Virtual XI - Song quality

Operations666

Educated Fool
I don't think the production or drumming on Virtual XI is bad at all. It's just that the quality of some of the songs isn't great (by Maiden standards). I like the album, but it just sounds kind of uninspired from a song-writing perspective.

It was a great creative shot in the arm when Bruce and Adrian came back and contributed to writing songs.
 
i think VXI is awful and i don't even like 'the clansman' outside of the intro riff

i also think that if bruce had been the vocalist for x factor, it would be seen as the true maiden comeback album instead of BNW
 
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Deleted member 7164

Guest
I don't think the production or drumming on Virtual XI is bad at all. It's just that the quality of some of the songs isn't great (by Maiden standards). I like the album, but it just sounds kind of uninspired from a song-writing perspective.

It was a great creative shot in the arm when Bruce and Adrian came back and contributed to writing songs.

But it is bad. Very thin guitars and drums are not something that's usual for hard rock / heavy metal, and if you go that route you make sure it fits the music like a glove. Here it doesn't, because we have more-less traditional heavy metal album that would benefit from traditional heavy metal sound.
As far as I recall, both Smith and Dickinson weren't in full songwriting mode until DoD/AMOLAD. Brave New World was more Murray/Gers/Harris than latter albums.

i think VXI is awful and i don't even like 'the clansman' outside of the intro riff

i also think that if bruce had been the vocalist for x factor, it would be seen as the true maiden comeback album instead of BNW

Well if everything sounded like RiR Sign Of The Cross, then it would be way more sucessful. Although it wouldn't be a comeback because TXF was the point where low trends started. In commercial terms NPFTD was a letdown and FOTD was way better. So a 'more popular' TXF would just keep the positive trend going.
 
Many times, people (myself included) seem to have a tendency to like certain songs because of the way they were performed, the attitude and other elements. Songs, many times, are liked because of elements not directly related to the quality of the song itself.

I've been recently listening to Virtual XI and, basically, i think it's major faults are the vocals, the drumming and the overall lack of energy. But the songs themselves are not bad. In fact, some of them even have potential to be live staples (like The Clansman).

So my question is: Do you think, looking at the album with some objectivity, it could have been a much more loved album had it been recorded with Bruce on vocals, a more "traditional" Nicko drumming and, of course, a "normal" Maiden energy level? Just focus on the songs with those circumstances.... What do you think?

I think Futureal has lots of potential, and it's a great track, but Blaze's singing just drags it down.
 

TheTalisman

Ancient Mariner
Brave New World was more Murray/Gers/Harris than latter albums.
That's because the basic ideas behind Blood Brothers, The Mercenary, Dream of Mirrors and The Nomad were written before the recording of Virtual XI.

And I just want to add that I don't think there is anything wrong with the actual song writing on Virtual XI, for me it's just the production. And that much of the song arrangements do not match Bayley's vocal register particularly well.
He sounds much better on the material when it's detuned:
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Nothing wrong with production for me. I am fond of the nice warm guitar sound. I am mostly bothered by a few Blaze moments, Muppet drum moments in Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger and some repetition in one or two songs (not that much in The Angel and the Gambler!). For the rest Virtual XI features some of the nicest guitar soli and melodies.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
Nothing wrong with production for me. I am fond of the nice warm guitar sound. I am mostly bothered by a few Blaze moments, Muppet drum moments in Don't Look to the Eyes of a Stranger and some repetition in one or two songs (not that much in The Angel and the Gambler!). For the rest Virtual XI features some of the nicest guitar soli and melodies.

LOL on the muppet drum observation on Eyes of Stranger. I had a similar thought when I first heard it.
 

Lego

The Fire of Belshazzar is coming.
The production in general on VXI is pretty lackluster, and is really the only major issue I have with the record save for some awkwardly written lyrics, but I actually love the drum sound. The toms sound HUGE (in all two of the drum fills on the record!) and the snare has a great pop to it much like BNW.

I would love for someone to ask Nicko in an interview someday about the reason behind the massive stylistic change for those albums. I'd be willing to bet it wasn't entirely his idea- he was certainly his regular old fill-happy self on both Blaze tours, Ed Huntour and BNW.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I think the recordings for Virtual XI weren't a good time for them. He might not have been totally into it. At least live they have the audience to get energy from and they played some huge crowds on that tour.
 

Lego

The Fire of Belshazzar is coming.
I think the recordings for Virtual XI weren't a good time for them. He might not have been totally into it. At least live they have the audience to get energy from and they played some huge crowds on that tour.
I could absolutely believe that, but I also wouldn't be surprised if 'Arry had a different sort of mood in mind and directed Nicko to hold back a bit as well. I mean, there are clearly parts on TXF where basic drum track is just kick snare and hats, and you can hear the crashes overdubbed on top. Very strange and un McBrain-like.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
.. there are clearly parts on TXF where basic drum track is just kick snare and hats, and you can hear the crashes overdubbed on top. Very strange and un McBrain-like.
Could you point out these moments? Do you mean separate crashes were added later? So, you mean he could not have played everything we hear, within the same take?
 
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Lego

The Fire of Belshazzar is coming.
Could you point out these moments? Do you mean separare crashes were added later? So, you mean he could not have played everything we hear, within the same take?
The one that sticks in my mind is actually on TXF, in The Unbeliever around 2:07 when the half time groove comes in. The two crashes on the last beat of each measure are not in the original drum take. You can still hear him hitting the hihats along with the snare and the overdubbed crashes- I know he's been called an octopus, but surely he doesn't actually have more than two arms... :D
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Yeah, that's three hits, with two arms. :) I'll check it out! Cheers. If you find more, let me know. Interesting.
 
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Deleted member 7164

Guest
This reminds me of Metropolis part 1, at the start of the instrumental part there are rolls over small toms (or congas), together with hi-hat hits. 3 arms stuff ;)
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Portnoy has been really outspoken about his dislike for David Prater and the I&W production because of that stuff.
 
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