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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Great To Me
I really like this album and find it a valuable part of my Maiden collection.Die hard fans of the group probably hate it because Bruce is not singing,sure I can understand this but lets be honest here this is not the crap album that a lot of reviewers make out it is.I found it nice and heavy and feel Blaze did a fine job on on vocals.Maybe best for you to listen to first...
Published on 10 May 2008 by AJ

versus
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm running out of my time, I'm running out of breath
While Bayley didn't, in my opinion, ever top Paul or Bruce's vocals, he uses a wide vocal range on his second (and last) Maiden album. Opinions on this album are extremely varied as you can see by the below reviews, but I believe this album was a worthy purchase!
"Futureal" kicks off the album brilliantly, with 3 minutes of speed and power, and insanely fast bass...
Published on 17 April 2003 by Infinite Dreamer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Great To Me, 10 May 2008
By 
AJ "Alan" (Joburg, South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
I really like this album and find it a valuable part of my Maiden collection.Die hard fans of the group probably hate it because Bruce is not singing,sure I can understand this but lets be honest here this is not the crap album that a lot of reviewers make out it is.I found it nice and heavy and feel Blaze did a fine job on on vocals.Maybe best for you to listen to first before you purchase if your not sure but all I can say is I think its great and I play often and say well done Blaze for your help in making a really good solid album with the troops.
Check out Blaze band on Amazon.
Hope review helps you.Virtual X1.
Ps SSSssshhhhhhh.Just go get it,its a great album.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Virtually..., 16 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
While being grouped in the category of less successful and obviously less interesting Maiden albums, Virtual XI is not the worst they have written. The X-Factor, despite what I read in the reviews on these pages, is a bad album. Musically it is bland and feels like it has been stuck permanently in the 80's. No Prayer for the Dying was also not great but at least Bruce was singing. The inclusion of Blaze Bayley was, I'm afraid, one of the deciding factors in forming my opinion on the new material from the band. But I must say that although he started off badly, he found his footing with album no. 2 (or 11, whichever).

As a whole, Maiden seem to have gelled nicely. It feels as though they enjoy playing again, which is one of the reasons why their first 7 albums were all so good. Music should be enjoyed not only by the audience. Maiden make you feel as if they have returned from a long sabatical with Virtual XI.

Futureal is a classic Maiden track, as good and as exciting as The Trooper, Can I Play With Madness and The Prisoner all rolled into one. Possibly one of their best ever tracks. That is what was missing from post 7th son recordings, any sign of a true Maiden classic. It is short for a Maiden track, only 3 minutes, but it is a great opener to an album that is dotted with good songs although it does falter towards the middle. The Angel & the Gambler is far too long but, somehow, does not get tedious. Lightning Strikes Twice is a worthy track but is missing something. The Clansman is actually rather good, very overblown but a true Maiden saga track that just about ticks all the boxes. When Maiden do an epic, they usually do a good one. Just take Dream of Mirrors and The Nomad from Brave New World (a much more exhilarating return to form). The following three songs are very close in style and execution to Lightning Strikes....

What really sets this album apart from the X-Factor, No Prayer for the Dying etc is what holds it all together and makes you want to listen to it all the way through: the opening and the end track. Futureal and Como Estais Amigos are true Maiden classics that rise above anything they've produced on their previous 3 albums. And listening to Bruce sing Futureal live on the B-side of The Wicker Man suddenly makes you realise that it is a song that could have been written back in their Powerslave or Somewhere in Time era.

Not exactly vintage Iron Maiden but back-on-form Iron Maiden. Bruce is still far better suited to the frontman role but every effort is made with this album to forefront Blaze's vocals, which are very good.

