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Virtual XI

United Kingdom Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Virtual XI

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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 1998
Genre: Classic, Heavy, NWOBHM
1. Futureal
2. The Angel And The Gambler
3. Lightning Strikes Twice
4. The Clansman
5. When Two Worlds Collide
6. The Educated Fool
7. Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger
8. Como Estais Amigos

Review by Luka on September 14, 2001.

This band was really staying true to the end. True to their fans even if they’re not selling millions and playing arenas, true to their fans in a world that forgot about real metal and in a true in a quickly degenerating music scene losing all quality, integrity, and passion. Maiden put all that aside and try their best to keep these albums rolling.

I really don’t know what they were trying to create with this album but with a single like 'The Angel and the Gambler' I sure as hell wasn’t impressed. Blaze Bayley, still struggling to be accepted in the dwindling ranks of Maiden’s fans, tries his best to please but his voice only symbolizes the wound of losing Dickinson.

Futureal is the fast opener that doesn’t quite get you going because it’s pretty much over before it even begins. The barely 3-minute song pushes the album’s virtual-world, video-game theme but nothing is certain in the cheesy, vague lyrics.

The guitar production here is sharper than on the previous "X Factor" and the album on the whole is faster and more raw. 'When Two Worlds Collide' and 'Lightning Strikes Twice' are quite notable tracks of the old Maiden caliber and 'The Clansman' is a true, old-Maiden-style epic, with lyrics that sound as if they were inspired by the movie "Braveheart". The other tracks, however, just don’t cut it. Aside from the cool solo in 'The Educated Fool', the rest range from simply bad to horribly, what-the-hell-were-they-thinking cheesy, like 'The Angel and the Gambler'. I’m hardly impressed.

Bottom Line: They aren’t stopping. This is just another, albeit poor, chapter in Maiden’s long history.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Originality: 6
Musicianship: 7
Atmosphere: 6
Production: 6
Overall: 6

Rating: 6.2 out of 10