Top positive review
177 people found this helpful
It's a grower...went from "meh" to "OH MY GOD" in about 5 listens!
on August 17, 2010
I will be the first to admit that I did NOT like this album very much the first time I heard it. The songs are long, very progressive, and not as straight-up "metal" as classic Maiden. But let me tell you that this album grew on me with each listen, and now, after about 5 or 6 listens...it is AMAZING! There are just so many great melodies all over this album, and the guitar solos are the best in a long time.
Stylistically, I would say this album does sound like a natural progression of all the "reunion" era albums (Brave New World and later), but also with hints of Somewhere In Time/Seventh Son era Maiden, and even a bit of Chemical Wedding/Tyranny of Souls era Bruce Dickinson solo material (especially Satellite 15 and Coming Home). One of my favorite things about The Final Frontier is that it brings back some of the '80s era clean guitar tone that is instantly recognizable from songs like Alexander the Great, and Infinite Dreams, that we really haven't heard much of since then. Also, Maiden has really relegated the harmony lead guitars to the background since The X-Factor, but with this album they are back a bit more prominently.
You have to go into this album with an open mind. Maiden is no longer just a metal band. They are a progressive metal band. The days of Powerslave are long gone. The songs are longer, more complicated, and less instantly catchy. But if you are willing to accept all of that, and put in your time to listen to this album several times carefully (preferably at full blast), there is MUCH to love here!
Finally, I have to get this off my chest. Maiden is now more than ever a thinking man's band. They are and have always been a mix of British rock, metal, and prog. They do not fit neatly into the narrow niche that "metal" has become over the years. Yes, they are still heavy a lot of the time, but they are also doing rock and folk influenced parts, drawing on influences like The Who, Wishbone Ash, and UFO. I bet a lot of the people slagging this album have never listened to those bands. I think a lot of the backlash against their recent stuff is from narrow minded metal heads who just want everything to be heavy and fast, and can't appreciate slower, lighter, more thoughtful material. If you like to hang out in a wife beater, you probably will not like this album. If you think it's cool to pound a bunch of cheap canned beer and then crush the cans on your forehead, look elsewhere. But if you actually appreciate GREAT MUSIC, whether it is heavy or not, then Maiden is still one of the greatest bands in the world and you will probably love this album!