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Iron Maiden - The X-Factor CD (album) cover

THE X-FACTOR

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.26 | 213 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Important change for this album. Bruce Dickinson who was the lead singer since "The Number Of The Beast" in 1982 has left the band and is (temporarily) replaced by Blaze Bayley.

His low-tone voice is rather different than Bruce's one. It is of course difficult to adapt to a new "voice" unless it is a little close to its predecessor (but it is not the case here).

I won't be as laudatory as most of the reviewers about this album even if there are of course some excellent songs which belong to the good Maiden repertoire. I particularly like "Lord Of The Flies" even if it is a simple and pure hard to heavy rock. "Fortunes Of War" as well. It is more elaborate, combining acoustic intro with great metal riffs. The crescendo part is catchy as well and will lead to a nice instrumental and upbeat guitar solo.

The same kind of structure applies for "Look For The Truth". When you listen to the chorus, there is no doubt that "Arena" listened to this one while writing "Crying For Help". I could not really enter into the "epic".

IMO, "Sing Of The Cross" is too monochord. The pace is set with the choir intro. Dark and intriguing, just as the second part. It takes almost three minutes for the song to actually start. But from then on, the same beat is reigning for four minutes. Slow and heavy for a big chunk ("Kashmir" oriented). Only the last section is seriously rocking. Great guitar, faster and fresher mood. It is only a pity that this song doesn't feature more of these moments.

I have the same feeling about "The Aftermath". Almost dull for over four minutes, and then the tempo changes dramatically and opens on a killer guitar break. But this only a short part of this song.

On the good side as well, "Judgement Of Heaven" has maybe a more commercial approach. Sustained beat, catchy melody and again superb guitar work. I also particularly like the passage during which guitar & vocals are fully in line. Opposite to the call / response : the guitar player doing exactly as the singer does, at the same time.

Some darker atmosphere during "Blood On The World's Hands" (no wonder, with such a title). It is also the heaviest song so far. I have never been keen on these slower beat and very heavy sounds. Almost doom actually.

The band will still produce a "running" song with "The Edge Of Darkness". Great and charging beat mix with some heavy metal riffs. You know, like some of Dream Theater's offering.

I am not transcendent about the rock ballad "2 A.M.". If it weren't for a guitar solo, it would be a very average song. But great songs are not that many on "The X Factor". The closing number "The Unbeliever" also belongs to the good musical moments of "The X-Factor".

It will peak at the 8th spot in the UK charts. Almost their worse position since their debut. This honour is incumbant to "Killers" (Nr 12). Three stars in my charts.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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