The fifteenth full-length studio album by legendary British Heavy Metal band.
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, 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.
This is an album of hard-hitting, adventurous Epic Metal in the way that only they can deliver it. The most amazing thing about this is probably Bruce Dickinson, who gives one of the best performances of his career on here. True, he doesn’t sound as young as he did on "Seventh Son" and "Piece Of Mind", but "The Final Frontier" is a swansong of sorts. The man is simply on fire here, singing his heart out on every single track. His vocal lines here seem to have been given a lot more attention than on the last few albums, as this is a heavily theatrical and stylized performance that really elevates the album to another platform altogether.
The rest of the band are no slouches, however, as they have combined their creative talents to form a gestalt of majestic Maiden-style epics. Unlike the modernized and often gloomy direction their last few albums took, "The Final Frontier" soars and gallops with a newfound flame and energy that is, in the end, a kind of amalgam of their 80s albums’ styles all at once. Finally we have an album with songs that play out like a storybook of sorts, taking the listener to all different places.
This is Iron Maiden on full power. They’ll never return to the magic of their 80s days – that was something unique, and something that doesn’t happen often. But with this album they prove that they are not stagnating, and although they have to work a little harder at it now, they still have it in them to produce really first rate music anyway. "The Final Frontier" still brings Iron Maiden closer to their aesthetic legacy and triumphant year 2000 rebirth than its two predecessors. "The Final Frontier" will keep you coming back again and again with its masterful hooks and enveloping atmosphere. And, at this stage in their career, Iron Maiden knows that nothing is more important than giving fans, what they want and expect. So go buy this album right now; you will not regret it!!
The album peaked at No. 1 in 28 countries. This included the United Kingdom, where it became the band's fourth release to top the UK Albums Chart following 1982's "The Number Of The Beast", 1988's "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" and 1992's "Fear Of The Dark". On top of this, "The Final Frontier" also charted at No. 4 in the United States, marking their highest placement on the Billboard 200, in addition to gaining the band their first Grammy Award in the Best Metal Performance category for the song "El Dorado", released as a free download on 8 June 2010.
Iron Maiden LLP/EMI, 2010 (50999 6477722 1). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Satellite 15... The Final Frontier 08:40
2. El Dorado 06:49
3. Mother Of Mercy 05:20
4. Coming Home 05:52
5. The Alchemist 04:29
6. Isle Of Avalon 09:06
7. Starblind 07:48
8. The Talisman 09:03
9. The Man Who Would Be King 08:28
10. When The Wild Wind Blows 10:59
Total playing time: 76:34 min.