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Iron Maiden


The X Factor

Released October 2, 1995.

Fan Rating:
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  1. Sign Of The Cross
  2. Lord Of The Flies
    Harris, Gers
  3. Man On The Edge
    Gers, Bayley
  4. Fortunes Of War
  5. Look For The Truth
    Harris, Gers, Bayley
  6. The Aftermath
    Harris, Gers, Bayley
  7. Judgement Of Heaven
  8. Blood On The Worlds Hands
  9. The Edge Of Darkness
    Harris, Gers, Bayley
  10. 2 A.M
    Harris, Gers, Bayley
  11. The Unbeliever
    Harris, Gers

We said ...

The X Factor was the beginning of a new era of Iron Maiden, with Blaze Bayley as frontman and vocalist. It also marks a rebirth of sorts, breathing new life and vitality into a band that was beginning to stagnate during the previous years with Dickinson. With the Heavy Metal genre virtually dead, mostly in the United States, The X Factor reaffirms Iron Maiden's ability to continue making their music without stooping to pander to popular and shallow trends.

The album is a refreshingly dark and introspective exploration of the psyche -- gone are the overly happy sounds that crippled the previous two albums. Most of the songs begin softly and slowly build with power and energy, perfectly creating a dark and brooding atmosphere. The mood is heightened by Blaze's lower vocal style, which complements the atmosphere of the album much better than Dickinson's air-raid siren would have done.

This is an incredibly deep album, which takes time to sink in. As with most excellent albums, the more you'll listen to The X Factor, the more will resonate within you. For those who are attracted to depressing types of music, listening to The X Factor will give you a dose of irresistible melancholy power.

Charted at number 8

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20 Reviews

Anonymous said:

Alas...Blaze never was and never will be Bruce. The extremely grotesque cover art forced the guys to make an alternate cover. But lets talk music. I don't really want to give an overview of each song, because they all sound so damn similar! Lord Of The Flies is pretty awesome, even more so with Bruce in the cockpit. Blood On The World's Hands and Man On The Edge don't suck, but don't exactly make you bow down in front of them either. The rest are basically the same in a multitude of ways. Still, its only their second worst album, behind Virtual XI. But hey, what's an opinion worth?

#13219, February 1, 2004 @ 00:00

Anonymous said:

"The X Factor" is a lyrical and musical masterpiece. This album is very different from other typical Iron Maiden albums. It has a heavier, ominous sound to it and is a deeply, emotional album. It is Iron Maiden's longest CD, clocking in at 70:54 minutes. This album marks the debut of new front man, Blaze Bayley. He has a much deeper, heavier voice than the soaring, theatrical opera-metal style of former lead singer Bruce Dickinson. Blaze's vocal style is much more fitting for "The X Factor" album. The lyrics in "The X Factor" cover dark, moody subjects such as monks, war, injustice, and conflicting emotions in the human mind. The classic Maiden epic, "Sign of The Cross" is a haunting, eleven minute, opening song for the album. It starts with dark, Gregorian chants mixed with a creepy synthesizer tone. The song slowly builds to a heavy guitar chug and Blaze's moody vocals. The song carries you through a wide range of interesting guitar riffs and time changes. "Sign of The Cross" climaxes with an incredible guitar solo that is among some of the best Iron Maiden has ever done. The chorus for this song is great too. The intro to "Lord of The Flies" is very innovative guitar playing. I've never heard a guitar make sounds like that. "Man On The Edge" is the album's "rocker" track. It is a fast paced, in your face Maiden song with great guitar soloing and drum work. "Fortunes of War" is one of the best songs on the album. It's a deeply emotional song about the frightening visions that a soldier experiences after a war. "Look For The Truth" is another great song with an excellent chorus off of "The X Factor." "The Aftermath" is a catchy song with great lyrics and song structure. The guitar riff for this song will stay in your head for a long time. "Judgement of Heaven" is another one of the album's great songs. Its about a person who is questioning his beliefs in god. "Blood On The World's" hands has an awesome intro to it, displaying Steve Harris' truly unique bass playing style. "The Edge of Darkness" is probably the deepest song on the album. It is based on the classic novel, "Heart Of Darkness." "2 A.M." is a slow, emotional track that is almost in the style of a ballad. "The Unbeliever" is one of my favorites off of "The X Factor." Its got incredible guitar riffing, solo's, vocals, bass work, and drumming. This song has it all! "The X Factor" album is a slight stylistic departure for Iron Maiden, but still continues to be one of their best and most interesting albums to date. Steve Harris' production on the album is as strong as any other Iron Maiden album. So is his trademark, galloping bass playing style. Dave Murray and Janick Gers display their always evident, guitar prowess for this disc. Nicko McBrian's inventive drumming style is put to a heavier sound on the album, which greatly adds to its dark atmosphere. And Blaze Bayley's vocal style is perfect for the CD. Some claim that this album is not as strong as other Iron Maiden albums for what ever reason, but I strongly disagree. This is a very good album from one of England's most legendary metal bands. Great vocals, great lyrics, great guitar work, great bass playing, great drumming, great production, GREAT ALBUM!

