In 1989 things got weird. Metallica had blown up and suddenly a monster band like Iron Maiden seemed archaic and cheesy even. How could that be? It was only a few years earlier when "Number of the Beast" brought tears to my eyes as my uncle blew pot smoke in my face and hollered, "6-6-6 the Number of the Beast/Hell and fire was spawned to be released," as we raced his jeep through a cabbage field.
But here we are in 2010 talking about the Maiden's latest, the 15th studio album titled The Final Frontier. On the surface there isn't much difference between this album and, say, Powerslave. The galloping bass lines are present; Dave Murray always does a hammer-on trill before his solos; the guitar harmonies are ridiculous; and Bruce Dickinson is full of histrionics as he wails about King Arthur or some dragon. But there is a palpable, driving energy that I haven't heard from Metallica or Maiden in a long time, and it's a bit more complex than past efforts.
While other bands of their ilk seem content with county fair reunion tours, here, Eddie and the boys seem ready to charge the final frontier and beyond.