The Unbeliever

How good is The Unbeliever on a scale of 1-10?


  • Total voters
    55

JudasMyGuide

The resident saudade aficionado
For quite some time Cross used to be my #1 song on this album. But recently I realised #2 spot just don't do this masterpiece justice. I hereby proclaim The Unbeliever Maiden's best song off TXF, and - since Fear of the Dark works more as an album than having some particular highlights - probably their best song in the 90's. One of the few songs I can hear anytime, even when I'm not in the mood for Maiden. 10/10, of course.
 
Anyone else notice the similarity between the chorus of this song and The Thin Line Between Love & Hate? The "all my life I've run astray, let my faith slip away" bit from The Unbeliever is nearly identical to the "I will hope my soul will fly" bit from Thin Line
 

Brigantium

General of the Dark Army
Staff member
Super nice atmospheric instrumental section, but the rest of the song is a little too mixed up for my liking.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I love this song for the reason most people seem to not be so fond of it. It's all over the place and jarring, but something about it just works for me. I like that it keeps you guessing and has a lot of very un-Maidenish parts. It's a great way to end a very strange album. Unfortunately Blaze struggles on this one. Especially during the verses, which suffer from the Steve Harris Wordiness Syndrome. The chorus is awesome, love the acoustic guitars there. You can really hear Steve's love for 70s prog on this track. Great interaction between the bass and guitars during the instrumental sections.

The song takes a total left turn halfway through with an atypical Maiden beat followed by an awesome buildup. Lots of tension there.

The song ends on a message that's perfect for an album like this. Definitely one of Maiden's most focused efforts.


8
 

BeThyJames

Trooper
Really can't understand the appreciation for this song.

Honestly think it's the worst vocal of any song in Maiden history. Blaze is flat and his voice breaks several times. The rather tame instrumental sections just add to the lack of quality. Worst track on the album

4
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
8/10 Blazes making one last grasp at oxygen.

The Unbeliever brings this introspective album to a predictably introspective close. Steve writes of his own struggles with faith and delivers a mostly successful mini-epic. Experimentation is the name of the game here. The verses are cynical and syncopated with a jarring pre-chorus interspersed every few lines. Time changes occur often throughout the song and there’s even a strange section where bass, ride cymbal, and guitar harmonics sync up into a delicate note pattern. The chorus of The Unbeliever is literally the only moment on the entire album where Blaze truly pushes himself vocally. He’s singing at the far end of his range and it sounds awesome. I wish he had done more of this throughout the album, because it adds a depth of power that the emotionally complex songs here could have used. Unaccompanied solos drive the bridge of The Unbeliever and for once the lack of textured rhythm guitar actually enhances the song. It’s not a classic track, but it certainly closes the album on a bit of an upswing.
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
Interesting song and a nice vocal performance.

The chorus of The Unbeliever is literally the only moment on the entire album where Blaze truly pushes himself vocally. He’s singing at the far end of his range and it sounds awesome. I wish he had done more of this throughout the album, because it adds a depth of power that the emotionally complex songs here could have used.

This. There's too many songs that are too low for him. It's not often you hear examples of rock songs that would have benefitted from higher vocal lines. I'd have no trouble seeing Blaze singing a few of the songs a full step to a full step and half higher.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Not the most memorable thing ever, but it's nonetheless a good song. Were it any lesser of a song, people would be complaining about the constant repetition of the lyrics, yet here it seems to work. It feels like a contemplation of life. That first 'all my life' has backing guitars that wouldn't sound out of place on Operation: Mindcrime come to think of it. Still, strong song, wavering between 7 and 8. Going for 7/10 for now, but it's a strong 7 definitely. I'm starting to think that I haven't given The X Factor the credit it truly deserves. It's long, but it holds up.
 
This song.... wow

TXF has been an intriguing album for me over the years, I feel the older I get the more this album resonates with me on a personal level.

For me this song is the perfect ending to an incredible, cohesive and introspective album. The guitar tone on the mid section solos is sublime

I got massively back into this album earlier this year and this song was on repeat.

10/10, one of my favourites
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
I've always enjoyed The X-Factor and it's moody, dark atmosphere very much, but I've always found this album closer a bit underwhelming, even boring at times. But recently, this song has finally been growing for me. As @MrKnickerbocker stated, Blaze sings very well and actually pushes himself - successfully, unlike with some live performances, where he really tried, but the results were not as good.

There are some impressive songwriting in this one. The instrumental section(s) are great and as poor and stripped down as the production of this album is, it really suits this song (too). Yup, there are some transitions that don't feel that smooth and admittedly there is certain amount of repetition around, but nowhere near what was to come on the next album... I like to put it this way: The Unbeliever sums up and closes The X-Factor in a very definite way: moody, dark yet energetic with some very bold and impressive songwriting. And even at it's worst, it sounds inspired. The song and the album too. And that's something the other 90's albums, as underrated as they sometimes are, didn't manage to sound like for most of the time, even though there is a lot of great work and good, occasionally even very fresh songwriting around.

I suck at giving scores, I have a bad habit of overthinking these things, but The Unbeliever is probably somewhere around 7/10.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
And he can read on how I react to and interpret his words. For this is an interactive forum. The message was not: thy shall pay heed to my opinion. It was: a rating does not have to be more modest than the positive critique (accentuating the special qualities of the song) that was delivered.
 
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Randalf

Ancient Mariner
a rating does not have to be more modest than the positive critique (accentuating the special qualities of the song) that was delivered.

I can definitely see your point here. The Unbeliever is undoubtedly a good song with very interesting qualities, but in a scale of 1-10 these individual song scores, especially the line between 7 and 8 tend to be pretty controversial. :D I'd say that as interesting as this song definitely is, it might not have that edge and hook that many other good tunes do have. Not the most appropriate comparison, but The Man Who Would be King, for example, is a good song with something different and definitely interesting stuff going on, so I believe it would land around 7 as well, but in the end it doesn't quite reach the same heights as some other, definitely very good (yet not quite the 9-10 category classics) songs like umm... well let's say When the Wild Wind Blows or Ghost of the Navigator. So it's somewhat similar thing with this one too, I suppose. And as I said, I'm not very good at deciding these things, that's why I focused more on expressing my general thoughts on the song, rather than just throwing the score with a short description. :D
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
It makes me curious to see which song gets an eight in your opinion. And how positive the review sounds in comparison.
 

Number 6

Ancient Mariner
Quite an odd song for Maiden. Far from being one of their best, but not as bad as I used to think it was. The heavy intro and verses are quite good, as is the extended instrumental section, which features some pretty genius ideas. The solos are also very good; I particularly like the part at 4:32 when Dave picks up with the end of Janick's solo to start his own, one of the best moments in Maiden's history. Conversely, the small bridge linking the intro to the first verse (0:21-0:34) is awful and could have been made much better. The fact that it appears twice in the song is enough to bring it from a 10 right down to an 8.
 

GiovaOfficial

Powerslave
Some nice ideas, but probably too much repetition, and the song drags on for too long without any real reason to do so. 5/10
 
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