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Iron Maiden - The X Factor CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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3.23 | 335 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 2.7 Stars.

X Factor is a different album. Possibly their darkest and one of their most technical. The contrast between X Factor and the weaker and straightforward "No Prayer for the Dying" is huge. Many songs here are long, elaborated, and not very catchy. The main problem I have with this album is the singer, Bruce Dickinson is not here. Instead, we have the lower-ranged Blaze Bayley that is mediocre, and is especially bad on Sign of the Cross , a great epic which sounds better in "Live in Rio" due to Dickinson's return. It begins with creepy Gregorian chants, then a very memorable bass line introduces the song. It grows into a well-arranged instrumental section until the song gets really heavy with the verses/choruses which are good, but kind of ruined by terrible vocals. The chorus especially has a catchy refrain, but from Blaze's voice, it comes off being somewhat annoying. Luckily, he shuts up for five minutes and we have a complex and virtuosic instrumental with the Maiden musicians at their very best. The chorus is repeated again, and the song ends with the introductory bass line and Blaze's whispering.

Lord of the Flies is a rock song, but quite soft for Iron Maiden. It is quite a decent song with a good guitar solo, if only we had Bruce singing. Man on The Edge is better, has better riffs, and is energetic. Once again, vocals suck, and Bruce could have done a great job on the choruses, but the music is good. Fortunes of War has quite a good instrumental introduction that lasts for 3 minutes, with some good musical ideas on the rhythm section. The rest of the song is also quite good, with the guitar being once again the highlight, and the song being quite sing-along. Look for the Truth begins with a soft acoustic intro and turns into a catchy rocker. The ending is the song is different from the rest, changing the rhythm section and allowing the guitar to shine once again. The Aftermath is another dark song that starts softly and then turns a bit heavier. The second half makes this song one of the highlights of the album, it's faster paced and jeez, Am I tired of saying that the guitars are the highlights? Judgement ofHeaven is typical and sounds like anything from this album. Blood on the World's Hands is a highlight here and quite an experiment for Iron Maiden. It begins with a bass solo which sounds awfully dark and gloomy. The song is very inspired, with unconventional guitar riffs that sound very good. I especially like the guitar riff near the end, madee better thanks to the keyboards. The Edge of Darkness is again a typical song and after so much music, songs like these make you tired of listening to X Factor. 2 A.M is slow-paced and quite soft for Iron Maiden. It ha a good instrumental part, but this song as a whole is not a highlight. The Unbeliever is a prog song full of rhythm changes. I love the inspired instrumental break around the middle with possibly the best guitar solo in the album.

Overall, this is quite a good album that I could have given as much as 3.5 stars if Bruce Dickinson or Paul Di'ammo were singing instead. Musically, it is inspired and some of the songwriting is excellent and fresh, such as in "Sign of the Cross", "The Unbeliever" and "Blood on the World's Hands". I gave this album less than three stars because it suffers from having a few dull songs that sound very similar to each other and because the singer irritates me even more than James Labrie, and that says a lot.

Zitro | 3/5 |


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