Listen, had you told me a year ago that I'd be giving the top honors to Iron Maiden, I would've written you off as someone who just doesn't know me. I've never been that huge into Maiden, even back in their "prime." Besides, I've definitely got a wary eye against ancient rockers clinging to their old bailiwicks (the presence of old thrash bands in this year's Arsies notwithstanding). I mean, for god's sake, these guys were born in the 1950s!
And yet... "The Final Frontier" made a believer out of me. From the familiar galloping bassline of "El Dorado" to Brucie's plaintive wailing in "Coming Home," this album has so many iconic Maiden moments, that only the most jaded metalhead can feign to resist it. I'm just as stunned as you are, but there it is: Iron Maiden wins the 2011 Arsies!