Battousai Reviews The Final Frontier by Iron Maiden

Here is battousai. The type of music I enjoy the most is the heavy metal, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Metallica, etc.  Of course I enjoy other things as well… not necessary heavy stuff.  It’s been seven or eight years since I enjoy it and it was a friend of mine that introduced me the Iron maiden, my favorite band since then…

I’ll talk a little bit of their newest album “The Final Frontier”. It is their 15th studio album. If you are a Maiden fan, you know that their sound suffered a lot of changes, just listen to the studio discography and you’ll see. I’m not saying their better or worse, just that they have changed. Personally I like all of their songs that I know (and I don’t know all of them).  I won’t compare the different formations of the band through time because it’s a huge waste of time, but these formations have different influences and experiences, and so different results. For example, the songs with the singer Paul or Bruce or blaze are very different. Due to Bruce powerful voice and style lot of people say that blaze bailey or Paul suck and stuff like that. I disagree. I see Bruce as the best option for Iron Maiden, I think for this particular band Dickinson singing is the ideal. However he can’t sing some songs better than blaze such as “lord of the flies”. It’s good, but blaze’s version is better if you listen to his career in “blaze” ou will see he is an amazing singer. But that’s not my point here.

As I said, Iron has changed a lot through time and that is natural especially for a band that has such fame and career time, 30 years. In this album the formation is this: Bruce Dickinson (vocal), Nicko McBrain (drums), Janick Gers, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith (guitars) and of course Steve Harris (bass). The final frontier has sci-fi theme and that’s very interesting; I see that as an attempt of approaching new themes for the albums.  Most of the previous were based on books or myths, old tales and even dreams, mainly dreams I think. I’d say the final frontier is a really good and unique album, not their master piece though and it’s not that old heavy metal from the 80’s, but that anyone who likes the band can tell. And it is not from this album, it’s been a while they don’t have the same style of the golden years. But I won’t say they’re worse because they are not, they have another style now, some old fan may not like it or the new fan might not like the old but I like all the albums I know. I think that Bruce’s influence it higher than never because some songs reminds me a lot of his solo career. But let’s not lose our focus. The lyrics are not that strong and I actually haven’t paid that much attention to it. I won’t talk that much about the songs one by one because I don’t want to spoil it in case you want to buy the album.

The first track “Satellite 15…The Final Frontier” basically has two parts, the beginning seems to be an introduction to the environment, can’t tell exactly. But then the real song begins. It’s a very interesting song although it not a “Riff style” song. Its “simple”, Bruce sings over a rhythm and then an amazing guitar solo. Don’t know about you, but the combination of the guitarists is perfect. You can say when another guitar continues the previous solo but they always sound very continuous and awesome.

The second song “El Dorado” went for a similar direction but it’s a little bit more complex. Harris’s bass fulltime presence marks the music along with a very addicting rhythm that I really like. I see the lyrics and as the main part here. This one reminds me a lot of Bruce’s solo career, but as I like that, the only thing I’d say is that could have some more riffs. Three guitarists as skilled as those are able to work on that. But the solo…insane he seems to escape from the standard, using what it seems to be an unusual scale and it sounds fantastic, although it has “Bruce Dickinson” all over its face.

The third song, “Mother of Mercy” has gone to a different way. It’s much more than rhythm + vocal + solo. It has an opening riff that brings us to the Dance of Death age of maiden or at least brings me there (and that one is a great album). Less distortion in the guitars is seen in beginning of the song and gives a special mark in this particular song. But later it gets a little bit more distortion, especially in the chorus. Remarkable song this one. The song has 5min20sec but the way it’s built gives me the impression that is longer. Normally that’s a bad thing, but not here, in order to a song looks like is longer than it is there are two options: or it’s really boring or very well worked, which is the case here.

The forth song “Coming Home” starts to remind a little bit some of the old iron, but with slower riffs. I think that the riffs could be a little more explored in this song, or explored in a different way because the rhythms again brings me back to Dickinson’s solo career. That’s not a negative point, but it could be a bit different. The guitar solos….very very inspiring, sounds very natural during the song and perfect timing.

“The Alchemist” is the 5th song. This song is interesting because it has some different construction. It has some melodic riff played together with rhythms and vocals and it gives a special touch. This song is great but could be excellent if it had some more variety. A little more work could lead to an extraordinary song such as “The Wicker Man”. I like that type of mixture between rhythm and vocals. I think that it could be used just a little more creativity to explore the rhythm-riff thing in some parts.

The 6th is “Isle of Avalon” and I right now can´t link that to any other song. I really liked this one. It’s different and refreshing. I see here a lot more creativity on the structure. I hear a different use of the chords. I think that those who enjoy this album would like to hear this one on the show. That’s not a “Fear of the Dark” where everybody knows the lyrics and sings along. It’s one track I’d enjoy live.

The next one is “Starblind”. This is in the same line as the previous one. Even though is a great song, it’s very balanced:  vocals, rhythms, riffs, solos. I just think a more powerful bass would fit well in some parts that it’s missing. No other negative think about that. This song is always surprising every time you hear it. You always hear something new. This should be great live as well. Very exciting track.

Now the 8th “The Talisman” creates an acoustic atmosphere and its very interesting the second acoustic the band made (the other one I know is “The Journeyman”). And it’s very good the acoustic song, very pleasant to hear. Then the acoustic just vanishes and a galloped bass rises giving the song a whole new face. But it’s not galloped the rest of the song. It has different rhythms during the song and that’s one of the things that make this another great song.

Here is the 9th, “The Man Who Would Be King” a song that basically seems to be a tale being singed ate first. The instrumental starts with a clean guitar (but not acoustic) playing a nice harmony/ melody. Then a distortion guitar appears playing this “looping” riff and it sounds great. It brought me back a little bit of the “Dance of Death” album. It has cool riffs, rhythm and solos along with Bruce’s powerful vocals. It’s a great song.

The last one, “When the Wild Wind Blows”, with 11 minutes it’s a different song. I can’t really compare to nothing right now. There is a clean guitar melody with the vocals, and it works well, but that’s not the kind of thing you expect from Iron Maiden. It’s a very good song, and I really enjoy listening to it. I felt like it was refreshing. The combination works just fine, but maybe it just hadn’t to be that long. On the other hand it probably wouldn’t have the same effect.

Well…I think we went a little bit through the album. I hope you decide to buy it and give it a chance. I just tried to give an general idea of the record, you’re not supposed to wait exactly what I described here. Just listen to it and form your own opinion about it. Personally I say it’s a great CD, I really enjoy it, even if it’s not perfect. And again, beware it’s not the same old Maiden of the 80’s. What doesn’t make the album good or bad, am I right?

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