The Final Frontier: individual album judgement by yours truly

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
The Final Frontier
Satellite 15... The Final Frontier - 8
El Dorado - 8.5
Mother Of Mercy - 7.5
Coming Home - 9.5
The Alchemist - 7.5
Isle Of Avalon - 8.5
Starblind - 8
The Talisman - 9
The Man Who Would Be King - 7.5
When The Wild Wind Blows - 9

Overall 83%

A very interesting album some great high points but some weaker tracks. Nothing super mindblowing on the album as a whole
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
Similar to Dance of Death, I think this is an album that is a bit under appreciated by Maiden fans. A couple of tracks have slight flaws on them, which stops the album from being as good for me as AMOLAD but really there isn't an awful lot to complain about. Arguably, it's also one of Maiden's riskiest and most progressive leaning albums, which might be why some people dislike it.

If I really have to nitpick, I think the really should have used backing vocals on El Dorado's chorus or a vocal line in a lower octave, as that high pitched take is not commercial enough for the lead single. Also, I think Mother of Mercy is an excellent song musically but the words are just the nadir of Steve's on going assault on grammar and sentence structure. The vocal takes on this one again leave a lot to be desired.

The one two punch of Isle of Avalon / Starblind may be the best pair of tracks overlooked by Maiden for a new album tour.

Satellite 15/The Final Frontier 9
El Dorado: 9
Mother of Mercy: 7
Coming Home: 10
The Alchemist: 9
Isle of Avalon: 10
Starblind: 10
The Talisman: 10
The Man who would be King: 8
When the Wild Wind Blows: 10
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Similar to Dance of Death, I think this is an album that is a bit under appreciated by Maiden fans. A couple of tracks have slight flaws on them, which stops the album from being as good for me as AMOLAD but really there isn't an awful lot to complain about. Arguably, it's also one of Maiden's riskiest and most progressive leaning albums, which might be why some people dislike it.

If I really have to nitpick, I think the really should have used backing vocals on El Dorado's chorus or a vocal line in a lower octave, as that high pitched take is not commercial enough for the lead single. Also, I think Mother of Mercy is an excellent song musically but the words are just the nadir of Steve's on going assault on grammar and sentence structure. The vocal takes on this one again leave a lot to be desired.

The one two punch of Isle of Avalon / Starblind may be the best pair of tracks overlooked by Maiden for a new album tour.

Satellite 15/The Final Frontier 9
El Dorado: 9
Mother of Mercy: 7
Coming Home: 10
The Alchemist: 9
Isle of Avalon: 10
Starblind: 10
The Talisman: 10
The Man who would be King: 8
When the Wild Wind Blows: 10

The more progressive material is great; the rockers not so much. Out of the reunion albums, I think it is better than Dance of Death but below Brave New World, The Book of Souls and, especially, A Matter of Life and Death.

Satellite 15/The Final Frontier 7
El Dorado: 8
Mother of Mercy: 7
Coming Home: 10
The Alchemist: 8
Isle of Avalon: 8.5
Starblind: 9.5
The Talisman: 9.5
The Man who would be King: 7
When the Wild Wind Blows: 8.5

Average 8.3
 
2nd Favorite Reunion Album Behind AMOLAD (which is my 3rd favorite all time maiden album). I feel the Alchemist is completely underrated in terms of short rockers. I think it is one of the better ones they have ever done.

Satellite 15/The Final Frontier 7
El Dorado: 8
Mother of Mercy: 6
Coming Home: 7
The Alchemist: 10
Isle of Avalon: 10
Starblind: 9
The Talisman: 8 (En VIVO version 10+)
The Man who would be King: 7
When the Wild Wind Blows: 8

Average 8.0
 

Dityn DJ James

A coma stole my name.
The Talisman (En VIVO version 10+)

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Natalie

Insect of Terror
Staff member
Recently had a re-listen after several years of not listening to the album in its entirety.
Overall, I remember it as being a good album, but that there were too many songs on it that I couldn't really get into and that Bruce's voice sounded really strained on several songs and that this kind of marred the whole experience for me. But that was 10 years ago, literally!

So here's what I think of each song in brief in 2020.

Satellite 15...The Final Frontier - An interesting intro, I'm not as averse to it as I think maybe others were at the time when it first came out, the chorus pops into my head now and again, so it was memorable at the very least. 7/10

El Dorado - A perfectly ok Maiden song, complete with trademark Steve galloping bass. It has some of the vibe of Bruce's solo stuff and I almost wonder whether it would have fit better on one of those. Can't really get into the chorus, plus Bruce's voice sounds kind of weak on there? 5/10.

