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Iron Maiden - Virtual XI CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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2.30 | 320 ratings

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"Virtual XI" is the 11th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through EMI Records in March 23rd, 1998. I was not very fond of Iron Maiden´s last album "The X-Factor (1995)" mainly because of the weak vocals by new frontman Blaze Bayley. Unfortunately Iron Maiden opted to keep him on as the lead vocalist for yet another album and that´s why I find one of my rare review headlines that says "Only Fools Make Mistakes Twice" so suiting (the quote is taken from the song "Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity" from the Type O Negative album "Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)").

The music on the album is typical melodic heavy metal in true Iron Maiden style. Hard rockers and more epic heavy metal songs. As on the equally weak "The X-Factor" I have major issues with Blaze Bayley´s vocals and I´m finding it hard to enjoy the music with his forced and strained vocals in front. A track like the fast opening rocker "Futureal", which could have been a real treat with Bruce Dickinson on vocals, falls to the ground with a resounding smash because of Blaze Bayley´s vocal delivery. The production is fortunately a bit more enjoyable than was the case on the predecessor so there´s one minor plus. The tracks, while being of an acceptable quality most of the time, do seem rather uninspired (with the exception of "Futureal" and the great epic of the album "The Clansman"). Why for example "The Angel & the Gambler" is nearly 10 minutes long when there´s only quality material for a 4 minute track is beyond me. There´s way too much repetition and rehashing of ideas here to entertain me.

This album along with "The X-Factor" are by far the weakest albums by Iron Maiden. First and foremost because of a weak vocalist, but the compositions seem less inspired too. As I also said in my review of "The X-Factor" I wouldn´t recommend this album to anyone I know. Pick any other album by the band and they will be stronger and more inspired than these two albums. a 2.5 star (50%) rating might be slightly too high.

UMUR | 2/5 |


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