Newest Review: ... I really don't like the keyboards here but the guitar hooks are excellent, just as you'd expect with Iron Maiden. For me, this song is a ... more
Virtual Xi - Iron Maiden
Member Name: Chloboshoka
Virtual Xi - Iron Maiden
Date: 05/02/12, updated on 05/02/12 (45 review reads)
Advantages: It's much more enjoyable after a few more listens.
Disadvantages: Overlooked and not as good as other releases by Iron Maiden.
==Members At The Time Of The Release==
Blaze Bayley - Vocals (Joined in 1994 and left in 1999)
Dave Murray - Guitar (Joined in 1976)
Janick Gers - Rhythm guitars (Joined in 1990)
Steve Harris - Bass guitar (Founding Member)
Nicko McBrain - Drums (Joined in 1982)
Michael Kenney- Keyboards (Joined in 1988)
==Part II Of The Blaze Era==
After releasing The X Factor, which was considered one of their darkest albums to date, Blaze Bayley stayed with the heavy metal giants for one more album named Virtual XI. I know that there's some fans that would prefer to skip the Blaze era because they're so used to Bruce Dickinson. There's people who didn't like The X Factor and decided that they weren't going to bother with Virtual XI. I think both albums are very different to each other because this album is a lot more upbeat whilst The X Factor is grimmer. Virtual X is more truer to their roots.
Futureal has that decent guitar solo introduction that feels like an Iron maiden song. I think it's a wonderful way to start the album off because it's catchy and it's also a good song. The Angel and the Gambler has this nostalgic 80's feeling to it. Like Futureal it's quite energetic touch. While you can still tell that The Angel And The Gambler is an Iron Maiden track, it doesn't feel like metal music.
Lightning Strikes Twice has a really cool chorus and the change of speed gives the song a very interesting flow. It's got a really desolate sound that goes very deep. It starts off quite progressive and then it goes onto a really structured rhythm. After listening to this song, most of it goes right out of my head, but the chorus really sticks with me.
The saving grace of the album is The Clansman which is an epic song about Freedom. A lot of people adore the Live At Rio version with Bruce Dickinson because the live version gives the song a lot more edge. The studio version is quite good too. I think this track is a beautiful gem. I love the desolate melodies and vocals on this track.
When Two Worlds Collide is nothing special, but it is a solid track. The melodies are standard and your typical guitar solos are there. But after listening to The Clansman, I was expecting something a bit more exciting and less standard.
The Educated Fool shows some great examples of the bass guitar including the wonderful introduction. I think the lyrics with some powerful imagery, but I think there's too much structure which makes the song sound repetitive and strained. Blaze also sounds very flat on this track and not even the backing vocals add anything extra to the song.
I enjoyed the string arrangements in Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger. I think Blaze soars on this track. Whilst in other tracks, the repetitive nature has been a problem, I think the repetition works on this track because it adds more emphasis to the song. The track is brilliant.
Como Estais Amigos is a slow burner that's similar to When Two Worlds Collide. The way the music is much more louder than Blaze at the beginning and then eventually getting louder gives a true touch of tragedy. This song reminds me of the remembrance day on November 11th. It's a very thoughtful track from beginning to end.
Even though Iron Maiden do have better albums, I don't think Virtual XI is genuinely a terrible album. I think it's a good album with some crunchy riffs and classic sounds. I think the main problem with the album is that it's not as memorable as songs from Number Of A Beast, Brave New World and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Blaze is a good vocalist, he dosen't fit in as well as Paul and Bruce did because he had some issues with his health which eventually caused the band some friction.
When I first listened to the album, I didn't like it that much because I thought it was really boring and uninspired. I changed my mind after a few more listens, and even though it's got it's up and downs, I think it's a really interesting album. Virtual XI features the best songs from the Blaze Era. I'd like the listen to this album again. I think overtime I'll really love this album.
Summary: Includes the highlights from Iron Maiden's Blaze Era.