Category Archives: HEAVY METAL
…yet still linked thematically to what I’ve been working on. Not a real surprise.
Viking Metal. Pirate Metal. Cowboy Metal. Yes, there’s a metal for that. A dollar says Ninja Metal is a thing.
If the art bugs you too much, there’s always this version, which just has a picture of the band in their costumes and stylish hats. Fuck, now I want a stylish hat.
Bunch of their albums are on Spotify and MOG, to boot.
Over their lengthy history, the German metal juggernaut Blind Guardian has progressed through speed metal, power metal, and progressive-power, with a notable symphonic overtone. Because of this, fans fall into three loose groups, each ardently arguing that their view is superior. 1.) Those who love the old-school ‘80s speedy/thrashy albums, through Imaginations From the Other Side or so. 2.) Those who love Nightfall in Middle Earth and consider it the pinnacle of the band’s career. 3.) Those who love A Night at the Opera and the later albums, the ones with more orchestrations and progressive-metal vibes and less of the speed metal assault.
To get my views out-of-the-way… Nightfall is the best album of their career, and one of the best albums in metal history, and anyone who says otherwise is some kind of basement-dwelling Mongoloid failing to troll properly. At the same time, I was introduced shortly after Night at the Opera was released, and consider it my favorite, even though it is loaded with flaws (the first half of the album is cloned filler… but good cloned filler). I’ve also got a growing appreciation for the first two albums from the late ‘80s, when ‘80s speed metal was still ‘80s speed metal and didn’t need a “back-to-the-eighties power metal” genre attempting to recapture the old glory of ’80s speed metal. Honestly, I don’t see the point in all the infighting, probably because I like the hateful, hateful Night at the Opera as well as the old stuff newer fans usually fail to acknowledge.
Check out the awesome retro covers for Iron Maiden’s new album, The Final Frontier. I really dig the comic style, which would fit in great in an old ’70s-80s issue of Starblazer or 2000 AD. Also dig the fake fade rings and torn edging right where a real 45 sleeve would wear out.
I’ve been listening to the album since it hit stores on August 17, and still haven’t been able to finalize my opinion about it. This is a hard album to get into, somewhat of a letdown considering the previous entry, A Matter of Life and Death, became one of my favorite Maiden albums after the first listen. This isn’t to say Final Frontier is a bad album; it’s good, damn good at points.
Quite simply, it’s a demanding album, and parts of it are slowly growing on me. “Mother of Mercy” is a nice rocker along the lines of Dickinson’s better mid-90s solo work. “The Alchemist” is strangely catchy, with its fast pace and ’80s-Maiden-done-2010 feel. “Isle of Avalon” is a flowing track, the epic of the album, featuring some sick solos. Between its prog overtones and the Arthurian fantasy theme, it’s an idea more fitting to prog-power bands like Blind Guardian, but it still works well for Maiden. And “Coming Home” is a solid, wave-your-lighters-in-the-air ballad, its soaring chorus sure to make a presence at future Maiden tours. The rest of the tracks need a few more listens before I’m totally sold on them yet.
So, it’s not a bad album, but not an easily accessible album. Fans expecting Powerslave 2010, or another Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, aren’t looking in the right direction. And while it shares the “reborn” Maiden vibe with Brave New World and A Matter of Life and Death, it is still notably distant from them in feel and sound. The Final Frontier is worth picking up, but will tax you for several spins; don’t expect to be rockin’ on the way back from Best Buy, but expect a lot of rewarding playtime once you get a firm handle on it.
Up The Irons!