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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Think It's Good
I'm a huge maiden fan and if your like me you should like this album. I've read some harsh reviews but it's easy to say it's a bad album when your given a copy of the album for free and be paid to review it even if you've never heard maidens work. Personally I think virtual 11 is better than the x factor. It sounds more like maiden(the x factor is good but the sound they...
Published on August 6, 2006

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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of Maiden's lows
After the introduction of vocalist Blaze Bayley, they recorded X Factor in 1995 and got mixed results from fans. The band continued with Virtual XI in 1998, which is now considered one of the worst albums in Maiden's career. Here's the lowdown:
Futureal - This opening track is not bad at all. A good, solid rocker. I think it opens the album well.
The Angel and...
Published on May 15, 2003 by Axel Law


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5)"What Is Real?Futureal", September 11, 2008
By 
Tommy Skylar (The Great White North) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
After vocalist Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden,and in 1994 Blaze Bailey was the chosen one to replace him.Bruce sang in higher key while Blaze was singing low-key,to many people Bailey wasn'the right choice for the band.It might be true but the band had a chance to do things they never could do with Di'Anno and Dickinson,experiment and sound different.Of course many Maiden fans just bash "X Factor" and "Virtual XI" rather than giving it any chance.Bailey was perhaps too much of a change of vocalist for fans to handle.It doesn't sound like classic Maiden for sure,it sounds like a different band,different but good,they have a totally different style and energy.

For Virtual XI(1998)the band went towards a less epic style than "The X-Factor"(1995)to a somewhat more pleasing atmosphere.A good thing that Virtual XI does is that all songs sound different unlike X-Factor who has many similiar sounding songs(due to many songs being played in the same key).Despite being an improvement over the previous album it had even lower sales than the X-Factor.The album would mark the end of the Bailey era for Maiden as he would leave to be replaced by the one he originally replaced,the inimatable Bruce Dickinson.This second album has one big fault tought,it can get repetitive."The Angel And The Gambler" is the best exemple with its "Don't you I can save your,don't you think I can save your life?" chorus repeated 22 times!

The best songs to me are "Futureal","Lightning Strikes Twice","When Two Worlds Collide" and "Como Estais Amigo".The opener "Futureal" is the shortest song but is really good featuring great guitars and being little speedy."The Angel And The Gambler" Is Too Repetitive and too long at over 9 minutes."Lightning Strikes Twice" is the most melodic song on the album and ahs a great chorus,I particularly like the beggening of the song,the guitars sound great."The Clansman" is the epic song here,its the song most people talk about when talking about "Virtual XI"."When Two Worlds Collide" is a great song,perhaps even my favourite on Virtual XI.I think the sing reflects the union of the two worlds that are Iron Maiden and Blaze Bailey,in some ways that could be true."The Educated Fool" is a filler to me,I don't like this song much."Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger" is good,not exceptionnal but still pretty decent,an interrresting track to say the least."Como Estais Amigo" is the closer and its a great one,its a ballad,at least sort of.It's a reflection mostly,not the song isn't in spanish!Great track.

Overral I'd say its better than the X-Factor,It's not a Maiden classic but it does beat a lot of other stuff out there.Don't expect too much and you might be surprised,Virtual XI has some really good songs that are definatly worth checking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album ruined by haphazard production., May 16, 2008
By 
Mattowarrior "Mattowarrior" (Madison, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
I bought this album, like most of the other Iron Maiden albums (er..cds), the day it came out. I was excited and took it home, and ironically was not dissapointed. Ok, maybe a little bit dissapointed, but not to the extent that many of the other critics and fans had been.

One thing you can say about this album is that it is a turnaround from their previous effort, X-Factor. I liked that album as well, but Virtual 11 has much more varied songwriting and dynamics than the previous one. I still think my enjoyment of X-Factor edges out this one a little bit though, as a side note.
There is more experimentation this time around, with the Who/Ufo influenced song "Angel and the Gambler" (yes its too long) with emulated horn section keyboard sounds and the eerie ballad, Como Estas Amigos. There is some progressiveness and rhythmic experimentation on songs such as "The Educated Fool" and some neat atmospheres (celtic-esque) on "The Clansman". "Futureal" recalls Somewhere in Time's faster tracks, "Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger" looks forward to Maiden's more progressive experiments on subsequent albums.
Another additional factor, and this is the musician in me talking: the songs have more varying key signatures this time. You'll have a song in E, but then one A minor, then one in B or D. I thought the X-Factor got repetitious at times in part because many of the songs were in the same key.

The overwhelming factor that brings it down one star is the lackluster production and mixing. It sounds good, but a little bit amateurish and flat considering their Martin Birch era albums. Also, Blaze does a lesser performance in my opinion than on the X-Factor. I think unconciously they were imagining Bruce singing it, and pressured Blaze to follow through with a similar range.

