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The Final Frontier Reviews Thread

Discussion in 'The Final Frontier' started by judas_rising, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Ancient_Mariner

    Ancient_Mariner Prowler

    @Madmax  Wow nice review!  I enjoyed reading it and agree with most of your takes on this masterpiece of an album.
  2. Jeffmetal

    Jeffmetal Ancient Mariner

    Not to me, at least, for now. Although I can't stop listening to The Final Frontier.
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Invader

    Will-I-Am, your review is certainly interesting, especially what you think of the solos. It's also curious that you feel Maiden are not in their top form; I think they have outdone themselves even with their performance. I mean, this is all live! :ok:

    Thanks for the comments on my exhaustingly-long review, and I hope to read some more impressions by others!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_ly3Pxmt6A This is part one of my review on YouTube with my friend! It's almost 30 minutes long and i'm hoping some of you will watch it and give the whole thing a listen and comment about what you think! Thanks alot :)  :edmetal:
  5. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    A very enjoyable review MadMax, thanks for spending the time on it :).
  6. Thanks Max to bad the only thing I can give you in return is a praise :p
  7. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    So after letting the album mull around for a week or so I've noticed a progression in my opinion of the album and of the songs in general. For the songs specifically, I've noticed that the 2nd half of the album has gotten alot more listens than the first half. This may be because I felt I needed more listens to even start 'getting' the epics, but I feel more as if this album really is defined by these long songs. They have the most interesting/deep lyrics, and they have the more interesting music (in terms of complexity, number of melodies, etc). In particular, Isle of Avalon, Starblind, The Man Who Would Be King, and When the Wild Wind Blows have gotten alot of plays. Coming Home is perhaps the only exception, it has gotten quite a few plays but still less than any of these other long songs. So in terms of standing 'the test of time' at least for me, I can start to see that the four mentioned epics are probably going to make it and find their place in a 'best of Maiden' playlist.

    Now onto the album as a whole. I still feel as if there is an imbalance between the first half and the second half, almost as if the first 5 songs are just one long intro to the second 5 songs, or as if these are really two different albums. Another thing is Bruce's voice. I love Bruce and all that, but I think it would be a heavy amount of denial to say he's on top form. He sounds downright strained on some of those high notes, I'm thinking Mother of Mercy and The Talisman especially. Of course he's not getting any younger, but I think this is the responsibility of the producer to get a few better takes. As struck me at first about this album, the lyrics are still very strong, on every song, even the one's I dislike musically like The Alchemist. I don't think I can place the album yet next to the others, it needs a bit more time, but right now I think it is a very strong album as a whole, not one of them has a filler vibe to it (unlike on Dance of Death), and it is more enjoyable to listen to than AMOLAD not because that album was bad, but because it was darker, somehow more depressing, and a bit limiting in its war theme. Perhaps that's why Mother of Mercy falls a bit flat to me, it's almost as if Maiden have flogged that horse to death. Right now it looks as if its slotting in somewhere under Brave New World and above The X Factor. I'll give it more time but if I had to rate it I'd say an 8/10 for now.
  8. p4warrior

    p4warrior Trooper

    Sounds about right to me.  I would probably give it an extra point or so,  if only because I seem to have enjoyed the first half of the album more.  You are right that it is much more colorful than AMOLAD. I liked that one a lot as a pseudo-concept album, but it is nice to have so much melodic and atmospheric variety on this one.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts Natalie.
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Invader

    It's fine, I'll take that too :D
  10. Wyrdskein

    Wyrdskein Invader

    Will we find out, at some point, who wrote the lyrics on each track, and who wrote the music?
  11. TFF 01

    TFF 01 Trooper

    Maybe a little off topic, but in my newspaper class I wrote a review of "The Final Frontier", and my teacher said it was one of the best things I had ever written in her class.  :bigsmile:
  12. RobertMfromLI

    RobertMfromLI Invader

    Wow... it's not just me then! The best I can figure is my mood and what's going on around me help determine what my favorite of the moment is.

    I've long since learned that any claim (by me) of a favorite Iron Maiden song only will last that long... for a moment. Sometimes short moments that span only the length of the song, sometimes longer moments that span days or weeks. But (ir)regardless, I've learned to be OK with it. And I've also learned that often, songs I "hate" end up growing on me and becoming one of my all time favorites once I give them enough listens. I think my "all time favorite" Iron Maiden song is currently a list of about 20 - old and new. Today, at this particular moment, I'd have to choose Starblind. Ask again tomorrow...  :bigsmile:  ;)
  13. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    So, after only four months I have managed to patch up a review containing my thoughts on the album. I hope you enjoy it.

    I think we are all intelligent enough that we don't need a disclaimer at this point. It is obvious that what follows is my own personal opinion, and I know that I am reading into things the band never intended to be read this way. But if an album is to be listened to as a whole, I can't help but reflect on what I heard while I hear something else, so I don't see a need to refrain from tying together the many loose ends I see. I also don't need to point out that I ask nobody to agree with me, but simply hope to open to you new perspectives which may help you appreciate this outstanding collection of music more.

    Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
    A search for and reflection of its message

    There is a fragment of a poem by the Spartan poet Tyrtaios (flourished c. 650 BCE) which reads: "You should reach the limits of virtue before you cross the border of death." This piece of lyric carries the rather unpoetic title "Fragment Tyrt.11D", but I have once read it as "Frontiers".
    In Tyrtaios' world, dedicating your life to virtue would mean putting it in service of a greater cause. As a wise man whom mankind encountered beyond the final frontier once put it in his dying breath, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Certainly, this was the spirit which defined Sparta for what it was, but was Tyrtaios right in thinking that the limit of virtue is the final frontier to cross before you fulfill the meaning of your life? And what does all this have to do with Iron Maiden?

    A record with the title "The Final Frontier" begs a Star Trek reference, and I made it. But to look beyond that, does it explore the theme suggested by the title adequately and exhaustively, or is it full of empty flesh and hollow bones?

    With the title track put right at the beginning, the album throws us into a Science Fiction story that combines the idea of the final frontier from Star Trek with the age-old one of death. I like the idea of the character in this song being the same one as in the openers from the past two albums. Hailing from a world of awfully cheesy song title puns, he made his wildest dreams come true and entered a different world where he encounters the final frontier. The lyrics of the former songs already suggest that the outcome of your actions lies in your own hands. Our character went the way of Icarus, as he acknowledges himself, but carries on the spirit he was led by to the very end. A nice comparison can be made to one of my favourite songs, Bravado by Rush (from the 1991 album, Roll the Bones), the chorus of which goes we will pay the price, but we will not count the cost. Space Man in this sense reached the limits of virtue, and now he is ready to enter the realms of death, but it remains unclear what exactly the final frontier is - is it space which he dared to enter, is it death which he is prepared to meet, or is it even something else?

    Iron Maiden choose to let us ponder, and instead now give us one of the greatest intros to a song I have ever heard. El Dorado leads us back into our own world of make-believe and deception. A clever banker gives us some insight into his world of thought, and openly admits that he abuses the naivety and blue-eyedness of those around him. Who's to blame? In theory, those deceived were treated so by their own free will... which may not quite be said of the protagonist of the next song, Mother of Mercy, a man who was thrown into a conflict he himself has no say in. Ordered to kill and told that it is right, he wonders how this matches with the idea of mercy he was brought up with. He spent his life being guided by a belief he did not properly understand himself. He did not stop to think for himself what the messages he was confronted mean, but chose to let others tell him. Now he sits there, in war, lost and lonely, waiting for answers that were never given to him.
    Whatever the name of the war in this song is does not matter. We can assume that it took place at one of the borders that Bruce now passes easily in his aeroplane, that seem so tiny and insignificant and most of all, artificial. They are man-made, whereas the sky above them belongs to all and none. Can the feeling of home be defined by lines drawn on a map? And do you need to choose between loving your home and embracing the whole world? Coming Home clearly states that we live in one and the same world, and yet no ground under your feet feels like the one you come home to, be it ancient Albion or elsewhere.

    The frontiers we are faced with are not the ones drawn on maps, as we have seen, but they are within us. Being faced with limits and finding ways to overcome them, such is the history of mankind. The power that gives us these abilities is knowledge, and the ones driving history forward in its substance are the ones who possess knowledge. The Alchemist tells us of one of these men, Dr Dee, and the limits that even the greatest minds are faced with - possession of knowledge is not all, you need to properly use it, and pass it to others. Knowledge is not there to put yourself over others, because that evokes jealousy and rejection... of you and your knowledge. Knowledge is a means, not an end.

    The greatest foe of knowledge is the human mind, which is stubborn, and often closed. Many human beings choose the path of belief over that of knowledge. Belief is a force of great triumph, but also one of terrible destruction. If it had not been for the bright minds of history, and the necessity to overcome the limitations imposed on us by nature, we would still live in caves, or perhaps not live at all. But one thing that brought mankind forward in its early stages was not the victory over nature, but the cooperation with it. There is a pact, a treaty, that all living beings make with their environment, in which they take what they need from what the environment provides, but not more, and return what they can give themselves. Mankind broke that treaty at some point, allowing itself to break out of the limits they were previously confined to, but as history will no doubt teach us if we carry on this way, only temporarily. That is what Isle of Avalon attempts to tell us. Maybe the riff echoed from No More Lies reminds us that indeed, we should stop lying to ourselves and return to the spirit of our ancestors, who treated Earth as their Mother. A healthy person leaves the lap of his mother at some point to grow up. The path away from infancy is leaving the nest and taking the lessons of the past with you. If you don't know what I'm getting at, reconsider the more mundane interpretations of the album title and the theme the album opened with.

