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

THE X-FACTOR

Iron Maiden

 

Prog Related

3.27 | 220 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The X-Factor" is the 10th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through EMI Records in October 2nd, 1995. "The X-Factor" sees a major change in the lineup as Lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson had left the band to pursue a solo career (and study to become a pilot). During the tour supporting Iron Maidenīs 9th full-length studio album "Fear of the Dark (1992)", Bruce Dickinson announced his departure to the rest of the band and after the tour ended the rest of the members of Iron Maiden began searching for a replacement singer. After countless auditions with various singers, Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Blaze) was chosen as the replacement for Bruce Dickinson. I remember reading an interview with bassist Steve Harris where he praised Blaze Bayley and said he felt that Blaze Bayley was the perfect replacement for Bruce Dickinson. Steve Harris emphasized that Iron Maiden had been searching for a vocalist that didnīt sound like Bruce Dickinson. Instead they had been searching for someone with a personal sound. I remember from the interview that Steve Harris said, that there had been one guy at the auditions that sounded so much like Bruce Dickinson that it was almost eerie, and they didnīt feel comfortable with that.

The instrumental side of the music on the album hasnīt changed much compared to earlier releases by Iron Maiden. The music is melodic heavy metal ranging from hard heavy rockers like "Man on the Edge" to more epic heavy metal songs like the 11:17 minutes long "Sign of The Cross". The vocal style of Blaze Bayley, while being in a somewhat similar vein to the vocal style of Bruce Dickinson, completely lacks the power and the conviction of the latter though. This is a major issue IMO and even after almost 17 years I still think itīs a major flaw and I feel that "The X-Factor" suffers greatly because of it. While I dislike Blaze Bayleyīs vocal contributions and think they are a drag thereīs also something wrong with the production. For the first time longtime producer Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Rainbow...etc.) didnīt produce an Iron Maiden album. Instead bassist Steve Harris and producer Nigel Green took on the task which gave "The X-Factor" a very different sound compared to the bandīs earlier releases. Itīs an aquired taste of course but I think the sound is flat and lacks power. It probably made Blaze Bayley sound even weaker than he already did.

I remember that back then I had my concerns about what this album would sound like but I hoped for the best. I was sadly very disappointed and that feeling remains after listening to the album again before writing this review. I may be sligthly harsh but I canīt give more than a 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating and I wouldnīt recommend this album to anyone I know.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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