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!