Why Metal Is Awesome, Vol. 23: The X Factor
With The X Factor, the band took a sharp turn for the dark side, now headed by the ex-Wolfsbane Blaze Bayley. Sign of the Cross, the ominous opening track, delivers nothing but perfection through its eleven minutes. However, The X Factor has been unfairly scorned for the past seventeen years, due to its radically different sound from the Iron Maiden of the ’80s and the fact that Blaze is so unbelievably unlike Bruce Dickinson. This album would have been hated no matter what. Could they have done better with where they were at the time? I don’t believe so. The X Factor is brilliant, and has never deserved the hell heaped upon it. Nevertheless, the disdain shown was inevitable from the beginning.
Additional Notes: Even the cover reflects the markedly more melancholy tone. It was deemed too “graphic” for several retailers, and so was commonly replaced with this alternative.
I agree, this album is massively underrated.