What type of Blaze-era Iron Maiden fan were you?

What type of Blaze-era Iron Maiden fan were you?

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Game time started.
Well, I listened to Maiden when the Blaze era was current, but I honestly didn't know much about the band at the time - I was only 8 when Bruce and Adrian returned in '99! If I remember correctly I only owned two albums back then, Fear of the Dark and The Number of the Beast, so I was surprised to learn they'd even had a different singer.

So, I voted "discovered later, liked Blaze era", since I only managed to check out The X Factor and Virtual XI a few years afterwards. I like both - TXF is a masterpiece in my opinion, and firmly belongs in my top 5, whereas VXI is merely good (still one of my lowest ranked Maiden albums though, but enjoyable nonetheless).

Since first listening to Silicon Messiah around 2006 I've been following Blaze's solo career and own all of his albums. The only real stinker is The King of Metal, the rest is really good, and I honestly believe Blaze is a great and talented singer - when given the right material. One day I hope to catch him live with his solo act, especially his current one, as they seem to have something amazing going on!


Ancient Mariner
I was a loyal fan and was rooting for it to work out. But there was a bit of denial involved and I was definitely delighted when Bruce came back.

Didn't like TXF when it came out, it has the wimpiest guitar sound of any album ever recorded by any band and I remember being heartbroken when The Aftermath played for the first time and it was yet another slow intro after the previous 2 tracks. I've grown to like it know and think that the material is there for a great album it's just let down by the production and singer. If the current line up recorded it today it would be up to par with the last 5 records.

VXI has the worst tracks ever produced by Maiden. Not all of them, but tracks like LST and WTWC sounds like something a generic band would come up with on a bad day, and DLTTEOAS is probably the worst song Maiden ever wrote.

EDIT: I didn't vote because I don't think any of the options are exactly my thoughts at the time, I was a fan and was loyal to Maiden but I recognised it wasn't up to scratch yet I wouldn't say I outright disliked it either.
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Black-and-white leopard
Listened when new, liked Blaze era based on merit. I'm not in the mood to elaborate now. :p
This doesn't mean I wasn't thrilled when Bruce came back.


Ancient Mariner
Like @Forostar, I became a huge fan in 1991 (you are not alone :D). One classmate lent me a tape with No Prayer for the Dying and I quite liked what I heard, so I bought the album. It did not blow my head, as that came shortly afterwards when I got The Number of the Beast and Live After Death. That is when I really became a fan. I got Fear of the Dark for my birthday shortly after it was released in 1992 and liked it (OK, I now consider it to be quite patchy, but Be Quick or Be Dead, Afraid to Shoot Strangers, and Fear of the Dark are amazing songs).

I was shocked when Bruce decided to leave the band in 1993 (I did not understand it at the time, but did later when in my early 30s I left a successful research group to start my own), but also curious about what could come next. I was not familiar with Wolfsbane, so the first thing I did when they announced Blaze Bayley as Bruce's replacement was buying some of their stuff. I remember scratching my head thinking that the voice sounded quite different, but kind of trusted Maiden were doing the right thing. I still have that Kathy Wilson EP I bought in early 1994 (the rest of the Wolfsbane I bought ended being sold on ebay).

When I first heard The X Factor I found it different. I could hear some of the things I loved about the band, but found the vocal delivery pretty monotonous. There were some really good songs (Sign of the Cross and Fortunes of War), some nice ones (Lord of the Flies and Man on the Edge in particular), but some others I did not like that much. I hated the artwork but liked the dark atmosphere, although the album felt half-baked to me (I think they did a much better job at conjuring the dark aspects of life and death on AMOLAD). The production is pretty weak, but it hardly came as a surprise after the botched job Steve did on A Real Live One and A Real Dead One.

I bought into the whole idea of "us against them" promoted by Iron Maiden management and supported the band with loyalty, defending them. With hindsight the thought of Rod presenting a millionaire wanting to punch a journalist because he had given the album a bad review as something to be proud of is pretty pathetic, but at the time I thought differently. :lol:

I saw Maiden live for the first time in 1996 with 4000 metalheads in a field. I have fond memories of that gig and remember having a great time (having had a coach accident on the way to the gig and it being my first Maiden show probably made me appreciate it even more). Blaze's performance of the old classics was adequate and the new material sounded good live. The stage set was pretty basic (I remember thinking that it made the one they used during the No Prayer on the Road - of which I had seen many pictures by then - look lavish in comparison!), but I had a great time. It was clearly different to the live videos I had seen of them, but I could not identify exactly what the issues were with all the excitement of the gig. I started collecting bootlegs and realised that the guitar work was less precise than in the 80s and that Blaze could not do justice to most of the old songs they were playing live.

