The real problem with Virtual

Kauha-Apina

Invader
I'll tell you the real problems with Virtual:

1. People are so prejudiced about Blaze. He has much more deeper and monotone voice than Bruce and all. "Oh it's a Blaze-album, so it sucks"
2. Many people don't have even listened to the album completely. They just listen one song and then say "it sucks"
3. People don't listen this album as a whole. All the songs may not be so great, but the totality of the album is the thing that matters.
4. The album cover is very very ugly.


I don't really think that Virtual XI is a bad album. It may not be the greatest product of Maiden, but I still think that this is not the worst Maiden-album. FOTD is much worse, but it's overrated because it has a great title track.
Blaze fucking rules, and Virtual XI is not the worst album. X Factor is awesome too.
 
I'll tell you the real problems with Virtual:

1. People are so prejudiced about Blaze. He has much more deeper and monotone voice than Bruce and all. "Oh it's a Blaze-album, so it sucks"
2. Many people don't have even listened to the album completely. They just listen one song and then say "it sucks"
3. People don't listen this album as a whole. All the songs may not be so great, but the totality of the album is the thing that matters.
4. The album cover is very very ugly.


Oddly enough, I dislike this album for almost all opposite reasons.

1. I enjoyed Blaze's style in the darker, depressing tone of X-Factor. On this material though, he & the band come across as pedestrian at best.
2/3. The album as a whole becomes tedious with its many repetitive vocal lines... and much of the music seeming like it is in the same key.
(Nevermind the sense that most of the lead riffs sound very similar to those used in previous albums with better energy/execution)
4. I have the CD with the very cool hologram sleeve... which, unfortunately, I enjoy more than the CD itself.

Granted, I feel like this overall album is closer to being a product of its time (90s Post-Grunge/Hard Rock era)
than its namesake would imply (Melodic Metal) ...
and I am not a fan of that style in general so I'm probably not the best person to judge this collection of songs.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I like the songs individually, like Clansman, WTWC, Educated Fool, to name just 3. The only one I truly don't like is Don't Look To...

But as an album, meh. It feels like a compilation album to me.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
But as an album, meh. It feels like a compilation album to me.

This.

I like The Clansman, Como Estais Amigos, When Two Worlds Collide and Lightning Strikes Twice from the album. I find Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger listenable, I don't really care about Futureal and The Educated Fool and I despise The Angel and the Gambler.

No great songs there on the album, though. It's hell not the worst Maiden album, that title goes to Fear of the Fillers.
 

Arturo_J

Prowler
The way i see it, the problem is abouth the harmony. We were used to listen the Bruce era, and with Blaze the tone changes to a darker one, specially on the previous album. You can notice that Bruce's vibrato allow him to stretch the lyrics that made the songs feel more fluent. Blaze doesn't have that and it shows. As an example, the song When two worlds collide is a perfect fit for Blaze, it feels harmonic, i don't get that feeling a lot in the Blaze's era.
So, Blaze isn't as good as Bruce in that aspect, and Bruce have (had) that resource on his favor.
 
While I admire people trying to find the best out of it, I just simply can't do the same. Futureal, WTWC, and Como Estais are listenable, but the rest of album I just can't get on with.

I must have come back to it 5 or 6 times now expecting/hoping that I might hear it differently, but if anything as I've got older it just sounds worse! I just can't get past 45/60 sec of any of the other tracks without reaching for the skip button. I have once forced myself to get all the way through TAATG but it wasn't an easy experience, which pains me to say about any Maiden track, but it really is mind numbingly bad.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would rank this higher than NPFTD, FOTD, or even X Factor (which is actually quite underrated IMO) but each to their own I suppose.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
I think you can look at most albums really, from several perspectives. We here are all, by various degrees, the hardcore of Maiden fans. We judge Maiden albums by a different standard than a Rock/Metal fan who casually enjoys Maiden. I can find things to enjoy in all of Maiden's albums - Every song, even Hooks in You etc. From that perspective, I tihnk Virtual XI is a very good album.

But. If I try and remove myself from my the shackles of my Maiden obession, I can clearly see why somebody who isn't a massive Maiden fan wouldn't like Virtual XI. The production is flawed which makes the performances sound dull and lifeless, with the possible exception of Blaze's vocals, where you can tell he really applied himself. The only "hits" are Futureal and The Clansman. The rest are forgettable at best I think, to the general public, and outright bad for some.

Now, in the context of me being a massive Maiden fan, I love the album. But the reasons most people don't is to me quite obvious.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
One of my least favourite Maiden albums but it's still a very good album.
Highlights: The Clansman (best version of the song, sorry for the Rock In Rio fans), The Educated Fool and Don't Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger. That slow part where the tension is building up towards a climax is truly magnificent.
 
Top