MetalBite Review by Luka on 1/27/2002
After ten glorious years of and fame and uncompromising epic metal mastery, the gods Iron Maiden
, though weary, forge bravely onward without the familiar voice and face of Bruce Dickinson that they grew legendary with. Well, Steve Harris decided he wouldnít let the frontmanís departure cripple and doom his very own band. A casualty of war... the battle continues without him.
War, or rather what happens after one, is the official theme of "The X Factor"
. A depressing concept album, more or less, on soldiers that finally come home from the terrors of war only to find that something much worse awaits them. The experience has left a scar in their conscience that runs deeper than any in body. The very moving 'Fortunes of War'
relates an old veteran whoís nightmares haunt him with horrid scenes from the conflict long past and '2 A.M.'
, a depressing but powerful song, relates the feeling that there is nothing more to live for, life has become trivial and meaningless.
Itís for this reason that this album disappointed many old Iron Maiden
fans. Too low-key: no catchy live songs; no ten-minute historical epics; no fun, and while Blaze Bayley can belt out a decent tune, he is nothing compared to Dickinson. But, being one of the younger and more inquisitive fans, Iíve come to cherish "X Factor"
as much as any Maiden release. There is a very unique sort of dark and sad atmosphere created here that I can find in no other album. I see it as a solid and different release from the band and try not to look at it compared to what Iron Maiden
used to be, but only as they are now. Time to look forward, the band has been reborn, though they donít seem too happy about it.
Itís obvious that theyíre not trying to catch anyone off guard with an album that opens with 'Sign of the Cross'
- the slowest and longest song. 'Lord of the Flies'
and 'Man on the Edge'
are faster and more lively but they donít fool anyone, the true character of the album lies in the progressive and powerful tracks like 'Fortunes of War', 'Look for the Truth'
and 'The Edge of Darkness'
which start off very slowly and courageously build up stronger and stronger to a magnificent anthem. The boys deliver enough songs to satisfy anyone, and among the roster are good ones as well as bad.
Very uncharacteristic for Iron Maiden
, depressing, slow, but very powerful.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10