#13238, March 1, 2003 @ 00:00

Anonymous said:

This isn't exactly the right album to start your Maiden journey with. In fact, I would call this the worst Maiden album ever, crappier than fellow fan-flops No prayer for the dying and Virtual XI. The problems, as I see them, are the following: 1. Extremely long (average time 6:30), dark and gloomy songs, boring and fairly alike-sounding. Also, the majority of these songs are about depressing matters (war/spoils of war, suicide, more war, suffering), each one anti-moshier than the last. 2. Blaze Bayley. New singer, weak choice. In many ways, this is Maiden's correspondence to Jugulator - an album I feed the boom-box about as often. Songs. Opening Sign of the cross is a wrenching torture, but after that comes the four strong tracks that saves this album from total plummet. And if only the rest had been as great as Man on the edge! Ironically, it's actually written by Blaze Bayley (featuring Janick Gers). Reality - it suffers from the very same. Last half of this album I absolutely don't care for whatsoever. The "typical Maiden sound" with harmony lines and bass all over is forced and squeezed to the last drop, and I honestly don't think Steve has anything more to offer that hasn't already been done, with more impact. Oh, and The unbeliever is in my opinion the worst song Maiden has ever done. Now, let's talk some more about Blaze. His voice reminds me very much of a swamp: Slow-mo, blurry, moist, tacky, drownable (I'm quite the philosopher sometimes), not perceptive or ear-splitting in the slightest. Bruce was explosive and kept the songs alive, Blaze is a drowsing bore, with no range or emotion. Apparently, Maiden had to change their setlists because he wasn't able to cut with the classics live (surprise!). Ok, I shouldn't wallow so much in his failure, seeing as I'd rather anticipate a Maiden album up to par. On the other hand, Bruce is back now, so I can be as mean as I want :). Blaze has an...interesting voice, but incompatible with most other sounds (the Maiden sound in particular), and is therefore a poseur with no ri...ahem...sorry, got off on a rant there :). Get this if you must have anything affiliated with Iron Maiden, but don't go dreaming for any miracles. Think I'll spin that Piece of mind once more...

Best songs: Man on the edge; Look for the truth; Lord of the flies

#13242, March 1, 2003 @ 00:00

Anonymous said:

I don't know why people hate this album and Blaze Bayley so much because this album ,although it is darker than the rest, is actually a pretty strong album. My fave songs from this album are:

BLOOD ON THE WORLD'S HAND'S (is one of my fave iron maiden songs of all time)
2 A.M.
Blaze is actually a great singer (better than Paul Di'Anno) but no where near as good as Bruce Dickinson.

#13270, May 9, 2006 @ 10:52

Anonymous said:

It's alright, very dark. Not as good as half of the Bruce Dickinson Maiden albums.

#13273, May 10, 2006 @ 11:00

Anonymous said:

This is a tough album to get into and most people think it just outright sucks. Fair enough, but this album it 10 times better than Virtual 11. As disapointing as both these albums were, The X Factor is the lesser of two evils. Honestly, it took me awhile to get into this one but thats how this album is and I think it has the depth to be appreciated for being unique. It is very dark and depressing most the time, but it is extremely well recorded and I think Blaze shows a lot of raw emotion on this although it is hard to get used to his voice. Sign of the Cross is very good as is Blood on the Worlds Hands. I actually had to hear some of these songs in concert before they really hit me. When I heard Blood on the Worlds Hands live I about shit myself it was that good. Falling down is a fast solid rocker, but just like futureal, I could really care less about it. I'm not into doing song by song reviews, but overall, I'm just saying the only reason anyone thinks Virtual 11 is better than this it because Virtual 11 is all bright and happy sounding. When it comes to overall quality, The X Factor is much better.

