Five years later: The Final Frontier revisited

Five years later, what do you think of the Final Frontier


  • Total voters
    121

MaidenHeaven

Trooper
I wish the production was better, but that criticism is one I've had for the last few albums.

Overall, The Final Frontier is decently fine. There aren't any songs I dislike, I thought the band smartly refrained from using repetitive choruses and there were some actual proggy moments throughout the latter-half (I'm still not convinced that there was anything progressive about AMOLAD, unless people think lengthy songs are just inherently progressive). Some of the epics are a bit too bloated, but not offensively so. And I thought "Satellite 15," "Isle of Avalon" and "The Man Who Would Be King" brought a certain uniqueness to the album that separated it from the other reunion albums.

I honestly think Dance of Death is the band's best reunion album, though. DOD is a great guitar album - maybe the best once since Somewhere in Time - that balances between hard rock and heavy metal in an interesting way. Plus, "Paschendale" is the best post-reunion song, in my opinion.
 
Some great reappraisals have already been shared and I agree with most, thanks. The album sits among my favourite three just below AMOLAD and Somewhere in Time.

I love it when two or three guitar solos flow consecutively, for example in songs such as Powerslave, Caught Somewhere In Time, Dance Of Death and Fear Of The Dark. AMOLAD only contained a few songs with back to back solos but TFF is filled with them.

There are three instances where an additional solo could have improved the song: 3:20 mins into Mother Of Mercy and solos following Janick in The Talisman and Dave in The Man Who Would Be King. According to the diary of Kevin Shirleys from the TFF sessions there was supposed to be a second solo in TMWWBK but they chose to go with the three guitar harmony instead.

https://www.ironmaiden.com/the-final-frontier---recording-diary-by-kevin-shirley.html

Adrian's final solo in Starblind and Dave's solo in TMWWBK could both be a little louder in the mix.

Janick's solo in The Alchemist is excellent. He seems to be fighting it and trying to control it the whole way through and he manages to tame it in the end.

A great album all up.
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
TFF has some very good moments (El Dorado being one of them, btw) and some not so great moments (Bruce straining his voice in the boring chorus to Mother of Mercy), but only one truly great moment: WTWWB, starting when the tempo switches at 3:40 through the solo (I'm guessing it's Adrian) at 6:22. Awesome and goosebump-inducing. Starblind has great lyrics, but not the music to match. I put TFF in the same tier as Dance of Death, but clearly behind Brave New World and AMOLAD and the classic 80s albums.
 
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Maturin

Sköldpadda
Definitely one of the best albums of their career. Probably the album I'd recommend to someone who's just getting into Maiden. I just feel good about everything about the album - it's not necessarily without weaker moments, but as a complete work with flaws and all it has a lot of different flavours, including everything I'd want from a Maiden-record, and all the while it's playful rather than a stiff formulaic and safe effort that you often expect from a band that's been in the game for so long.

Oh, and I love that cover art.

I've cited A Matter of Life and Death as my favourite Maiden-album for some time now, but The Final Frontier is up there too. One is consistent and focused, the other playful and sprawling. Right now I like the latter more.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
I think Starblind has the greatest Maiden lyrics of all time. The music accompanies the lyrics very well and paints a great scene. Adrian's licks throughout the song are godly.
 

RTC

Libera et impera!
This is an album that has definitely grown on me since when I first listened to it. Talisman has absolutely shot up my rankings to a potential top 10 Maiden song of mine, Wild Wind has always been brilliant for me, and there's plenty of other good songs like El Dorado, Coming Home and Starblind. Unfortunately, with that, there comes some fairly forgettable songs like TMWWBK and Mother Of Mercy, which aren't bad at all, just not leaving much of an impression.
 

dickinson1978

Educated Fool
As Dance of Death one of the weakest album since reunion.If they follow this chain BNW(great) DOD(bad) AMOLAD(great)TFF(bad)........TBOS(great)
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
I think TFF is a pretty good album - not a masterpiece, but solid work. I don't think it has an issue with repetitiveness more than other Maiden albums (VXI and BNW are probably the ones with the most of it) and there are some parts of songs that are absolutely top notch. There are parts that feel like we've heard them before, but they are referencing pretty different eras, which makes me think it's done on purpose - as a homage to the band's earlier work. Whether that's a good thing or not is a question of taste, but I like it as long as it's not overdone.

AMOLAD feels more coherent as an album and is still the reunion album I like the most. DoD the least, for two reasons; the least good songs on the album are the least good of the reunion era, and the production/mastering is not good. TFF has better sound, but I feel it lacks the high points that the three previous albums have.
 

Travis The Dragon

"Can you see them riding. Riding next to you!"
I put it up there with Maiden's very best and still love it a lot. I never go more than 2 or 3 days without playing something from it.
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
For me TFF is the best of the reunion albums. None of the post 00s albums really includes a Maiden classic. IMO TFF came as close as possible to include a classic. It has some of the best song parts EVER.

The second half of Starblind,the mid part of WTWWB,the mid part of AOA are among Maiden's best. I still like the short songs too. To be honest with you if it weren't for the production and some extra music parts, I would think it is one of their best.
 
I think TFF is the best reunion album, and dance of death is the weakest, it's also the only one with songs I actually dislike (new frontier and age of innocence) but chosing second and third place for the other ones feels impossible, they are both really really strong albums.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I think I would go BNW - AMOLAD - TFF - DOD. But to flush out my top 5, it goes.. BNW, Powerslave, AMOLAD, X Factor, TFF.
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
I think I would go BNW - AMOLAD - TFF - DOD.
My "reunion" ranking list would be AMOLAD, BNW, TFF, DOD. Not sure about my all-time top 5, but assume it will be dominated by more 80s stuff. In the last year, the album I've been drawn to most is the debut.
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
I voted for "among the best" because it's in top 1/3 for me, eg. in top 5.
I had a bit better opinion when it came out. It's not that songs lost their charm, it's En Vivo, which I deem as the best Maiden live DVD ever. Out of 5 TFF songs on that gig, 4 sound really better than on record (opener track being the only one where I prefer studio version).

On the album, pros;
  • Sat 15 and transition to Final Frontier, and Final Frontier itself. Transition is really unexpected. Acoustic guitars and overall rock'n'roll feel to the song hit it for me
  • Mother of Mercy. I find Bruce's strained vocals on chorus very fitting to the theme
  • Isle Of Avalon / Starblind / The Man Who Would Be King.

Cons ;
  • Small 'amounts of energy' on El Dorado. Live versions kick ass
  • Disinterested vocal performance on Coming Home
  • Structure of The Alchemist. Seems like a last minute riff glue work
  • Wild wind...kinda drags. Again live version is a lot better and comes as highlight of the show.

I don't have negative remarks on production, apart that Bruce's vocals come out as too raw. I'm listening professionaly ripped FLAC on a very good stereo system, the shit you hear on Youtube is just awful.

P.S. rating of reunion albums - AMOLAD - TFF - BNW - DOD.
P.P.S top 5 - not including The Chemical Wedding and ordered by year of release - POM, SIT, SSOASS, AMOLAD, TFF.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
For me it was the first of the reunion era discs that I liked less than its predecessor - which probably speaks more to how much I love AMOLAD than the quality of TFF. I still listen to it at least once a week and love it. I do prefer the second, proggier, half of the album. But it works well as a whole for me. Just wish the production was a hair better. Only iffy songs for me are Mother of Mercy (please, never rhyme fire and desire or copy/paste choruses like that) and Man Who Would Be King (which isn't bad but rather unremarkable).

It'll sure be very interesting to hear where they go from here on the new album.
 
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