Virtual XI United KingdomCountry Of Origin: United Kingdom
Iron Maiden - Virtual XI

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The Angel And The Gambler
Lightning Strikes Twice
The Clansman
When Two Worlds Collide
The Educated Fool
Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger
Como Estais Amigos

Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 1998
Label: Sanctuary Records
Categories: Classic, Heavy, NWOBHM

MetalBite Review by Luka on 9/14/2001
This band was really staying true to the end. True to their fans even if theyíre 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 donít know what they were trying to create with this album but with a single like 'The Angel and the Gambler' I sure as hell wasnít impressed. Blaze Bayley, still struggling to be accepted in the dwindling ranks of Maidenís fans, tries his best to please but his voice only symbolizes the wound of losing Dickinson.

Futureal is the fast opener that doesnít quite get you going because itís pretty much over before it even begins. The barely 3-minute song pushes the albumís 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 donít 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'. Iím hardly impressed.

Bottom Line: They arenít stopping. This is just another, albeit poor, chapter in Maidenís long history.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

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

Rating: 6.2 out of 10