Review

IRON MAIDEN Virtual XI

Album · 1998 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
Modrigue
Basic XI

With the dark and creative "The X-Factor", MAIDEN showed they can renew without betraying themselves. Despite all this, the fan-base was divided about this orientation, but especially about new singer Blaze Bayley, who couldn't match Bruce Dickinson's high-pitched vocals during concerts on old songs. Therefore the band decided to go back to basics.

"Virtual XI" abandons the controversial sinister atmosphere and doom incursions of its predecessor for typical IRON MAIDEN stuff. However, although more dynamic and classic, this eleventh studio album presents some major flaws. The first one is obvious. Bayley's low tone was well suited for somber and mid-tempo compositions, like on "The X-Factor", but, as mentioned before, not adapted to epic maidenien tunes. Second, some tracks do clearly not justify their 8-9 minutes duration. This disc contains too much repetitions and offers not enough variety. Finally, and most important, surely wanting to please the fans, the Englishs didn't take many risks on this one. Simplistic and averagely inspired music for an uneven result.

Nearly half of the material is good though. "Futureal" is quite pleasant, fast-paced and punchy, typically in the direct lineage of MAIDEN's openers. Beginning with delicate arpeggios, soft and heavy passages, "Lightning Strikes Twice" takes us by surprise with its ferocious riff and main theme. It rocks! Nonetheless, the memorable title from "Virtual XI" is undoubtedly "The Clansman". Inspired by the movie "Braveheart", this epic possesses is a powerful hymn, crafted for and still played at concerts. The tapping at the end is just gorgeous! Freeeedooooooom! "When Two Worlds Collide" is average but has enjoyable moments.

And... that's it. The other tracks are boring, too long and definitely repetitive. No memorable tunes, no breathtaking bridges. A good example is the longest track of the record, "The Angel And The Gambler", which does certainly not deserve its 10 minutes duration. A little originality is "Como Estais Amigos", soft and melancholic, but not really Spanish sounding and a bit deceiving.

As a return to the original recipe, "Virtual XI" is an half-failure. There are a few interesting tracks, more suited for the vocal range of Dickinson, however the rest is flavorless, basic, lengthy and not varied enough. Not too bad, not the worst MAIDEN album of the 90's, just unequal. So if you don't know this disc, do not skip it.

This eleventh opus will be the second and last recorded with Blaze Bayley. The band asked him to leave, and historical singer and guitarist Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith will come back. But was it worth it?
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Traditional heavy metal
RAINBOW
Buy this album from our partners
Reign in Blood Thrash Metal
SLAYER
Buy this album from our partners
Ride the Lightning Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Down, Wicked & No Good Alternative Metal
IN FLAMES
Buy this album from MMA partners
Far Beyond Existence Thrash Metal
TORTURE SQUAD
Buy this album from MMA partners
Post Self Industrial Metal
GODFLESH
Buy this album from MMA partners
Ido y Lúcido Progressive Metal
SENEGAL GRINDCORE MAFIA
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Free Metal MP3 download/stream

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Share this site
Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online