#13284, June 6, 2006 @ 04:57

Anonymous said:

Good lord, please don't ever put two songs on a record, one after the other that have the exact same opening chord progression (fortunes of war and look for the truth), my god that looks bad from a creative point of view. If you run out of riffs for songs at least try to change them slightly so they aren't indentical! Obviously, the Blaze era of Maiden is not comparable to Bruce-era or even Paul-era Maiden material, in my opinion, but this album does have some good offerings. Sign of the Cross is a sweet song, check out the live performance on Rock in Rio to see what I mean, awesome solos, heavy riffs, and time changes that are almost ridiculous, namely the middle part where Steve and Dave play some stuff and the band comes in out of no where, they must count it in when they play it live, or they are all telepathic!! The aftermath is a good song and so is man on the edge. Lord of the flies is good too. The real thing about this album is the material, almost all the songs have similar riffs, in the E, C, G, D progession, with varaitions in the key, but the progressions are the same, and it makes the album seem like it was all extrapolated from 3 or 4 songs to get 11 songs. Not a great album, but I still enjoy listening to it, because a sub-par Maiden album is still above par music overall. Haha. Up the Irons.

#13296, June 6, 2006 @ 21:53

Anonymous said:

Love it! Altough this album has bad press, I think it was the best album Maiden released in the '90's. Cover is iffy, but the content of the album was first class.

#13357, September 7, 2006 @ 20:55

Anonymous said:

Despite what some fans think I rate this is as great album, only The Unbeliver let it down. Blaze haters should realize that the songs are well writen and his voice is perfect for the more mature tone of this album.
I don't want to imagine The sigh of the cross being song in the raspy screech Bruce used on Be Quick or be Dead.
And now that Bruce has come back so revitalised and enthusiastic after his time out lets all be thankful that this album exists and that the rest of the band didn't throw in the the towel in 1993.
Listen to this album a few times and its charms will grow on you.
Not every album should sound the same, and we should be pleased that after all these years the boys are not afraid to experiment with the formula.
Up the irons!

#13363, September 9, 2006 @ 14:28

Anonymous said:

blaze bayley sucks the songs and the guitarsare good but it dosent sound like maiden

#13364, September 10, 2006 @ 16:02

Anonymous said:

blaze bayley sucks the cover of this album is grothesque the only good song is lord of the flies in this album iron maiden lost many things:
bruce dickinson
and most of all lost

#13366, September 10, 2006 @ 16:08

Anonymous said:

Great Album, But not True Maiden.
I like Blazes dark moody stlye here.
Although some dislike this with a vengence it works well.
Better than most of the rubbish that swamps the heavy metal music cd shelves.

#13368, September 10, 2006 @ 16:25

Anonymous said:

I know I've already rated this album, but I think it deserves more credit than it is given. Remember the music in the mid 90's in this country (Whigfield, Take That & other manufactured shite). Given this bad period for metal, Maiden stuck to their guns and didn't sell out (unlike Metallica with the more 'commercial' Load & Reload albums. Even Bruce on his own couldn't make it big in this era (what the fuck is Skunkworks all about?). On another note, Blaze does NOT suck. Great voice (OK, he assassinated songs written for Bruce aside from Afraid To Shoot Strangers). shame it didn't work out. His solo albums are top drawer stuff and even Steve admits letting Blaze go was a hard decision. If only Maiden still had blood on the worlds hands, the edge of darkness & look for the truth in their set.

#13371, September 10, 2006 @ 21:18

Anonymous said:

A bit boring, repetitive, lacks power, no epic or excellent tracks.

#13388, September 28, 2006 @ 09:32

Anonymous said:

This huge departure from the previous 2 albums makes it hard to compare, so it will be judged by itself. its brilliant anyway. Even though the album as a whole may drag on or become similar, it is a breakthrough. Highlights are
Man on the edge, Judgement of Heaven, Look for the Truth, Blood on the worlds hands, edge of darkness, and sign of the cross. Weak ones like 2 am and the unbeliever should have been repalce with the awesome B'sides of Virus and Judgement Day. blaze's brooding deep voice works better than Bruces would have. Great live tracks are Man on the edge, Blood on the world hands, and even mediocre studio tracks like Lord of the flies, the aftermath, and Fortunes of war are great live. Blaze also does a better job with Afraid to shoot strangers. Recommend The Eternal Flame bootleg.