If you want an album that is typical of Maiden, try Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind, or indeed 7th son. Virtual XI is purely for the die-hards. Nevertheless, a 4 star effort and a glimpse of their fabulous rebirth.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm running out of my time, I'm running out of breath, 17 April 2003
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
While Bayley didn't, in my opinion, ever top Paul or Bruce's vocals, he uses a wide vocal range on his second (and last) Maiden album. Opinions on this album are extremely varied as you can see by the below reviews, but I believe this album was a worthy purchase!
"Futureal" kicks off the album brilliantly, with 3 minutes of speed and power, and insanely fast bass playing by Mr Steve Harris.
Sadly, this is followed by "The Angel and the Gambler". 10 minutes of cheesy keyboard touches, a hazy subject matter and the most frustrating lines I've heard anyone sing in recent memory ("Don't you think I'm a saviour, Don't you think I could save ya, Don't you think I could save your life") all add up to the most disappointing Maiden song I've ever heard.
Things soon pick up though, with "Lightning Strikes Twice", a song which builds up from slow to fast, perhaps representing the gradual approach of a thunder storm. Decent song.
"The Clansman" is my favourite track on the album, and a tribute to my favourite film, Mel Gibson's "Braveheart". Based in the reign of power-hungry Edward Longshanks, the 9 minute song perfectly reflects the film it's based on, with a gob smacking rendition of the word "FREEDOM!" by Bayley. Guitars sound very Scottish, and a blistering solo will leave you doing traditional Scottish dances to this classic! :-P
The centrepiece of the album, "When Two Worlds Collide" is self-explanatory as to its subject matter. Nothing special, but a solid track nonetheless.
"The Educated Fool" talks about living life to the full, so indeed you should! Another good track, but one which I fear will be overlooked in comparison to "Futureal" or "The Clansman".
"Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger" sounds pretty lame at first, but you'll appreciate it after a few listens. It builds up with tension, and COULD be seen as the other person's point of view in the song "Prowler".
"Como Estais Amigos" mourns the war-dead, and is an emotional album-closer. This is the only song on "Virtual XI" that doesn't have Steve Harris in the writing credits, and is more evidence of the more emotional side of 90's Maiden.
This is indeed a good album with a few classics, and most of the rest are definitely worth listening to many times. However, "The Angel and the Gambler" is a real let-down, and stains the album for me, as I can't get any enjoyment out of that song. There are much better Maiden albums than "Virtual XI", and I'd only advise this to the long-term fan. To me it is much more than a space in my collection, but it's no "Powerslave" or "Seventh Son...".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by Blaze, 25 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
I own every Iron Maiden studio album other than The X Factor and, until now, Virtual XI. I have deliberately avoided these two, as they were released during the time that the usual singer, Bruce Dickinson, left the band to pursue a solo career. They replaced him with Wolfsbane singer Blaze Bayley, who is regarded by most IM fans as a sub-par vocalist. I was one of those fans until recently. I decided to give this a chance, and actually Blaze is fantastic. The only problem is that everyone keeps comparing him to Bruce. He is not Bruce, and if you compare Blaze to anyone else you will see his vocal style really fits with Iron Maiden. Even if you still don't like his voice, it's still got the rest of the Iron Maiden lads (minus Adrian Smith), so you can still tell it's them. We have a lot to thank Blaze for anyway; Bruce left the band and made some great albums himself, and if Blaze hadn't been so unpopular, we might never have got Mr Dickinson back! Overall, a great album until you compare it to other Iron Maiden albums. But who cares? It's still IM, and therefore still one of the greatest albums of all time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not their best, but enjoyable, 30 Sep 2009
By 
Matthew Schwarz (Bridgewater, nj United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
Well, if you're just beginning with the band, I'd recommend getting their 80s work first, then their 2000's albums - the 90's ones aren't their best. However, as someone who loves Iron Maiden, I found this one pretty enjoyable - in fact it's probably their 90s album I listen to most. To me it sounds more "Iron Maiden" than anything else they put out in that decade - the early 90s Bruce albums were drifting towards more of a rockish metal (as opposed to the grand, epic speed metal of their 80s heyday), and "The X Factor" was rather dirgy. Virtual XI is a little more fast and upbeat than it's predecessor. I kind of liked Blaze's singing - not as great as Bruce in the 80s, but Blaze had a dark, rich voice that was good in a different way (and Bruce's singing on the early 90's Maiden albums wasn't his best, either - and, if you check out Blaze's post-Maiden solo stuff, he sounds even better than he did with Maiden).
The biggest complaint about this album, which others have mentioned, is that some of the choruses (mainly on "Angel and the Gambler") are too repetitive. I rather like the song, but it's a rather Who-ish/classic 70s rock vibe, and they did this thing where they took it down and built it up while repeating the chorus over and over, so I can see why some metal fans don't like it. Musically it's kind of cool, but they probably should've written more lyrics! Honestly, it's probably something that would've been best saved for the live performance and a shorter, tighter arrangement would've suited the studio album better. "Don't Look To The Eyes of A Stranger" does a similar thing, but I think it works a little better. Aside from that, this album just FEELS more like Iron Maiden than their previous 3 - although, maybe a safer, more comfortable Maiden; songs like "Futureal" and "When Two Worlds Collide" give me a similar feel to "Somewhere In Time", for example. "Como Estais Amigos" is a kind of ballad-ish song, but nicely melodic and has a nice instrumental big in the middle I really like. "Lightning Strikes Twice" has a great moody feel, and "The Clansman" is a "Braveheart" inspired epic that goes over well with most fans (myself included).
Overall an enjoyable album, although not as fast, exciting, or dangerous as the band is known for (interestingly enough, at about this same time, former Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith joined ex-vocalist Bruce Dickenson for a couple albums entitled "Accident of Birth" and "Chemical Wedding" that should please any fan of 80s Iron Maiden).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion I love this album., 15 Jun 2008
By 
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
Sure this album wasn't as good when Iron Maiden had Bruce Dickinson or Paul Dianno but on it's own it's awesome. My favourites are Futureal, The Angel And The Gambler, Lightning Strikes Twice, The Clansman & When Two Worlds Collide (the guitars are awesome in that). I have no problem with this album or The X Factor their both brilliant. Yeah this is pretty different to maiden's other album but you have to be open minded and dont just vhate this cause it doesnt have Bruce Dickinson cause that's stupid. My advice is if you are a maiden fan and dont have this or The X Factor then buy 'em both and ignore the negative reviews, and if you're starting to get into Iron Maiden start with albums Killers, The Number Of The Beast Or Powerslave and leave Virtual XI and The X Factor till last though they are awesome you may think different just start of with the classic albums i mentioned. UP THE IRONS.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blaze was Necessary, 27 Dec 2007
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
Blaze was necessary for maiden during the 90's after the band had grown stale with bruce. this is technally maidens third album with blaze as he recorded new material for best of the beast.

