Iron Maiden’s “El Dorado” is a startlingly weak introduction to ‘The Final Frontier’

Iron Maiden
The Final Frontier
“El Dorado”
EMI Records 2010

By Marc Garrison

Yesterday saw the release of the full-track list, artwork, and introductory track “El Dorado” off of the seminal British heavy metal titans Iron Maiden’s upcoming fifteenth studio album The Final Frontier.

Releasing the track as a free download off of their official site was an awesome gesture from the band, and as always with the coming of a new Maiden release, I waited with baited breath for the first few notes to begin. The song begins much like the beginning of a live show, with drums and cymbals blaring, a little shredding lead, and flows into one of the mid tempo galloping grooves the band is notorious known for. Dickinson’s voice comes in sounding a bit rough in the lower register in an anticlimactic fashion, and immediately something is different, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Yet the mid tempo structure continues to move forward, with slow, plodding leads a bit darker than the band is traditionally known for leading the… charge?

While there is a discernible chorus,  it is so half-heartedly delivered in both the vocals and music departments that despite repeated listens, I cannot really remember what it sounds like. There are the typical solos, and a nice, punchy Maiden production that has always been dirty but tight, yet there is literally nothing about this song that sticks out. One of the biggest let downs is Nicko’s performance behind the kit, for as one of the most accomplished, solid, and inventive drummers in the genre he could do much, much better. I can’t imagine even die hard fans of the band being anything but disappointed.  The bottom line? I hope this is not an indication of the quality of the album as a whole, for it will end what I consider to be a flawless run since the band’s revitalization after Dickinson’s return.

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4 thoughts on “Iron Maiden’s “El Dorado” is a startlingly weak introduction to ‘The Final Frontier’

  1. It was a bit of a let down. If this is to be their last album, I hope this song is sort of like Quest for Fire, not bad, but forgetable. I will say this til the day I die, Harris needed to put new blood into the band to get new ideas. First and foremost, and I’m a drummer myself, drop the old school drummer McBrain. Very one demensional according to todays standards. They should of added a more progressive drummer (I’m seeing them with Dream Theater in a month, talk about McBrain being over fuckin shadowed) and went into different directions. You need a great drummer to be a great progressive band. Nicko IS NOT that good at all. Boring and limited. The drums on the song sound 80’s. The guy cant even play double (not that Maiden needs that), he’s not capable. Admittably. Regardless, they are my fav band of all time, just wish theyd replace a couple members to get a more fresh sound. Harris should replace every member, one at a time, one album at a time, til he finally replaces himself and we get another new era of Maiden. All connected to the bands history and founder. That would be crazy. And keep repeating this for centuries.

  2. Song isn’t bad. Production is pretty cool. Dig the grittiness.

    Bruce should have had more of a push to deliver the goods is all. Didn’t they drop a producer awhile back? A producer could have said turn up the intensity on the vocals.

  3. whoops – I see it was “produced” by Kevin Shirley.

    On Sound on Sound’s site, he was quoted as saying “Once I’m satisfied that I have a good basic setup, I work on getting the performances of the artist and working on song structures and arrangements. I’m not the kind of producer who puts his own stamp on the music. I’m there to help a band create its own voice. With Iron Maiden, they know what they want. I was there to help them get their vision across. Sometimes I acted as a buffer, I was editing and balancing conflicting ideas.”

    Guess he’s not a pusher. Too bad, Bruce could have used it.

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