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Sign of the Cross

Discussion in 'The X Factor' started by Taffy, Jan 23, 2004.


How good is Sign of the Cross on a scale of 1-10?

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  1. I dunno, It bugs me with TXF not with Piece of Mind or SS or the quiet bit in Rime.
    Perhaps it's just a thing with me.

    I get so annoyed with the difference in volume on TV, adverts scream at about three times the volume than TV shows (don't know if you have this problem in your country) but it means that I haven't really watched TV in years now. I just watch TV On Demand or just do other things with my time.
  2. Bombusbombus

    Bombusbombus Nomad

    I can be a little annoyed when the album starts very quite, cause I don't know if the volume is right or my ears will die when it gets going. So I often checks the volume on another song first and then go back and start the record. On some records this somehow annoys me, the X factor is one of them.
  3. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Yeah, and that's not what it was intended for.

    I think with the dominance of loudness equalisation we have nowadays, and people being content to listen to music anywhere and from whatever medium, we're kind of forgetting that Maiden was primarily recording music to be listened to, and not consumed. Sign of the Cross for example is not the kind of song to play on the radio, in the car or in a pub. That's what singles like Two Minutes or Aces High are for.

    If people are not willing to listen to music in the environment it was recorded for, or ready to be involved in the listening experience, it's not the music's fault. I agree that The X Factor has a lot of problems sound- and production-wise, but the quiet bits in Sign of the Cross are the last thing I'd think of complaining about.

    Seriously, I can't believe we've come so far that people complain about the way music sounds in a loud environment.
  4. frus

    frus Barbed Wire Hen

    Right on!
  5. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    The ominous sounds and 11 minute length of this song really signifies we're in for something special with this album. I really admire Maiden's courage to introduce a new singer with easily their most difficult and inaccessible album, rather than go the safe route. Opening with the epic was the perfect way to start this album. The build up is intense and this song compliments Blaze's voice.

    It has the classic Maiden gallop but the song around it is moodier and heavier. Lots of interesting guitar layers and the chorus makes for a nice climax. The soft bridge in the middle is so cool, especially when the full band kicks back in. Lots of great riffs and melodies make for one of Maiden's most exciting instrumental sections. Great guitar solos, Janick has really cemented his place in the band at this point. This instrumental is also very reminiscent of FTGGOG in retrospect. Love how they layer parts underneath what would be a repetitive melody otherwise.

    The half time chorus is a great way to wrap it all up.

    At one point this was my favorite Maiden song. Others have dethroned it, but it's still up there.

    I just realized that maybe having an epic with an extended instrumental open the album might've been a way of slowly introducing listeners to Blaze. You get a glimpse of his vocals in the first few minutes where he sounds fine but maybe there's still some uncertainty about the overall direction, but then you get a classic epic instrumental section that reminds you that this is still Maiden. Just an evolved version.


    I'll only comment on the production once because I'll end up talking about it every song if I'm not careful: The thin sound makes these songs a lot less powerful than they could be. SOTC is a great example. The loud parts should be bombastic, here they fall flat. This song in particular is one of Maiden's most cinematic, but the production doesn't do it justice.
    Dityn DJ James likes this.
  6. BeThyJames

    BeThyJames Trooper

    Odd to think that this was the first and best song recorded by Maiden with Blaze.

    Even here though I think there are problems with the vocals. His voice sounds ever so slightly out of pitch on some of the choruses.

    Tremendously atmospheric song though, haunting intro and one of their best instrumentals, especially the rapid section before the solos. Pretty epic studio versionbut of course Bruce steals it live.

  7. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Love or hate Blaze Bayley, his era starts off with a fucking triumph. 10/10 would Blaze again.
    TheTalisman likes this.
  8. MrKnickerbocker

    MrKnickerbocker clap hands

    10/10 torches Blaze brightly in the night.

    Sign of the Cross is an extreme exercise in moodiness that takes its title from Umberto Eco’s book, The Name of the Rose, though the lyrics mostly deal with a lone protagonist possibly facing torture at the hands of the Inquisition. It is a true Steve Harris epic and one of Iron Maiden’s best songs, despite it’s atmospheric passages and overall length. Blaze Bayley’s introduction is an almost whispered intro and it is clear that we are in for a very different Iron Maiden experience. His range is much lower than Bruce Dickinson’s, closer to Paul Di’Anno’s without the grit. The choice of opening the album with the longest song is interesting. It makes a strong statement that this album will be different from all of the others. In a way, it’s a defining moment in labeling The X Factor a more progressive album than a collection of pure metal. The middle section is full beautiful harmony riffs and dramatic bass and keyboard work, some of it dipping into odd time signatures. I’m sure Nicko had fun with this song. Both guitar solos are fantastic, including Janick’s, which feels more melodic and precise than his earlier work with the band.
  9. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 Gott Mit Uns

    Those who say the Blaze era was the worst period in recorded musical history need look only to this track to find out how badly mistaken they were. 10/10

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