Often unfairly slated by maiden fans, this has the fast melodic rapidness associated with pre fear.. Dickinson maiden and therefor for me personally is just as good as them.

All songs (bar angel and the gambler) are solidly classic maiden masterpiecesm my personal favourites being lightening strikes twice and don't look to the eyes of a stranger.

Buy This CD if you want maiden at their purest musically and darkest vocally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual XI, 14 Jan 2013
By 
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
I have almost every Maiden album apart from a few which I intend to buy very soon and out of their albums, here is my top 5:

1. Killers
2. Iron Maiden
3. Powerslave
4. Virtual XI
5. Brave New World

If you notice I am not a Bruce Dickinson fan boy and I equally love Paul's and Blaze's singing voice as much as Bruce's. I struggle to see why so many people dislike the album cause personally, I think it is a great album. I can see my myself playing the air guitar in my room whilst listening to the whole album and not hating one minute of it. Most of the songs on this album can be seen as deep such as "The clansman"(my favorite) and "The educated fool".

This is helped due to Blaze's voice as it fits perfectly adding much needed menace to the lyrics. The songs are then accompanied by very skilled guitar solos that can either make you jump up or slowly drift into your own little world (which is why I love The clansman so much). Each song has a great amount of emotion added to it which is what I like about it, it differs from Maidens other albums.

I give Virtual XI 5/5 and even if you aren't a Maiden fan this album is a great buy, although it would help if you keep an open mind and remember that Iron Maiden at this point are trying out new things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The worst album in a mostly fine catalogue..., 19 Dec 2012
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
The second album with Blaze on vocals, and his last.

Virtual XI, the bands eleventh release, was a commercial and critical failure when released in 1998 (it peaked at number 124 in the USA and number 16 in the UK). Needless to say, it would prove to be the last album the band would record with Blaze Bayley as he was replaced by a returning Bruce Dickinson in 1999.

The fact is, that by any measure, Blaze was not a good enough singer for this iconic band and its demanding style of music. Though, as the per the X-Factor, he is only half the problem as the other issue with this album is the truly terrible production (by founding member and bassist Steve Harris).

However, there are additional issues with Virtual XI when compared to even the X-Factor.

Notably, there is a very real and serious issue with the drumming. It has been questioned (by internet rumour) whether or not long time drummer Nicko McBrain is actually playing on this album. This may be a bizarre conspiracy theory, but certainly one can see why his particaption on the album is questioned. The acclaimed drummer is known for his placement of 'drum-fills', but, here, the drumming is awfully simplistic and weak.

And finally, where as the X-Factor had numerous songs of a good potential, Virtual XI has less going for it. Opener 'Futureal' is a short sharp rocker of some merit and the epic 'Clansman' is majestic and stunning even with Blaze's limited vocals. There is also the closing track, 'Comos Estais Amigos' which is a fine emotional track co-written by Blaze and delivered with conviction.

However, the flop lead single, 'The Angel And The Gambler' is shockingly repitiive and with a terrible chorus. Indeed, this is true of many of the remaining album tracks - and this is only an 8 track album!

All in all, the weakest entry in Maiden's mostly fine back catalogue of albums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf's last stand., 22 Sep 2012
This review is from: Virtual XI (Audio CD)
Yeah, the writing was on the wall right from the start, when Blaze Bayley took over vocal duty in Maiden.
When Paul DiAnno was singing in Maiden, they had more of an underground feel to their music (suiting the smaller venues they were performing at). But when DiAnno was replaced with Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maidens whole style changed to match his voice, injecting a much more epic & grandiose feel to their music.
So when Blaze joined the band, you would have thought Maiden would have again changed their style to accommodate Bayley's vocal (ironically he was closer to DiAnno's singing style), but they never, perhaps the rest of the band were too set in their ways to be able to change again.
Which addresses the main problem of Bayley stint with Maiden, which was his vocal range wasn't strong enough when trying to replicate Dickinson's epic vocal sweeps.
You have also go t to remember the time that the album was released; the rock world was still struggling in a metal landscape destroyed by Cobain, so trying to bed in a new singer was always going to be a tough job.
Saying all that, "Virtual XI" (yes I've final got to the Album) is a pretty decent record, more relaxed & confident than "X-factor" (which I felt Bayley was trying a bit to hard to impress), we the usual mix of sci-fi, medieval & paranoia.
It certainly not the weakest Maiden album ("No prayer for the Dying", "Fear of the Dark" I'm looking at you!) & when Brucey rejoined, they sang "The Clans man" on the "Brave new world" tour.
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Virtual XI
Virtual XI by Iron Maiden (Audio CD - 1998)
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