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...