Final Frontier is the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden’s long awaited tribute to Star Trek! Lol, no. It’s the 15th studio album of original material by the juggernaut that is Iron Maiden. released on August 13, 2010 in Germany and Finland, August 17 in the United States, and August 16 worldwide. At 76 minutes and 34 seconds, it is the band’s longest studio album to date. It is their first album since the release of A Matter of Life and Death in 2006, the longest gap to date between two consecutive Iron Maiden studio albums.
At one point in time it seemed, mainly due to an interview with bassist & band leader Steve Harris, that this would be the legendary band’s final swansong. Harris stated in an interview that he had always imagined that Maiden would put out 15 albums. The titles of the album, tour, and opening track fuelled further rumours that this would be the band’s final album. However Harris has since stated that he hopes that there will be more albums.
Satellite 15 sounds like nothing that we have ever heard from Maiden before. It starts out with some electro noise before the drums start pounding. Nicko McBrain at his bombastic best. I swear that this guy is one of the top 10 best drummers of all time. The guitars start their wailing and the vocal melody sounds weird. It depicts the may day of a space traveler whose ship has gone of course and who is desperately trying hard to control it. However we soon segue into Final Frontier, a track with a great rhythm. This should be a crowd favourite soon. Lyrically it’s about the explorer coming to terms with his impending death and having no regrets. As his time approaches he relives his past glory and only wishes that he could say goodbye to his family one last time. El Dorado is a monster of a song, full on Maiden with no holds barred. The song is the band’s thirty-sixth single, and the first from the album. It addresses the greed & lust for money and power.
Mother Of Mercy is another one of what Maiden are famour for – an anti-war song. It tells us about the destruction of destruction and pleads to us to have mercy. Battlefields & it’s casualties are painted in a somber hue. Coming Home seems to be a homage to their native land of Britain and the feelings that one get when reaching back to one’s homeland. Compared to the rest of the album it is the ballad. We pick up the pace once again as The Alchemist gallops on – the story of John Dee & his “strange alchemy” with Edward Kelly. At a little over 9 minutes Isle Of Avalon starts of the longer section of the album. It starts off slow, building momentum as it struts along. It’s an epic track. Starblind follows a somewhat similar pattern, although it doesn’t simmer for as long. Religion an humanity is the main theme over here.
The Talisman is a great tale about the uncertainty that affects the life of a man traveling in a ship on the seas. Just as the rough part of the sea journey begins the man prays that he lives to tell the tale of his trip. Most Iron Maiden fans know of their lyrical inspiration from movies but I’m not sure if this one is one of them. The Man Who Would Be King is almost 8 and a half minutes long and features tandem guitar melodies. And with the final 11 minutes of this mammoth 76 min cd, we come to When The Wild Wind Blows – a wind of change, the coming of the end of life on the earth and the lyrical description of the catastrophe is mind-blowing and lucid. This is the kind of song that only Iron maiden can do and boy do they deliver. Stand back for the music video for the title track.