One note on Blaze: His vocals are different, but they're powerful and rich and in my opinion don't have the nasally whiny element that Bruce can have at times. I also like Di'anno era as well, so my lack of being a loyalist to Bruce may jade my opinion of Blaze era Maiden.

Overall, if Harris didn't exec produce it, and they tightened up some of the more lackluster arrangements, as well as taking out some of the repetitive choruses, and also got a more dynamic and powerful mix, it would be heralded as equal to classic era Maiden. I would also highly recommend Blaze's solo work, because it seems like the course that would have been awesome for Maiden to go if he would have stayed on board.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make no mistake... this is their worst album, March 12, 2004
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
And what a statement that is. Iron Maiden's worst studio album (out of 13 releases) still gets 4 stars.
I'm saying this is their worst album because overall it has the smallest amount of good songs (not to mention only 8 of them, slightly over half the length of the X-Factor).
Note that I am NOT a Blaze Bayley hater at all. In fact I think the X-Factor was Maiden's finest moment since `Seventh Son of a Seventh Son'
Here's a Quick Take on the Songs..
Futureal: 9/10 It's a good opener, but its NOTHING compared to the opening masterpiece that would arise on 'Brave New World'
The Angel and the Gambler: 8/10 it's a good song... but its freakin 5 minutes of the same chorus. And it's not that good a chorus!
Lightning Strikes Twice: 8/10 Musically very good, but the chorus isn't and once again it's repeated too much at the end.
The Clansman: 10/10 As everyone will tell you, this song kicks ass. And indeed, it does, kick ass.
When Two Worlds Collide: 9/10 Same sentiment as 'Lightning Strikes Twice', but the chorus is better.
The Educated Fool: 8.5/10 A decent song. The solo is really nice.
Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger: 8/10 Decent, but TOO LONG.
Como Estais Amigos: 9.5/10 Outstanding ballad with a great instrumental section. A real surprise.
So, as you can see the album is only 8 tracks long. Which is fine. Many great albums have only 8 tracks or fewer. But the fact is that I'd trade the 8 tracks from 'The Number of the Beast' 'Powerslave' and 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' over Virtual XI any day. Any Iron Maiden fan would.
So if you like Iron Maiden, you should pick this up.
If not, check out the pages on 'Powerslave' and 'The Number of the Beast' first...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Iron Maiden - Blaze Bailey At The Helm For A Decent Release, May 21, 2007
By 
Steven Sly (Kalamazoo, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
"Virtual XI" was the second Maiden studio album following the departure of Bruce Dickenson. His replacement Blaze Bailey takes over the vocal duties on this and the previous album, "The X Factor" to mixed reviews. Bailey's voice is not bad, but it is very different from Dickenson's and most Maiden fans could never quite get past that fact. He sings much lower in general than Bruce does so the soaring high notes that Maiden is known for are just not in Bailey's repertoire. A lot of Maiden fans rate this as the band's weakest album, and indeed it does not stand up to the band's classics, but I still think it is a decent listen and enjoy it for what it is. The twin guitars of Jannik Gers and Dave Murray are in full force throughout the album, and musically most of it is solid. On the other hand some of the songs seem to be long just to be long with repeated choruses and riffs that go on and on. Being a fan of progressive rock I have no problem with lengthy epics, but for some of these tracks there just does not seem to be much point. Some of the albums highlights include "Futereal", "The Clansman", "The Angel And The Gambler", "Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger", and the ballad "Como Estais Amigos". In the end this is a decent Maiden album. There are about a dozen other ones that I would buy before this one, but for the Maiden collector this is worth picking up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SHORTER THAN THE X FACTOR. BLAZE BAYLEY SOUNDS MORE COMFORTABLE IN VIRTUAL XI......................, June 21, 2007
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
The "X Factor" was a decent sounding Maiden release with well written songs, that if Bruce Dickinson had sung on would have been a great Maiden cd. Blaze Bayley has a different kind of voice, that most Maiden fans can't adjust to. It's baritone sounding and sounds a little like a lower volumed Ronnie James Dio at times. Blaze is good but not in the hemisphere that of Dio. "Virtual XI" fits more of the sound of Bayleys voice than The "X Factor" did. If Bruce Dickinson had sung on XI it probably would have sounded better but not much better than Blaze, only because as I said XI was written for Blazes voice. I like "Virtual XI" better than "The X Factor" I believe Blaze Bayley had time to settle in more with the Maiden. "Virtual XI" sounds smoother than "The X Factor" and Blaze sounds more comfortable. "Virtual XI" has some great songs on it. "Futureal" "The Angel and the Gambler" "Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger" and of course the best song in the Blaze Maiden era "The Clansman". "Virtual XI" is nice and short at 8 songs-- 53min.-14sec. long were as the X Factor was a whopping 71min.- 7sec. long. The shorter XI is the right time length for a Maiden Bayley cd, not to long, not to short. "Virtual XI" is an enjoyable short listen that holds your interest, even though most Maiden fans consider the Blaze Bayley, Maiden era, the low point in the Maiden legacy..........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite after SSoaSS, January 9, 2009
By 
Gino (Fishkill, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
...in fact, this is the only Maiden album I still listen to on a regular basis - it has aged very well for me. I think it is their most cohesive post-Seventh Son output. What stands out are the guitar harmonies, and varied song structures. Whatever your opinion is of Blaze, it can't be denied that he had impeccable timing (like Broadway-good), a fact that the vocal arrangements take advantage of.

