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A Fitting Finale (If it is to be one!),
This review is from: The Final Frontier (Audio CD)
Straight off the bat, I used to be a massive Maiden fan, my passion for them has dwindled over the years, particularly during the Blaze era, but I have faithfully bought every album that they have released, but I honestly think that they should now call it a day with recording new albums, and if they do decide to, then this will be a fitting (if not glorious) send off.
As someone who has grown up with Maiden (I went to the No Prayer On The Road Tour as a wide eyed 14 year old in 1990), I'm really impressed with the way they have adapted to new musical styles, managed to remain semi-current, whilst growing old gracefully in the public spotlight (unlike some other bands).
However this for me is the album where their age truly starts to tell, I'm a big fan of AMOLAD, but the one failing in that album is that it trotted instead of galloped, the galloping of the glory years was infections high energy make you want to headbang stuff and for me was the true Maiden hallmark, but whilst the riffs are still as good, the energy for me was lacking.
This album picks up from where AMOLAD left off, the songs are strong in structure, riffage, melody and although the hooks are hidden for the most part, they are well worth the time to unearth and this largely makes up for the lack of energy. But for me, I cannot reconcile this Maiden, to the Maiden of old. I know you would argue and say "they needed to progress" and "what do you expect, they are getting on a bit now", but I honestly beleive the spark is about to go, and I think this album is about the xenith of what they can acheive currently and I wouldnt want them to to be less than that.
In short, its a good strong album, the creativity is still there and although you will have to invest a lot more time into this to get the satisfaction that the first listen of say.... Seventh Son gave, the satisfaction is still there, if it galloped, 5 stars, but even the trot is slowly becoming a plod so 3 stars for me.
I just dont think there is anything left in the tank after this, which for me to say is very sad, and why I think this would be a good bookend to an absolutely fantastic 30 years of releasing albums.