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I Fail to See What is So Wrong With this Album - 85%

Messiah_X, March 2nd, 2004

Ok, I think I should start this review by putting up some defense for Blaze. First of all, he isn't Bruce. Get over it. With that in mind, his vocal work on this album is 100% better than it was on the previous album. I'll admit, I didn't like his vocals on X-Factor as much because he tended to sound like he was mumbling at times. Also, Blaze's vocals fit many of the songs very well on this album. Now, also keep in mind that Iron Maiden isn't Blaze's band. The comment I hear most of is "Blaze sucks because he repeats the choruses too much." I will explain (at least my interpretation) this when I get to Angel and the Gambler. However, even still, I'm wondering how this is Blaze's fault? If the other members of the band really didn't like the way the songs were coming out because of the choruses, they probably would have done it over. In fact, the only songs that Blaze contributed to writing were Futureal, When Two Worlds Collide, and Como Estais Amigos. None of these sound overly repetetive to me.

Now with that in mind, I like this album, with a few exceptions. Futureal is an excellent opening track. I've heard people complain that its too short, but hey, that works for me. The problem begins with Angel and the Gambler, which is first of all misunderstood. One time, just for trivial purposes, I decided to count the number of times Blaze says "Don't you think I'm a savior..." This line is repeated 21 times, which I think was done intentionally as part of the "gambler" theme (21 Blackjack for the morons who don't see where I'm going with this). However, this cleverness is not nearly enough to save this song. This is by far one of the most boring Maiden songs I've ever heard.

After "Angel and the Gambler" which for many is the downfall of this album, the remaining tracks aren't too bad. Lightning Strikes Twice is one of my favorite songs from the Blaze era. The Clansman is a very good epic track which never really fails to impress me. When Two Worlds collide has a very impressive melody. For some reason, this song is constantly overlooked, but I think it is one of the better songs on this album. The Educated Fool isn't a bad song, but it is less memorable than the others. I like the lyrics to this song, but the melody just isn't as memorable. Don't Look To the Eyes of a Stranger is a good song, but it definitely could have been shortened. There is a repetetive chorus near the middle/end of this song, but it only began to bother me after constant listens. The album closes with Como Estais Amigos, which is a very solid and memorable ballad.

If you can't get over the fact that Bruce was gone for this album and The X Factor, I don't know what to tell you. It seems like Blaze is constantly being looked at as the downfall of these two albums. However, in the end, this album holds together pretty well.