with. No instead, the riffs are back! The melody and harmonies from the three guitarists feels natural this time around, nothing feels engineered – it’s an album from the heart of Iron Maiden, them repaying fans for sticking with them still into a new decade.
The choruses feel massive and there will be plenty of times where you’ll find yourself with a massive grin plastered over you face, Dickinson’s taking names and kicking ass with this one –his vocals are ball tinglingly good.
On the most part it’s an album full of great tunes, taking the choruses, fun, urgency and power of BNW and masterfully merging it with the progressive, epic elements of AMOLAD. For the most part it works well, for every poor song like Coming Home and the completely unnecessary 11-minute When The Wind Blows, you get two absolute head-smashing screamer. The Talisman and title track The Final Frontier are sure to go down as live classics; The Talisman especially is one of the songs of the year – a fucking screamer!
All in all if you enjoy Iron Maiden then missing this would be like unforgivable. It’s a grower for certain, but the more I listen, the more I get completely engrossed in the overall sound and atmosphere of the album. It’s dripping with passion, Iron Maiden have given two fingers to the doubters.
Let’s hope this isn’t the Final Frontier for the band, because clearly they still have many other universes to explore.
-Josh “Origami Kid” West