Iron Maiden is a band that has been playing since 1971. Known for their hits such as Number of the Beast, The Trooper, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, they recently supplied the world with their newest album: The Final Frontier. While many had hoped that this album would have reanimated their glory of old, recalling their early hits, I’m afraid those many will be disappointed. While near the end of the album the songs began to improve, the first four songs–while some were thoroughly enjoyable–unfortunately showed the band’s attempts to delve into the hard rock genre rather than staying with what the people like and what the band does best, heavy metal.
The first and title song, Satellite 15… The Final Frontier, felt clunky and awkward, utilizing too many special effects, and trying one’s patience with its over 8 minute length and over 2 minute introduction. After this, one could pray that the album would become stronger and better. Fortunately it did, with the previous single-release song El Dorado, and with the fast-paced, exciting song Mother of Mercy, with its great riffs and guitar solo. Unfortunately, this series of good songs didn’t last as it was interrupted by Coming Home, which sounds like a bad imitation of a Megadeth song combined with another bad imitation of earlier Iron Maiden works. However all was not lost as they came back with The Alchemist, a song about Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly (two famous alchemists). It offered good fast-paced music and a catchy chorus that can easily get stuck in one’s head.
The follow-up songs, however, were quite frankly bland. Isle of Avalon bored me, while The Talisman offered two minutes of vocals with very little music before anything mildly good or exciting happened. Things did pick up when Stablind showed up with its riffs, good chorus, and near perfect vocals, but crashed to earth again with The Man Who Would Be King, an almost nonsensical sounding song that was once again at first filled with lyrics with practically no music, and afterwards consisted of completely repetitive sounds for a good 4 minutes.
After this quick series of disappointments the album closed with Where the Wind Blows. I am actually pleased to say that this last song was without a doubt one of the strongest songs on the entire album. I mean, sure, it did include Iron Maiden’s new habit of having some incredibly boring lyrics with barely any instrumentals, but it also without a doubt subsequently picked up incredibly well and gave one of the best musical experiences I’ve had since I first heard Megadeth.
All in all, despite its original sad premise, of watering down the band’s sound, the album is truly an able contribution to Iron Maiden’s works and is still a great work of metal. I greatly recommend purchasing the album and listening to it for yourself.