By the time Maiden announced they were going to release a new album in 1998, I had seen Bruce Dickinson live (in 1997, with Adrian Smith live with Roy Z, Eddie Casillas, and Dave Ingraham on the Accident of Birth tour). I had followed him since 1994 and thoroughly enjoyed his solo albums, but seeing him live with Adrian made the penny drop. Wouldn't it be great if they could both be in Maiden again? Nah, I felt that was never going to happen, as Maiden had a new album in the can.

I can clearly remember the disappointment with Virtual XI. I had watched the video for The Angel and the Gambler and felt the song was somewhat weak, but hoped the album would be much better. I went to the record shop to buy the album on the day of release and they had it on. Boy, was I wrong! I did not like it at all with the exception of The Clansman and Futureal, to the point that I went back home without having bought the album. I rectified this the following day and I tried hard to get into the music without success, although there were good bits in some of the other songs. Weak songwriting, terrible production... Blaze's vocals did not contribute to improve things, but he was hardly the main culprit.

The live show I saw on the Virtual XI tour was OK (it was Maiden and even when they have an off night they are better than most), but left feeling that it might be my last exposure to Maiden (by then I had enough bootlegs to know that things were not likely to get much better). Blaze was completely out of his depth, air drumming and all, making hapless attempts at singing the old songs. The fact the band were playing too fast and did not make any adjustments to fit his vocal range did not help him an iota though, so I kind of felt sorry for him.

So, I have voted for Listened when new, disliked Blaze era based on merit. In reality I did not dislike The X Factor, but as I think Virtual XI is so bad and by the time the subsequent tour was done I was ready to move on, I guess that is the option that reflects my thought in the most appropriate way.

I was elated when it was announced that both Bruce and Adrian were coming back to the band and that Janick was staying. I was not the biggest fan of his solo work but think he is a better songwriting than Dave and he has co-written some great songs since 2000.

Thanks to this topic I have gone back to The X Factor and Virtual XI. The former is good, albeit patchy. I would rank it #14, above No Prayer for the Dying but right after Fear of the Dark. The high points in Fear of the Dark are, to me, higher than those off The X Factor (nothing is as cringeworthy as Weekend Warrior on The X Factor though). On the other hand, Virtual XI is even worse than I remembered. Their worst album BY FAR.
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Can I play with Agnes?
To me it's a tale of 2 halves. I voted enjoyed the Blaze era when new though.

I first got into Maiden just after FOTD, so Bruce leaving wasn't a huge blow to me as I had only just started to dig into the catalogue. When you're 12 8 albums plus live versions is a lot to take in! By the time TXF came out I was into all types of 'alternative' music and I really liked the darker sound. I was never too keen on the production but I loved the album.

By the time VXI came out it just didn't grab me. The cover art wasn't as good as TXF, the video to Angel/Gambler was rubbish and the song was pretty dull. I heard 'The Clansman' and shrugged. It wasn't bad, it was just average. I didn't even buy Virtual XI in the end.

I still listened to Maiden but figured maybe they were a spent force for new music. I was wary of Bruce coming back...Then I heard 'The Wicker Man' and was blown away...
I discovered Maiden in december 1993 when I bought A Real Dead One on cassette and it didn’t take long before I became a fan. So through all of 1994, I went through all of their discography one by one (those were the days when as a teenager you couldn’t afford buying more than one or two albums a month so for sure you had the time to dig deep into each one of them, to read the lyrics, even read the credits !!) . It was also beginning of 1994 that I found out that Bruce has left the band and that a certain guy named Blaze Bayley was going to be the new singer. I had no idea who the guy was and with no internet and music stores with any Wolfsbane album, I couldn’t even get a single clue about his voice. All of this means that when I finally bought the X Factor, I was about to discover all about the new guy in the band. On my first listen what struck me was how powerful his voice was compared to Bruce and how different the album was as well, compared to their previous ones. It was darker, slower and quite difficult to get into. Was I disapointed ? Well, maybe a bit because this wasn’t the album I was expecting, I was looking for short and uptempo rockers and not really this introspective and gloomy kind of album.