#13401, September 28, 2006 @ 22:29

Anonymous said:

Definitely the most underrated Maiden album (together with Virtual XI) and it's a good reason why. It has it's moments, though, even if Blaze's singing can't be compared to either Bruce or Paul

#13418, October 6, 2006 @ 20:03

Anonymous said:

A dark, brooding masterpiece of an album. Blaze Bayley's voice is perfect for the lyrical tones of the album. Just be wary of the Maiden fanboys that say "BRUCE DOESN'T SING IT SO IT SUCKS" or "BLAZE BAYLEY SUCKS" . In my opinion, Blaze was a great fit for this album. His gruff voice suits the songs better than Bruce's operatic one.

#13430, November 7, 2006 @ 09:35

Anonymous said:

I assume most people don't care for Blaze, i can understand that his voice IS broodning, low, and ur right, he doesn't show much emotion like Bruce did, but i think thats what makes the album so dark and moody, its like, if ur having a bad day, go listen to X-Factor, i mean this is a CD that i can sing to since my voice is so low itself, i do prefer Virtual XI over X-Factor for the fact that on V XI, Blaze kinda gets out of the moody, dark thing, and goes into a more let ur voice be heard kinda way, but back to the CD. i think that Sign of The Cross is quite long, 11 min or so, its a great song and alot of twists and turns, but good texture. Lord of the Flies and Aftermath, Fortunes of War are all good. I think i enjoy this more for the music then paying attention to the lyrics, thats what i do w/ all Maiden CDs, i pay attention more to the music, then the lyrics and who's singing it.

#13437, November 16, 2006 @ 22:05

Anonymous said:

This is arguably one of the weaker Maiden albums. Most people blame Blaze Bayley, but I think that's unfair. Blaze is a fine rock vocalist as exemplified by his work with Wolfsbane (especiall Down Fall the Good Guys). No, my problem is not with Blaze - he actually does a good job on this album, and his melancholic voice fits in very well with the dark atmosphere of this album. My problem is with the music itself. It is generally very slov. This in itself is not a problem normally, but on this album it sounds like a dying turtle dragging itself to its final resting place. And the guitar melodies on this album are just not catchy, being played in unison rather than harmonics. My other problem is the prodiction itself. The guitars have this strange sound and they really lack presence. There are some good tunes on this album like "Sign of the Cross", which is a great dark epic where Blaze's voice and the music enter a higher plane of unity. "Man on the Edge" is a great energized rocker continuing where "Be Quick or Be Dead" left off. "Blood on the World's Hands" is also good evolves around an interesting kinda prog guitar riff; it's only problem is the rather strange bass intro. Like "Blood...", "The Unbeliever" is centered around an interesting kinda prog guitar riff. "Lord of the Flies" is a fan favorite, and while it does have a good sing-along-part, I think there are songs which are more interesting than that one. There are also some generally uninteresting tunes, which nonetheless have some good sing-along choruses, or at least some "oh-oh" football chior friendly parts, like "Fortunes of War", "Look for the truth" and "Judgment of Heaven". So, there are some positive alements to this album, but generally it is quite weak, and I have probably been quite generous giving it a 7. And remember, it's not Blaze's fault.

#13448, November 20, 2006 @ 12:48

Anonymous said:

This was, in my opinion, a good album. I liked the stark difference between this one and Fear of the Dark (although the themes were a natural progression). I hated the production quality (could barely hear the slow parts), but the sound really matched the lyrics.

I though Blaze was good, but there is no doubt that some of the vocal melodies intended Bruce (as the subsequent live shows have proven). I was expecting a new deadlier groove to seep into the next album, but unfortunately Virtual XI came out instead. I think Sign of the Cross, Blood On The World's Hands, Man on the Edge and the Unbeliever were really good, even accepting Blaze's vocal execution.

I must admit that I have always been grateful for Maiden's meandering through albums. Killers was definitely different from Seventh Son, and so too was Number of the Beast from No Prayer For the Dying, because I don't like listening to the same music album to album. Hell, that's why I buy the albums: to listen to the music over and over. Why would I want the band to release the same music on each subsequent album? We already have a Seventh Son, Number of the Beast... why would we want another?!

Having said that, I hated Virtual XI for all of the reasons I enjoyed X Factor, Brave New World and Matter of Life and Death.

#13458, December 2, 2006 @ 21:09

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