52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
The Final Frontier,
This review is from: The Final Frontier (Audio CD)
Got mine early in the post - still can't believe that! Great stuff Amazon! Well, it's been nearly a three weeks since the album was launched, and I feel an update is in order on my thoughts on the album. While not quite as instant as "Brave New World" or as deep as "A Matter Of Life of Death", I can say it's better then the excellent, but slightly patchy "Dance of Death", the songs have reallt grown on me, many where in the first place I didn't think much of them, now I think they're awesome! Everyone is on top form, with some truly inspired guitar work from Adrian, Dave and Janick (many of the guitar licks I can't get out of my head!), plain awesome vocals from Bruce, the great chugging bass from Steve, and Nicko being well Nicko, which equals the best drummer in the business today. Special note must go to the front cover which is probably going to become one of the all time greats (got my Final Frontier T-shirt ready for the tour!!)
The first 5 tracks are definetly the "singles" songs, many destined to become concert classics, especially the title track with it's strange, kick ass opening before launching into an awesome piece of classic Maiden, "El Dorado" which grows on every listen (BTW it sounds way better then the free MP3 given away on the website) and "The Alchemist", which is a classic piece of triple axe attack . While at first I claimed "Mother of Mercy" and "Coming Home" were the least memorable tracks originally, I've found these are the ones that have grown on me the most - especially "Coming Home" which I think has the best, most memorable chrous on the album. All in all, the first half never lets up offering superb editions to the Maiden catalogue.
On recent listens I've found that the middle lags a little - "Isle of Avalon" in particular, mainly due to lack of a good chorus or a guitar hook, and feels like a couple of chorus could have been cut - not to say that's it's bad or anything, it's a very well played and powerfully sung piece and has a really cool opening riff, but for me personally on an album as great as this, this is the only one that drags it down, in way that "Brave New World" and "A Matter Of Life and Death" never had. I think part of the problem is that they try to fit too many lyrics into the song, which ironically for a song that is 9 minutes, doesn't really have a chance to breath. "Starblind" is an improvement, offering a very cool opening riff, with a great Dickinson chorus, and it links in with the whole space theme of the album. Still they're the weakest of the album - a shame considering the rest of the album has such momentum - but who knows a month's time I could have completely changed my mind about them and think they are just as great as the rest of the album!
However, the record earns back all it's accolades with the final 3 tracks, which all pass the 8 minute mark. These are some of the most complex songs Maiden have ever produced and are simply stunning, especially the final track "When The Wild Wind Blows". Coupled with the epic "The Talisman" and "The Man Who Would Be King" (Probably got my fav guitar sections on the whole album), the closing songs more then make up for the album's lagging middle, and in it's self earns the album five stars. The songs deal with classic Maiden themes of war, death, redemption and adventure, with stunning fantasy/sci-fi imagery to boot. To say the final tracks are dazzling is an understatement, and ones that could very well go down in Metal history. As for "When The Wild Wind Blows" I honestly think it's up there with the classic closers of past Maiden albums, such as "Hallowed Be Thy Name" or "To Tame A Land", and leaves you with an extended chill down your spine, similar to "A Matter Of Life and Death"'s closer "The Legacy". And that riff...man this one is going to become a classic - can't wait to hear it live!! The final three tracks completely save the album from maybe a 4 star review, and boot it right into 5.
In an age where metalcore is taking over and older bands are struggling to find their place, it's truly refreshing that a band like Maiden are still around to show how far the genre can be pushed, while putting their own unique stamp on it. Many older bands could just keep touring with the old songs and be very successful, yet Maiden are one of the few older bands still pushing the limits in their new albums, and not digging up the bones of the past. Despite a lagging middle, "The Final Frontier" is proof of this - long live Maiden!
1. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier - 10/10
2. El Dorado - 10/10
3. Mother of Mercy - 9/10
4. Coming Home - 10/10
5. The Alchemist - 9/10
6. Isle of Avalon - 7/10
7. Starblind - 8/10
8. The Talisman - 10/10
9. The Man Who Would Be King - 10/10
10. When The Wild Wind Blows - 10/10
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Aug 2010 14:04:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Aug 2010 14:07:07 BDT
Mr Blackwell says:
excellent service getting it before release date,your right it does grow with every listen.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2010 23:15:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Aug 2010 23:17:08 BDT
D. P. Lomax says:
well said, this is a definite grower. after 3 listens its starting to hit the spot. I detested dance of death from the first few listens but after time it became a favourite i dare say this will be the case again. well done maiden for pushing forwards each time and not sitting in an 80s mire. there will always be folk that can't move beyond their fondness of maiden's classic 80s stuff and will berate anything new, but who cares. i for one feel lucky maiden can still make such great music. by the way the ltd edition tin is really bad :) think i should have just got a jewel case.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Aug 2010 17:10:33 BDT
Chris Wilson says:
I had a similar case to Dance of Death - I didn't think much of Brave New World on my first listen, mostly because I was feeling ill at the time and I couldn't get into it, but now I think it's one of the best :) And I completely agree with you - I like the fact the band have experimented - at least they've tried doing something different and I think it's worked out really well. Look at Judas Priest's Nostrodamus - a symphonic metal opera about a fortune teller?!? Again, that recieved a mixed reaction, but it took a lot of guts from the band to make an album like that and not do British Steel Vol. 2. And all these people complaining about the fact they have changed their sound for the classic 80's then I say look at Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son - they're a completely different sound to the early records, and now they are considered classics of the genre - I feel The Final Frontier and all the modern Maiden albums are destined to this. I really do think if Seventh Son was released now then the fan reaction would be split like it has been for Final Frontier, because some would be expecting a similar sounding record to Number of the Beast - even back in the late 80's they were chaging it up - a true testament to the band. Like I said in my review at least they are trying something new, and even if it didn't work for some fans, then the band should absolutly credited for daring to go beyond the final frontier (Man that was a lame pun :P) And yes I agree the special edition looks pretty lame =) when they first annouced it was like "Right, not going to pre-order that one =)
Posted on 25 Sep 2010 17:36:52 BDT
N. Wills says:
Absolutely spot on review there Chris, couldnt agree with you more. You're review is very well written and totally sums up the way I feel about this really very good album. As a life long Maiden fan I am always apprehensive when a new album comes out in case its not what I expected and I dont like it. Total relief then that this will surely become an epic, especially with the three awesome tracks at the finish. Totally agree with you're ratings for each track, I would however have to give 11/10 for When the Wild Wind Blows!!!!!
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