Then came the time for my first gig, I was lucky because they were coming to my hometown – for the first time ever in their career and also the last until this LOTB tour coming in a few weeks – so I had the chance to finally see them live. At that point, all I knew about them on stage was through the Maiden England video that I managed to found in one of of the few music stores and it was like the most valuable treasure at the time, I can’t even remember how many times I watched that video !!

It was difficult back then to be really objective about Blaze’s stage presence and the quality of his singing since this wasn’t the most important for a teenager like me, what mattered was that I was lucky to see what had become my very favorite band playing live a few minutes from home !

In hindsight and now that I’ve listened to a lot of bootlegs and watched quite a lot as well, of course, we can say that Blaze’s voice on classics such as The Trooper or The Clairvoyant didn’t really work and his stage presence was a bit limited…well he wasn’t Bruce and didn’t have that charisma and didn’t have that natural way of interacting with the crowd. But we shouldn’t forget two or three things :

- At that very moment, his live experience with large crowds and long tours was limited, even non-existent, he only toured in the UK if I’m not mistaken and mainly in clubs for short periods of time.

- Maiden, or should I say Steve Harris, was looking for a total different singer, they didn’t want a clone of Bruce (the kind of move that Judas Priest did with Tim Owens) so it didn’t help either to have someone with a limited voice singing these classics…and also the fact they (Steve Harris again ?) wanted a british singer narrowed the options drastically imho

- For long time fans (it wasn’t my case so maybe it was easier for me to accept the « new guy ») the change might have been more brutal because for sure it was quite a big one and we all know change isn’t always easily accepted

- 90’s weren’t really a good time for classic metal at all and I’m convinced that even if Bruce had stayed and they’ve released SSOASS part II or Powerslave the return, success would never have been on the same level as during the 80’s. So Blaze cannot be blamed for the lack of success of Maiden, it was the result of different…factors

When Virtual XI was released I think I had become even more of a big fan and had more time to have a general overview of the whole Maiden history and be – a little bit – more objective. So when I saw them for the second time live, I really felt that no matter the efforts of both Blaze and the rest of the band, there was something missing. I’m not going to blame Blaze because he was always really into it, you could see and feel how sincere he was and how hard he tried. For that I will always, always respect the guy !

As for the albums, well even if, as I mentionned it earlier, I had a hard time getting into the X Factor, for Virtual XI it was a more accessible one so for a moment I thought it was a better record. Now, my views have changed and I consider the X Factor as an amazing album but Virtual XI is Maiden on autopilot (I’m not gonna even start talking about Nicko’s drumming),

Nowadays, when thinking about that period, I question myself :

- Would Maiden still be around if Blaze stayed in the band ? I don’t think so simply because no matter all the hard work he put into it, he simply wasn’t the right guy for the task (well, I don’t think there is any other one that could have done a lot better…maybe vocally there were better candidates but the singing is only a part of the equation)

- Is it a period of Maiden that should be « erased » and totally forgotten ? No, hell no. It is an important part of Maiden history, a different one certainly but was it a bad one ? No, just different and imo they’ve released a great album with the X Factor.

- Did I enjoy that period ? Yeah, I did and still do even if Maiden have done better albums and better tours I never disliked it and never will.

All in all, even if I don’t consider myself a fan of Blaze, I respect him as a person (very, very nice guy, I had the chance to meet him twice, always a big smile on his face even when he plays for only 40-50 people and always with the same fire in his eyes), I respect the passion he always had when he was part of the Maiden family (this is something I felt that Bruce didn’t, at different moments and not only when he was about to leave in 1993), his will to always do his best so yeah I definitely liked the Blaze era not only because it was my introduction to the band but also because musically it was really good, maybe not their best period for sure but let’s say it was just a different one !

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Listened when new, liked Blaze era based on merit. I'm not in the mood to elaborate now. :p
This doesn't mean I wasn't thrilled when Bruce came back.
So you didn't cry when Brucie returned. That's good.


Ancient Mariner
Since first listening to Silicon Messiah around 2006 I've been following Blaze's solo career and own all of his albums. The only real stinker is The King of Metal, the rest is really good, and I honestly believe Blaze is a great and talented singer - when given the right material. One day I hope to catch him live with his solo act, especially his current one, as they seem to have something amazing going on!

Agreed. I mean, Blaze's instrument - his voice - has its limits, but he has definitely learned to use it to a maximum effect.

His delivery of vocals has improved ridiculously. Had he been this skilled back in the day, I dare say he could have pulled of some dark and theathrical stuff from the older albums live. Even something like Seventh Son; at least if tuned down.

