The Problem with the X-Factor?

I've never understood why this album is considered among Maiden's worst. I can't even fathom it. For some albums like Virtual XI (bad production, monotonous vocals, TAATG) I can understand. But when I listen to the X-Factor, I hear nothing but absolute brilliance from start to finish and there's really nothing dislikeable to me that pops up. I know there are different strokes for different folks, but I can't even really think of a reason why one would consider this album bad. Some I suppose just cannot get used to Blaze (who I think is perfect on this album), but even without him the music is soul-wrenching. TXF is my favorite Maiden album tied with SIT.

Thoughts?
 

Perun

In the labyrinth of eternity
Staff member
The X Factor is my favourite album ever. Favourite album, full stop. The criticism, I think generally arises from the fact that it sounds very much unlike classic Maiden. I can understand that, but at the same time, I think it's a narrow-minded point of view that doesn't respect the right for an artist to evolve. I suppose that the love for the album that I have comes from the intensive experience I had with it. I had no use for it for about half a year, but then, at some point, I started to relate what it said to me to what I was experiencing at the time, and it clicked with me.

My problem with TXF is that it's too short. I can never get enough of it.

I know that feeling. Even if I put on the B-sides from the era afterwards, it's still too short.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
The only problem with this album is the production. You can barely hear the rhythm guitar and the drums sound weird. It's the only reason why I don't give it a full 5/5 rating.
 

Perun

In the labyrinth of eternity
Staff member
The guitars on Fortunes of War are a moment when I regret the production. Just listen to how heavy they were live. Otherwise, even the production fits the album well, I think.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
Yeah, I barely notice the production. Probably it's a matter of getting used to it - I bought the album in early 1996, when there was barely any licenced music sold here. So the copy of TXF that I listened to for years was crappy anyway.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
I don't know. TXF is a very deep and dark album that has the most potential out of any Maiden album to be atmospheric. It is atmospheric as it is now but I think with a better production the music could've gone into even more depth.
 

Saapanael

Твои карие глаза, твои сладкие уста
The production does have some flaws. Rhythm guitar is a bit weak compared to vocals, something about drums (I remember feeling something wrong about the cymbals) and the intro of Sign of the Cross is too quiet. But there are Maiden albums with way worse production out there (IM, Killers, FotD, DoD) and in terms of songs it's one of my favourite albums too and features some of my favourite songs.
 

Hallowed be thy Brain

Infinite Dreamer
I can understand why people wouldn't like the album due to the fact it's not Bruce and the album is a little too quiet. But, once you get passed that it's pure classic Maiden. Melodic guitars, great story telling, Steve Harris rocking it on the bass. The X-factor is in my top 10 Maiden albums for sure.
 

harrisdevot

Priest of the Holy Wristband
Well, Hallowed, I share your opinion on that record, that I like a lot, but being in a top 10 of Maiden albums certainly doesn't mean that much : after all, they haven't released 50 records.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
Cosmiceddie is right. People didn't like The X Factor because Blaze was singing on it. Blaze!!! Not Bruce. Nevertheless The X Factor is still a great album.
 

harrisdevot

Priest of the Holy Wristband
The problem is called Blaze Bayley, it's as simple as that.
Just for curiosity's sake, is it just a petition of principle ? Is it just because it wasn't Bruce on vocals, or because you really think Blaze's voice didn't fit the music ? I've always thought it was a bold choice to engage such a different singer, and when I see Queerysche now, that have taken a perfect clone of Tate, I feel confirmed in that opinion. True, his rendition of the back catalogue wasn't good, but it gave us two very different abums, which I consider an enrichment of their discography.
 
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Cosmiceddie

Back From The Edge
To me, Blaze simply was the wrong replacemenet. Having said that, who would have been the right person to replace Bruce? Perhaps no one.
 

Hallowed be thy Brain

Infinite Dreamer
To me, Blaze simply was the wrong replacemenet. Having said that, who would have been the right person to replace Bruce? Perhaps no one.
I'm glad they went with Blaze. Just like Harrisdevot said, it added something different while still sounded like Maiden and if fans didn't like it because it's not Bruce than it's their loss because The X-Factor was a great album filled with great tunes and you have to admit that. I mean, imagine if Maiden went with someone that sounded EXACTLY like Bruce like Priest and Queensryche did it would in my opinion, be boring and uninspired.
 
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