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This is an Ok, well to do album by Maiden. Something like which is done by many bands when they try to revisit their heydays of the past. It won't sound bad, on the contrary, at the first listen, it will be lauded like hell, the fans will be delighted. But it will be aftersome short time, say after couple of months or so, people will begin to realise the hollowness within the album. The album created will be forgeted after an year or so, and the fans will start expecting for new, and better material. So we return to Iron Maiden and their landmark 15th album, the most highly expected album of 2010.
Even after 30 years of making music, Maiden haven't lost their technical touch. Even today Steve Harris is as creative in the basslines, as he was in 1980. The triple guitar attack of Murray-Smith-Gers is still strong as ever. The superb guitar work in this album is clean evidence of the fact. Nicko McBrain still uses his single bass drum, but controls it with the similar ease with which he played the opening drum fill on Where Eagles Dare. He still sounds equally competent and technical. Bruce "The air red siren" Dickinson may have gotten old since his glory days of Powerslave and Somewhere In Time, but his magical voice and range are intact.
On this album, Iron Maiden try hard to merge their two phases in thier carreer together, their earlier galloping days of Powerslave and thier much recently discovered midpaced progressive direction of the last record togather, and fail miserably. Actually it's not that bad. But consider the point, you listen to Iron Maiden madly. You can't stop listening to their albums from Piece Of Mind to Seventh Son. You learn that Iron Maiden will be releasing their landmark 15th album shortly. You can't wait to catch something of it. You wait in expectations, guess how it will be.Then the day arrives when you have that album and you discover that it is almost 77 minutes long. No problem as it is Maiden. You put in the CD and wait patiently to be swallowed by the mighty Maiden. The album starts and Maiden start licking you slowly. By the half time you realize that Maiden have hardly dug their teeth into you.
Among the 10 songs, 6 songs are above 7 minutes. Among the shorter songs, Mother Of Mercy and El Dorado are pure crap. They sound just like any random Iron Maiden song and have lacklusture chorus. Coming Home is slightly better. The guitars manage good melodies and the chorus is much better. The Alchemist is fast and sounds the best out of the bunch. But didn't they have a song called Aces High which did the same things only much better ? Among the 6 long songs, all of them start with a minute long intro. The intro consistes of calm guitars, and bass drones and Dickinson in his melodic tone. The songs suddenly pick up and break into a midpaced trott. The chorus is repeated a couple of times. Then there is a long extended instrumental section. The chorus is repeated again. The song ends as it begins, calm and quitely. This has been the Maiden formula for the last few records and here it does not change. Among the long songs, Starblindis the only one that stays intresting throughout it's length. Isle of Avalon comes next. The clean guiatrs used in it sound great. The Talisman and The Man Who Would Be King are both OK songs. Many of thier sections sound out of place. The closer Where The Wild Wind Blows is totally bore-fest. Exept for the melodies and the riffs towrds the end there is absolotely nothing in the song worth note.
In spite of all these negativities it is not a bad album. The melodies in many songs are breathtaking. The guitar work is just superb. Had the album been made more compact and to the point, it would perhaps have worked. Another point about it is that in this album Maiden became too predictable. If they want to create something progressive nad epic, why imitate the last album as it is in the sound? isn't it against progressive music that you are not creating something new? Why not try a concept album again? Why not try for some heavier direction or a symphonic direction? Both would have sounded unique and would have been a new challenge for Maiden. Again this album failed because the songwriting is of a very poor quality. I feel very soory saying this because these are the same people who wrote the 4 flawless albums from Piece Of Mind to Seventh Son. Some people might say that this is their 15th album, and that they are in the industry for a long time. True, but that's not an excuse for making bad music. If you cannot deliver, just quit the scene. So gentlemen, as expected Iron Maiden won't be improving their reputation as one of the greatest heavy metal bands ever releasing this. It will be for a short period that the accolades will remain, but then The Final Frontier will be lost, swallowed within the mighty world of heavy metal.