I've read conflicting opinions of the production - that it sounds overproduced a la Pro-Tools, or that it's underproduced like the Soundhouse Tapes. I think it sounds very live-recorded; listen to the guitarist's fingers scrape the strings during "Don't Look...". Many productions would edit that out, but Maiden left it. So definitely not overproduced, IMO.

Also noteworthy is that The Clansman has been a concert staple ever since, and that Futureal was part of the Ed-Hunter reunion setlist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad if you can forget for a moment that this is maiden!, March 18, 2006
By 
metalgoddess "metalgoddess3" (North Bay, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
musically speaking, this is definitely Iron Maiden; and classic sounding Maiden at that. Harris' musicianship is unmistakable with any vocalist.

However, over the course of several years, we've been trained to think that Harris equals Dickinson, and it's a quite strange album to listen to to in that regard, without Dickinson on vox. Blaze Bayley has an excellent voice, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't fit with the Iron Maiden motif. My first reaction was to throw the CD across the room simply because of this fact.

Instead, I decided to be patient with it, give it a listen... and forget for a few moments that I was listening to Iron Maiden at all. In that regard, it's really not all that bad an album. Just not one of Maiden's greatest efforts.

Now, if you like what you hear of Bayley, then check out Wolfsbane or Blaze. Energetic germanic style power metal in which Blaze fits the stereotype of a bit more than Maiden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maiden's Worst, February 16, 2013
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
Let me start off by saying that I have heard all of Iron Maiden's studio albums and this is, without a doubt, the worst one. But it still deserves 4 stars. This album isn't as good as the previous one "The X Factor" but still good. The album suffers from Blaze's vocal range, but not enough to make it unlistenable. His voice worked better with "The X Factor" as the music was more his style, and the music on here is more reminiscent of latter day Maiden. The worst song on this album is "The Angel or the Gambler". The song is almost 10 minutes long and is pretty boring. It also features annoying keyboards in the intro. All in all, this isn't the unlistenable abomination make it out to be and is worth purchase price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars differet, March 25, 2006
By 
GPC2 (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
Not Maiden's best, but I still like it. I too find some of the choruses repetitive as well as songs being too long. I hate the last song. I've seen them do a few of the songs off this CD live w/ Bruce on vocals. It seems that when some of these songs were written, they still had a mindset of Bruce still being the singer. Clansmen and few others not only sounded better with Bruce, but almost seemed to be written for him. Anyone else notice this?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Use it as a frisbee, July 24, 2012
This review is from: Virtual Xi (Audio CD)
This is just awful. I loved 'The X-Factor' and I understand that bruce QUIT the band. I would rather have Iron Maiden without Bruce as opposed to NO Iron Maiden. The problem here is not Blaze's voice it's the songs. These songs are just awful. They are derivitave and just repeat the name of the song over and over again as a chorus. 'The Angel and the Gambler' just repeats the lyrics "Don't you think I can save ya, don't you think I'm a saviour, don't you think I can save your life" 22 times in a row at one point and the song goes for like 10 minutes. All the songs are like this. Another one just goes "Maybe lightling strikes twice, maybe lightning strikes twice" over and over again. The problem wasn't Blaze Bayley it was simply that for the first time in his life Steve Harris wrote a whole album worth of CRAP songs. In my bedroom I have all my Iron Maiden cd's in a cd rack in order of release dates. I've got all the Eddie's achive cd's and the 10 'First Ten Years' EP's that came out in 1990 but 'Virtual XI' is not allowed in the rack. It really is that bad.
PS. I get sick of the Blaze bashing. He didn't write the songs. Steve Harris did. Bruce QUIT! Steve did not fire him and as I mentioned earlier having an Iron Maiden without Bruce in the 90's was better then having NO IRON MAIDEN. Check out Blaze's solo albums like 'Silicon Messiah' they are great metal albums and are produced by Andy Sneap.
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Virtual Xi
Virtual Xi by Iron Maiden (Audio CD - 2002)
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