Release Date: Aug 17, 2010
Record label: EMI
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Hair Metal
When you follow a band for a long time, there comes a point where you know their “classic era” has long since passed, and even though you still eagerly buy their albums 25, 30 years into their career, all you basically ask is that they come through with new music that’s enjoyable enough and that they don’t embarrass themselves too much. Such is the case with most “legacy” acts in metal; so many veteran bands are still doing their thing, and although Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Motörhead, Deep Purple, UFO, Scorpions, and others are still putting out solid music, they’re not exactly setting the world afire like they all did in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Which, in the opinions of many, is perfectly fine.
Rock Sound's review of Iron Maiden's latest opus.. With the news that this isn’t Iron Maiden’s last hurrah on record, the album’s Trekkie title alluding instead to an ostensibly intergalactic sci-fi concept, fans of the Irons can pack a celebratory peace-pipe with dilithium crystals, slip into their denim-patched space suits and prepare for an 80-minute widescreen metal odyssey. Over a career chaptered by 15 studio albums in 30 years, Iron Maiden have always gone large with their ideas, but since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to the fold in 99, the band have sauced their patented gallop with a generous dollop of musical adventurism.
When Iron Maiden's classic lineup famously reunited in the year 2000, their first new album, the quite excellent Brave New World, neatly reconnected both musicians and fans with the band's heritage, while simultaneously promising a prosperous future still to come. However, their next two efforts didn't fare quite as well, and whether Maiden was choosing to repeat the same moves without as much imagination or consistency on 2003's Dance of Death, or becoming bogged down in tiresome prog rock excess on 2006's desultory A Matter of Life and Death, it seemed that neither playing it safe nor taking risks was a surefire recipe for success anymore. And so the heavy metal icons took an extra year -- for them, a record-breaking four -- to work on their fourth post-reunion opus, and 15th career studio album overall, 2010's The Final Frontier, which, like many of their original mid-'80s classics, was recorded at legendary Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas, and aimed to reestablish an ideal balance of past and future, familiarity and freshness, complexity and immediacy.
Another few years roll by, and as sure as night follows day, a new Iron Maiden album appears. They've hardly been quiet since A Matter of Life and Death in 2006, but it's been a long time since they've been in the limelight with new material. Accordingly, The Final Frontier has sold very well indeed, with their rabid fanbase hungry for new material.
What cheeky scamps Iron Maiden are, pretending to be all industrial metal on the opener of their 15th album (before reverting to something more familiar, naturally). They must have known it would give their fans palpitations – and it's not the last of the surprises either. Of course, Maiden are at their most effective when they stick to their galloping bass and duelling guitars formula (as in The Alchemist), but it's the wild deviations (the lush prog of the sublime Starblind; the genuinely affecting "ballad" Coming Home) that are truly compelling.
A remarkable achievement from the metal titans. Greg Moffitt 2010 As metal moments go, they don’t get much bigger than the arrival of a new Iron Maiden album. Expectations are always huge even if they’re not always met. But then there are almost as many visions of a perfect Iron Maiden album as there are Maiden fans, and the band have never, ever sought to please anyone other than themselves.
Having flagged any remaining uncharted territory on Flight 666, Iron Maiden mobilizes The Final Frontier. The British troopers' 15th studio album, a deep space oddity only a galaxy removed from the Sword's Warp Riders, matches the renewed vigor of millennial reboot Brave New World. Opening preamble "Satellite 15 ... the Final Frontier" sets the controls for stadium bombast before "El Dorado" jet-sets a classic 1980s gallop, an arms race matched only by "The Alchemist." Maiden's triple-guitar front overthrows Bruce Dickinson's narrative drama on the fantastical "Isle of Avalon" and emotive power ballad "Coming Home." Nearly 77 minutes, The Final Frontier calls for a harsher edit and, of course, Maiden's early punk tenacity.