The Final Frontier
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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