Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier [Mission Edition] (2010, Universal Music Enterprises)
1. “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier” … 8:40
2. “El Dorado” … 6:48
3. “Mother of Mercy” … 5:20
4. “Coming Home” … 5:52
5. “The Alchemist” … 4:28
6. “Isle of Avalon” … 9:06
7. “Starblind” … 7:48
8. “The Talisman” … 9:03
9. “The Man Who Would Be King” … 8:28
10. “When the Wild Wind Blows” … 11:00
Bruce Dickinson – Vocals
Dave Murray – Guitar
Adrian Smith – Guitar
Janick Gers – Guitar
Steve Harris – Bass, Keyboards
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Producer: Kevin Shirley & Steve Harris
Um, yeah. This “Mission Edition”? It’s basically the album in a tin instead of a jewel case with the band’s logo and the title of the album being absent from the album art and the CD artwork is different as well. So if you haven’t decided on which version of the album to pick up, I suggest you save a few bucks and stick with the “regular” version. There are some bonus features which you can unlock by going to http://www.ironmaiden.com/bonus and putting the disc in your computer but I’m not a fan of stuff like that. When I buy a special edition, I want bonus tracks not access to games, photos and videos on a website (at least put all of that ON the disc!).
By the way, I guess the idea of this “Mission Edition” tin is we’re looking out of a spaceship’s window. I initially tried to scan the booklet inside the tin case but it didn’t turn out so well:
The Final Frontier is an album that seems to have many Maiden fans divided. When you’ve got such a large following and have been a successful group for 30+ years, every new release is going to be analyzed, questioned and compared to the “classic” catalog. Before this album arrived in the mail, I read many reviews (from critics and actual fans) stating this album was the sound of a tired, repetitive and boring band. I read other reviews saying it’s a top three or top five Maiden album that is full of exciting music and that the band is admirably blazing new paths and taking chances with their music. Hm.
Despite owning the majority of Maiden’s catalog, I must confess I’m not a huge fan. Sure, I like them, but they wouldn’t crack the Top 20 as far as my favorite bands go. I’ve always thought many (not all) of their songs could be repetitive and their albums tend to drag. That said, I was still anticipating this release because they are legends and I recognize their contributions to heavy metal. I’ve been following the band since the Brave New World reunion album and the digital release of “El Dorado” sounded really promising, so I wasn’t going to stop following them now.
I guess one common complaint (or praise) I’m running across with other people is the progressive nature of this album. Well, other than the earliest records, they’ve always sounded like progressive metal to me. Especially since Brave New World, so I’m not sure why this is shocking people now. Someone put it best when they said Iron Maiden is no longer a heavy metal act and they are now a progressive hard rock act. This is true but I’ve felt that was the case for years. Anyone that turns in a 10-track album that clocks in around 80 minutes has to be progressive!
Still, they can churn out some really good rockers. “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier” is a great number (after we get through that way too long intro, seriously, they should’ve cut this into two different tracks) and “El Dorado” is the album’s bright spot, it’s really catchy and the most straightforward rocker of the bunch. Both of these songs stick with you. The rest of the album is mostly made up of mid-tempo rockers that all seem to have slow building intros. Again, standard Iron Maiden, in my opinion. In the middle of all of this is “Coming Home”, a ballad I’ve grown quite fond of.
So is this a classic Iron Maiden album? I don’t know, I’ll leave that up to the hardcore fanbase to decide but I do know that it’s a really good album and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It will probably my my Top 10 list for 2010 after all is said and done, if that tells you anything.
Highlights: “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier”, “El Dorado”, “Coming Home”, “The Alchemist”, “Isle of Avalon”, “The Talisman”