|Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
1. Satellite 15...The Final Frontier
2. El Dorado
3. Mother Of Mercy
4. Coming Home
5. The Alchemist
6. Isle Of Avalon
8. The Talisman
9. The Man Who Would Be King
10. When The Wild Wind Blows
After the overwhelmingly successful comeback that was ‘Brave New World’, the solid and often promising ‘Dance Of Death’ and immense, career-best-rivalling ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’, it was hard to see how Iron Maiden could possibly up the ante for album number 15, worryingly (although, it is now to be believed, not forebodingly) titled ‘The Final Frontier’. It’s no small secret that Maiden are in the midst of a second golden age right now, both in the studio and on the road, and if ‘The Final Frontier’ had indeed emerged as the Irons’ swansong, then it’s difficult to imagine them going out on a bigger high.
From the opening moments of surprisingly dark and experimental intro ‘Satellite 15’, any notions of a straight-up, weekend warrior-pleasing ‘Powerslave Part II’ are ripped to shreds in spectacular fashion. True, both the title track and in particular leading single ‘El Dorado’ are fairly standard Maiden fare by their own merits, but within the context of the album itself they serve a far greater purpose; gravitating towards a fearsome and varied midsection that includes the stirring ‘Coming Home’ and catchier number ‘The Alchemist’. By the time it comes to triumphant mega-anthem ‘The Talisman’ and the epic double-header of ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ and ‘Where The Wild Wind Blows’, the sheer scale of what Maiden have produced is difficult to take in in one fell swoop. Divisive isn’t the word; ‘The Final Frontier’ will be analysed, debated and, by those who know Maiden best, adored for decades to come.
Reviewed by Merlin Alderslade
‘The Final Frontier’ is out now on EMI