    Still entangled in the mists of Avalon, and with a curious taste of sweet apples on our tongue, we have passed the album's half time, and now, we start to get an idea of where Iron Maiden are taking us. Reflecting on what we have heard so far, we have been faced with limits and frontiers that were drawn on maps and are imposed on us by others. We are faced with the limits of our natural environment and with that of our limited lifetime. But even if we emancipate ourselves from the need for limited ressources, and even if we extended our lifetime indefinitely, the one frontier that is always prevalent lies within ourselves. It is our own mind that is seduced and deluded with jealousy and belief. We believe to know. But as the soldier in Mother of Mercy already realised, we do not even know what we believe. Faith is a tragedy, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the stories of those who dedicated their lives to overcoming all the limits imposed on them, but failed not for their own incapability, but the neglect and opposition of those who stand around them. And those who succeeded in developing their ideas and passing them on to others always failed to stimulate the people's desire for knowledge, and in the end only satisfied their need for belief. Moses, Zarathustra, Siddartha Gautama, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and more recently, people like Karl Marx were immensely bright individuals who had the courage to counter the beliefs of their peers with new, radical ideas that overthrew the structures as they were. But even they failed to get the masses to think and reflect; ultimately, all of them were remembered not as spirits who extended margins and broke through limits, but as prophets of a new religion that in the end differed only very little from the other ones. It is in these transitions that the great potential of the human mind goes to waste. Single individuals point out the potentials and guide them to the stars, but mankind is always blinded by them, becoming Starblind. The track points out the waste of potential that is beyond our grasp in a lyrical perfection unmatched in the world of rock and metal, making it the centrepiece of the album to me. All the messages and thoughts that have been developed and uttered so far run together here. They combine the messages to be read from the history of mankind and the world with music of unworldly beauty, creating a masterpiece of artistic and philosophical aesthetics that remind me of no less than Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yes, people, I am in love with this song.
    The question begs itself, what is there left to say? Could the album just tie itself up now and go? Or is there still anything substantial left to add in the 29 minutes running time left?

    The Talisman beautifully illustrates what has been said before. It tells a story in which the courage of overcoming limits is backstabbed by the limits it failed to overcome- those of belief. For all the material and mental preparations, the narrator's quest fails because he relied on his faith in a talisman, a dumb object that has no power of its own, and is so worthless that the lyrics don't even bother to define it closer. The song does not add anything new to what we have worked out so far, but as I said, it is a powerful illustration. The same goes for The Man Who Would be King, which takes us into the mind of a person who has left the path of reason and is so deluded by beliefs imposed on him and developed by himself that he even kills a person over them. Having committed the cardinal sin, he starts realising that he has been on the wrong path for way too long, but like the soldier in Mother of Mercy, his enlightenment comes too late.

    As the beautifully soft intro of the last song on the album starts, I think I have made my point on what I think this album is about. To me, Iron Maiden have fulfilled their promise of exploring the theme of the final frontier and pointed out that it is not space or death, but the human mind. Space is no more of a frontier than the sky or a mountain range is. Mankind has managed to overcome these limits, and it will in time be able to cross the frontier to space as well. Death is not a frontier of significance, because what happens to us after we die is of no importance to the lives we lead now. Religions will have us believe the opposite, and that is why they are such a powerful contributor to the upholding of the final frontier. Our own mind is the strongest enemy we face, and When the Wild Wind Blows shows that if we only implant an idea into our mind, no matter how absurd or lethal, it will stay with us and eventually has the potential to lead to our demise.

    The virtue of Tyrtaios' world may have been subordinance to and defence of the social and material world, but the virtues we need today are subordinance to and defence of reason. Only if we have contributed in the way possible to us individually, to the benefit of mankind and its ultimate goal, which again Rush have summed up as learning and growing, have we crossed the final frontier.
  14. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Impressive really. I must admit I didn't see those links but I sure do see most of them now.
    Thanks for posting!  :ok:
  15. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    fucking awesome Perun.  :ok:
  16. Taker

    Taker Cannon Fodder

    Wow, Perun, you've progressed much farther into this album than I have... I thought I had immersed myself in it, but it seems not. More new directions to explore... thumbs up, man. :ok:
  17. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    This is what makes this website special.
    Thank you.  :ok:
  18. Invader

    Invader Ancient Mariner

    Amazingly in-depth review, you just single-handedly increased my appreciation for the album's lyrics without me even having to read or listen to them. :ok:
  19. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    For me lyrics always come second place, but this urges me to take another look.
  20. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Excellent idea, but I didn't find this post good enough for Perun's standards. Which means, that it's still an awesome and worthy post. Initially, I thought it could be due to his lack of time... I also left with the impression that Perun is trying to explore new grounds, which I fucking appreciate.

    Anyway, what I really want to say is:
    Perun, ask for thyself another
    Kingdom, for that which you leave
    is too small for thee

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