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Ya know, the first time I heard it, I didn't like it at all. So I didn't listen to it for another two weeks. But then I went back to it, gave it another chance, and now I'm a better person for it. Let this be a lesson for you all, everyone. Give things another chance. That includes Drano. If you can survive drinking Drano once, I don't see why you can't survive it twice.
Back to the review... it's not the greatest thing Maiden has ever released, and it's not quite even as good as the album that came before this one, but it's still pretty decent and has some really fucking spectacular moments that scream "tell me why I have to be a powerslave!" The choruses aren't nearly as repetitive as on Virtual XI, though they still grate a bit. But still, we've got good songwriting and memorable melodies - oh and the three guitar factory is going strong, and bands like Beyond the Monkey Suck just wish they could sound like this.
Highlights... intro riff of Rainmaker, is just fucking brilliant. Wildest Dreams is a great opener and is gonna be a well-deserved live staple. No More Lies is the first epic number, and it builds up well, and the only fault I can find with it is the goofy chorus. But you've got Bruce dead on ... "time is up, it couldn't last"... and the soloing is completely fucking excellent - more in the style of Fear of the Dark than Killers, but still quite excellent.
Oh and the absolute fucking highlight of the album... New Frontier. Why didn't they bring in Nicko the Songwriter before this? Oh those duelling guitars. Oh that excellent sing-along chorus. They haven't written a number quite like this since Twilight Zone, really. Magnificent. If they don't play this one live, I'm personally standing in front of Nicko's Jaguar and demanding justice!!
The rest... Montsegur and Paschendale will always be completely twisted together in my mind because they're both big words that mean nothing to me. Both songs are about average quality, except Paschendale sounds like something completely out of the X Factor sessions, except for that crazy beginning part, which sounds like something out of a Commodore 64.
Face in the Sand has a nice orchestral buildup but is fairly pedestrian when all is said and done. Decent chorus, when all is said and done. Gates of Tomorrow is another decently cool upbeat number, while Age of Innocence another darker one that sounds very X.
Oh yeah, the closing track. Sorry, but Bruce has been involved in far better ballads recently (Tears of the Dragon, Man of Sorrows) - this one is a disappointment. And the title track is long but fails to be epic.
But great fuck almighty, New Frontier is basically this album's Ghost of the Navigator - one mind-blowingly amazing, amazingly mind-blowing number that brings to mind glorious days of caught somewhere in time and friends. So when all is said and done, this is worth getting. Though I would suggest accidentally spilling some white-out on that horrible, horrible album cover.