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Iron Maiden - Virtual XI CD (album) cover


Iron Maiden


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2.30 | 303 ratings

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4 stars Virtual XI is one of the most underrated albums in the heavy metal history. The reason? In my opinion - the unability of the conservative Iron Maiden fans to accept other idea about band's music. It's not a precedent - many people disliked Deep Purple with David Coverdale, Genesis with Phil Collins or Van Halen with Sammy Hagar. So the problem is that Maiden-lovers wanted the sounds from the Dickinson era, the high vocal ranges from Dockinson era, the charismatic frontman presence from Dickinson era... Blaze Bayley didn't give them all that.

But the truth is the Iron Maiden very well adapted their sound to the voice of the new singer. If they were brave enough to continue the experiment, they could reach new and undiscovered spaces for musical development and improvement.

The separation with Blaze bayley and the re-unification with Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith is a matter of show business, not of creative searchings.

First, Blaze Bayley is not an imitator. He's not even trying to imitate Dickinson. He has his own singing style and it's good. Second, with his muffles voice Bayley is able to create specific atmosphere (especially in the slower moment) - many people call it darker - which Dickinson as a typical screamer from the 80's can't. Third, Bayley enriched Iron Maiden's legacy. Without him, the band could produce two tired and semi-boring albums like "No Prayer for the Dying" and "Fear of the Dark" and nothing more. In my personal ranking both albums of Bayley era are in top 5 Maiden albums.

Let me review the album's songs:

1. "Futureal" has the quality of the classic "Flight of Icarus". Fast, enthusiastic, full with energy. 2. "The Angel and the Gambler" is long, dynamic, very sexy song. The keyboard reminds me on some 70s hard rock classics. 3. "Lightning Strikes Twice" is good, almost heart-shaking. 4. "The Clansman" is an epical anthem, which makes me prick, which can lead my on war. It's a song about freedom and it's about Scotland, of course. Excellent composition! 5. "When Two Worlds Collide" is nice, strong, heavy, melodic. 6. "Educated Fool" is among my favourites. Wonderful song! 7. "Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger" is also good, but maybe too long and repitative. 8. "Como Estais Amigos" is very good final. Sadly, it was Bayley's epitaph with Maiden.

In conclusion I admit that Bruce Dickinson is a great singer, one of the greatest in heavy metal and - yes - he's the right man for Iron Maiden. But I claim that it's time to stop with all these stupid comparisons between Bruce and Blaze. I'm broad-minded to accept the things as they are. "Virtual XI" is an amazing album and that Blaze Bayley deserves only good words for his work with the band! "Virtual XI" is a persuasive album, with some very sophisticated musical moments. I believe that someday more people will discover its strength and beauty!

dunyata | 4/5 |


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