But yeah, I don't deny that he managed to sound pretty monotonous, especially live, but damn he's improved a lot since.


Ancient Mariner
Voted Listened when new, liked Blaze era based on loyalty to Iron Maiden for the sake of this poll.

I got into maiden around 1991, Fear of the Dark was my first new album. I was totally obsessed with Maiden for a good 5 or so years when I got into them. I really liked The X Factor when it came out and still do. Saw them live for the first time on that tour and it was an amazing experience even though Blaze didn't seem like the proper frontman (so different to the videos I was used to).

I really liked Virus when it came out and was optimistic about Virtual XI. Then Bruce goes and releases Accident of Birth and proceeded to blow me away with how great it was. I've never come around to liking VXI much at all. Back at the time I thought they were on a steep decline. Didn't help that the show I had tickets for was canceled due to Blaze's "allergies".

Today I still like TXF and think it hold up. My opinion on VXI hasn't changed much if at all (it's terrible). I do really really like most of Blaze's solo material.


Educated Fool
I was a huge Maiden man during the “real live era”

I was convinced Maiden would continue to dominate with Blaze, I bought tickets for the tour through the fan club presale( by mail back then).

I thought the gig was great but it was obvious Blaze just didn’t cut it.

I was ultra disappointed with the album and thought it was a step down after FOTD.

In addition Bruce had alienated me from what he was doing completely and thought he’d lost the plot, trying to be trendy cutting his hair like Metallica. Seemed a big deal at the time but it’s nothing now.,

Number 6

Ancient Mariner
Discovered later, disliked Blaze era. I didn't like it so much when I listened to it as a child (when I was about 6 or 7; I liked "Sign of the Cross" and "Lord of the Flies", not much more), and I disliked it even more when I actually listened to the entire albums (when I became an actual fan, in 2014/15 or so). However, since the beginning of last year, both The X Factor and Virtual XI started to grow on me, and now I love both.

Travis The Dragon

"Set yourself on fire as we remember this forever"
I've been a Maiden fan since 1987 and when The X Factor came out, I was very familiar with all of their material. When I first listened, I didn't like Blaze very much. I was able to appreciate the fact that he was a good singer, but I didn't like his style at all compared to Bruce and that was the case for quite some time. Only in the last decade or so have I come to really enjoy his singing and now I absolutely love The X Factor and most of Virtual XI.

Also, I voted for: Listened when new, disliked Blaze era based on loyalty to Bruce Would that be the correct choice based on what I said here?


I voted "Listened when new, liked Blaze era based on merit". Though I think TXF should be remixed and VXI is my least favourite album.


Automaton Sovietico
" Listened when new, liked Blaze era based on loyalty to Iron Maiden " is more closer to my case. VXI and Blaze lineup was actual when I discovered them, I discovered their heyday of 1980s and listening to VXI was...okayish. I wouldn't buy/make a copy of this thing if it were some random band.
Oh great, another thread for GhostSword to bash Blaze in!

On a more serious note, my first Maiden album was Best of the Beast, so I was introduced to Blaze right from the start, and I never considered his time in the band to be any better or worse than the others. The X factor is one of their best albums in my opinion.
Awww. how cute, you remembered me...LOL
Who's Blaze again? oh wait...is he the guy that goes on ad nauseum ad infinitum...Don't you think I'm a savior, Don't you think I could save you, Don't you think I could save your life, Don't you think I'm a savior, Don't you think I could save you, Don't you think I could save your life, Don't you think I'm a savior, Don't you think I could save you, Don't you think I could save your life... LOVE it!!! :D
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^ that's Steve Harris, mate
I know who it was written by. And I also know who it was sung by...it doesn't make it a good song either way. The hardest part is hearing Blaze's voice repeat the same thing....ad nauseum ad infinitum.

If they re-released both Blaze era albums instrumental only...I think they would be good.


clap hands
I started listening to Maiden in 2000, so my actual answer (if it were an option) would be:

Discovered later, disliked Blaze era based on merit (Blaze was fine, songs were mostly bad)


Ancient Mariner
I started listening to Maiden in 2000, so my actual answer (if it were an option) would be:

Discovered later, disliked Blaze era based on merit (Blaze was fine, songs were mostly bad)
I would also vote for that option, if it was there.

The X Factor is a fine album. Can listen through it when in the right mood.

Virtual XI is, apart from Futureal and Clansman, garbage.