Mother of Mercy - At times this sounds like a B side off of A Matter of Life and Death, with a smattering of X Factor. And to me the subject-matter feels a bit milked at this point, we had a whole album on war and soldiering (plus various other songs). I really enjoy some of the riffs, can't get into the chorus and again, Bruce's voice on there doesn't sound great. 5.5/10

Coming Home - Even though, again, Bruce sounds like he's struggling with some of the high notes here, his performance otherwise and the obvious passion behind the lyrics (which are beautiful), and the catchiness of the chorus, lifts this for me. I remember not being super into it before but now, I love it. 9/10

The Alchemist - A jaunty thing with an obscure theme that I can't get too excited about. Could have been about 2 minutes long instead of 4.5. 3/10

Isle of Avalon - I loved this song when it came out, it went straight into a 'best of Maiden' playlist and there it has remained. Speaking of kind of obscure themes for lyrics, it is weird, but it succeeds for me in that it contributes to the magical, mystical, incomprehensible of it. There's a certain Rime of the Ancient Mariner quality to it (might be the sounds of wind and fog in the background) that I appreciate. Now, Bruce's voice on here is struggling again with the chorus, but luckily there's lots going on with the solos and everything and I just, really enjoy it. 8.5/10

Starblind - So back in the day I believe this song was one of the original reasons behind the Medal of Stupendous Boredom (is this still a thing??) being instituted, or at least a debate involving it garnered an award. Anyway, it might not be overly complex (;) @Forostar ), but it is still very compelling to me. Mostly because of the lyrics, which I find extremely poetic. Again, I wonder what it would have been like had it been included in a Bruce solo effort, thematically at least it feels right at home in Tyranny of Souls. 7.5/10

The Talisman - Forced, that's how I'd describe this song. From the intro, to Bruce's straining in the chorus, there's something a bit too 'on the nose' about it. It's essentially trying to be a Rime of the Ancient Mariner 2, or the sequel, but it just, doesn't hold up. There's some really enjoyable riffs in here but otherwise. 6/10

The Man Who Would Be King - I'm not sure what it is about this song, but I really enjoy it, with its meandering extended instrumental section that is familiar enough in its structure to be Maiden but at the same time is somehow spicy and exciting. The song doesn't ask too much of Bruce either, which is a welcome reprieve in this album. 8.5/10

When the Wild Wind Blows - I remember thinking when I first heard this song that it'd be on repeat and would be my new favorite. Turns out, it hasn't. I find that I need to be in a very particular frame of mind to listen to it, otherwise it's just wearying. Now when I hear it, it's a real musical journey and I still really enjoy it, it just doesn't really do it for me somehow. I love the intro and outro riffs and much of what happens in it but it feels a bit directionless...or as if it had been better as an instrumental or something. Can't put my finger on it. 8/10.

Overall, this album is fine, not my favorite but also not the worst. Bruce's voice is noticeably weak and strained at times when the pitch is too high for him. The second half is much stronger than the first and it feels lyrically and thematically a bit too disjointed to make it a fun (read: repeat) listening experience. An album of The Final Frontier, Coming Home, Isle of Avalon, Starblind, The Man Who Would be King, and an instrumental version of When the Wild Wind Blows plus musical bits and pieces salvaged from Mother of Mercy and The Talisman, now that could have been great, an album about space exploration/flight/mysterious journeys...

Total: 6.8/10
 

Natalie

Insect of Terror
Staff member
This is exactly what The Talisman isn't trying to be.

I mean, if you say so? Has Maiden expressly said that somewhere?
Regardless of the intention behind the song, it still sounds that way to me, and it's fine if it doesn't sound that way to you. Opinions differ and that's ok. :)
 

Murder of Rue Morgue

Educated Fool
I mean, if you say so? Has Maiden expressly said that somewhere?
Regardless of the intention behind the song, it still sounds that way to me, and it's fine if it doesn't sound that way to you. Opinions differ and that's ok. :)
No, but I know both The Talisman and Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Musically and lyrically, these two songs has nothing to do with each other, and this is not an opinion but a fact.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Two sea-faring epics, I can see where Natalie is coming from.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Yeah I can understand that line of thinking, but I disagree with it. Rime is set up like a story. A bloody excellent story, but it's literally just a recount of the poem. The Talisman, meanwhile, literally throws you head-first into the action. You feel what the character feels. You see the stand on the dock and take one last look at your home before you're whipped into action as the winds turn tempest. It's a brilliant song. Also the only one on the album that doesn't suffer from bad vocal production / performances. Bruce kills it.
 
didn't the sailors in Rime die of fecal-borne illness (from Albatross poop) while the sailors in The Talisman either died of dehydration (10 days without water), monstrous waves lashing them into the water, or from the scurvy (as our narrator supposedly succumbed to)?
 
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