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The X Factor was the beginning of a new era of Iron Maiden, with Blaze Bayley as frontman and vocalist. It also marks a rebirth of sorts, breathing new life and vitality into a band that was beginning to stagnate during the previous years with Dickinson . With the Heavy Metal genre virtually dead, mostly in the United States , The X Factor reaffirms Iron Maiden's ability to continue making their music without stooping to pander to popular and shallow trends.

The album is a refreshingly dark and introspective exploration of the psyche gone are the overly happy sounds that crippled the previous two albums. Most of the songs begin softly and slowly build with power and energy, perfectly creating a dark and brooding atmosphere. The mood is heightened by Blaze's lower vocal style, which complements the atmosphere of the album much better than Dickinson 's air-raid siren would have done.

This is an incredibly deep album, which takes time to sink in. As with most excellent albums, the more you'll listen to The X Factor, the more will resonate within you. For those who are attracted to depressing types of music, listening to The X Factor will give you a dose of irresistible melancholy power.

Like Fear Of The Dark, the X Factor album cover is not by Derek Riggs, but instead by Hugh Syme, who has made album covers for many other bands including Rush, Megadeth and Queensryche. The X Factor cover has abandoned Riggs's familiar comic-book style in favour of a much more life-like and macabre portrayal of the surgery which transformed Eddie into a lobotomised monster. This brings up my only complaint about the album the cover is a bit too graphic for my tastes, and I do not enjoy the portrayal of the obvious pain and torture of any living being. Even though I think I understand what the band was trying to portray, I still prefer Riggs's comic-book horror which was fascinating yet not quite as realistic. Because of potential marketing issues in various countries, The X Factor is also available with an alternate and less graphic cover which depicts from a distance Eddie in an electric chair.

Overall however, The X Factor is a dark and melancholy masterpiece which revitalised the band after the slow decline which reached rock-bottom with the departure of Dickinson . Despite the inevitable controversy among some fans who seem unable to accept change, The X Factor is in my opinion a triumph and one of Maiden's best albums.

Full-length, EMI Records
October 2nd, 1995

First album with the new singer Blaze Bayley.

Singles:

Tracklist

1. Sign of the Cross 11:17
2. Lord of the Flies 05:04
3. Man on the Edge 04:14
4. Fortunes of War 07:23
5. Look For the Truth 05:11
6. The Aftermath 06:20
7. Judgement of Heaven 05:13
8. Blood on the World's Hands 05:58
9. The Edge of Darkness 06:39
10. 2 A.M. 05:38
11. The Unbeliever 08:10

Total playing time 01:11:07

Lineup:
Blaze Bayley: Vocals
Steve Harris: Bass
Dave Murray: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Janick Gers: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Nicko McBrain: Drums

Japan edition comes with a 2nd disc with the following bonus tracks:

1. Justice of the Peace ( 3:34 )
2. I Live My Way ( 3:48 )
3. Judgement Day ( 4:02 )

Fun Fact: With Bruce Dickinson leaving the band during this time, the cover and artwork of the album symbolizes the death of the classic Iron Maiden, with Eddie sitting in an electric chair.

The artwork shown is actually a toned down version created after many British chain-stores threatened to boycott the album over the graphic nature of the original artwork. The CD booklet is reversible with the original artwork printed upside-down on the other side, so either version can be displayed.

 
Engineered by:
Nigel Green

Mastered at
Chop Em Out by Ronal Whelan

Boffins:
Mick McKenna, Les Lambert

Special thanks:
Michael Kenney for Keyboards

Gregorian Chants on Sign of The Cross by The Xpresion Choir,

Steve Lazarus for Catering and G.R.

Art Direction, Design & digital illustration by Hugh Syme.

Band Photographs by Ross Halfin ad Simon Fowler UK,

Photography by:

Tony Frederick US

Mangment: Rod Smallwood Merck Mercuriadis, Andy Taylor and Aky Najeeb for Sanctuary Music Management Ltd.

Booked by: John Jackson, ICM/Fairwarning N. America : Bill Elson, ICM , NY .

The Killer Crew:
Dick Bell, Bill Barclay, Robbie Price, Doug Hall, Michael Kenney, Kevin (Batty) Walsh, Steve Gadd, Wally Grove.

Thanks to:
Keith Wilfort Teresa Wareing, Lynn Seager Putterford, Lyn Porter, Mike Miller Johnnie Allan, Andera Bartlet, Karen Behan and all at Sanctuary.

Paul Oxley, Michael Conacur, Derek Jones , David Hoare and all at Focus. Rob Shore & Tina Chang at Focus NY

Iron Maiden use:

Platinum Travel. Meteorlites. Alan Chesters & Hangman Drapes. Trans-Am Trucking. Motts Travel. Rock-It Cargo. Fender Guitars. Tom(MGM) Mates Guitar Workshop. Peter Cornish. Simon Bradbury. Splad. Spectre ( USA ). Andy Munro. Dreamhire. Apex Media Europe . Neve. Trace Elliot. Marshall Amplification. Ovation. Jason & Rotosound Strings. Korg UK . Seymour Duncan . Strings & Things ( UK ). Sound Technology plc. Alesis. Emagic. EMU Systems. Mike Barens & Zero Crossing. EV Speakers. Peavey. Tascam. A.S. McKay & Octave mics. Gibson Guitars. Rocky Road (Boogie!). Machine Head Music ( Harlow ). SBL Cases. John Hornby Skewes. M2 Video. Paiste Cymbals. Premier Percussion. Beyer Dynamic. DW Drums. Big Tours . DNC Ltd Vicky Kostura & I.L.S. T&S Immigration Services. Sheridans . Mayer,Katz, Liebowitz & Baker. Gail Lebowitz. Remo Drums L.P. Percussion & Rhytum Tech. Bettey (Kenney) Johnson . Rod Attenborough. Hilton Sound. Caroline. Bill Zavalas. Cail N . Pam Moore

Georgina & Richard Green. Bob Chippardy, Russ Gerroir, Billy Schacht and Concrete Marketing

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