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IRON MAIDEN:

VIRTUAL XI
ECM Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Iron Maiden: Virtual XI
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SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
IRON MAIDEN: VIRTUAL XI - 1998
CMC International Records

INSIDE THE SCREAM IS SILENT
INSIDE IT MUST REMAIN

Let's be honest: IRON MAIDEN is getting better since Bruce* left. Love Bruce, got nothing against Bruce, he was stinking up the band. His voice was beginning to go the way of Brian Johnson's (AC/DC has had Papa Smurf for a lead vocalist far too long now). I don't care what kind of a singing voice you have, BUT AT LEAST HAVE A VOICE! Bruce D was starting to sound like he was going through puberty all over again. The current line-up, for those of you who may have fallen out of love with Maiden over the years, is Blaze Bayley who replaced Bruce Dickinson as lead vocalist in 1994 (what's that? This is NEWZ to you? What are you doing on this page anyway?), Janick Gers on guitar, the Infamous Nicko McBrain on drums, and the two men for without whom there could be no IRON MAIDEN; Steve Harris and Dave Murray. So far this line-up has held fast for two albums, which means that somebody will be leaving after the next one.

Harris has stopped writing godawful songs like Afraid To Shoot Strangers and since Iron Maiden 10 the band is back to kicking ass. IRON MAIDEN: VIRTUAL XI has all the old elements that I've always liked about Maiden plus, like Paul Di' Anno of old (yes, us grizzled old headbangers remember Paul), Blaze can SING! Which is good because IRON MAIDEN has always been considered the thinking person's Heavy Metal and does not benefit from squealing soprano pig voices or guttural growl grumbles.

Some stand outs from the album are THE CLANSMAN. Steve Harris' ode to Scottish independence (HA! That'll be the day!). For the Americans in our audience, Clansmen in Scotland have nothing to do with the inbred alcoholic klansmen of the United States. Historically, when England (or Britain, whichever is the chic today) started conquering the world and subjugating the yokels, they started with the local white folk first, Scotland and Ireland.

To American ears, hearing Blaze singing "I am a Clansman" is enough to make you go for your gun. Which in a way, is what the song is all about I guess. Like many of the indigenous who have reclaimed their soil back from Britland (I'm trying to strike a happy medium here. I can't get my friends from that island to agree on what they should be called. GRR!), THE CLANSMAN is about Scots doing the same thing. In the final words of the song, "And I know what I want / When the timing is right / Then I'll take back what is mine / I am the Clansman."Whew! It stirs my Irish blood I'll tell ya!

LIGHTENING STRIKES TWICE by Dave Murray and Harris is pure Iron Maiden and is sure to put any Maiden fan in danger of traumatizing their spinal cord with all of the violent head shaking in time to the music.

In the last song on the album, COMO ESTAIS AMIGOS, Janick Gers and Blaze Bayley have wrote an all purpose song of healing after the battle. No names are named in this one so it can be applied to about any land that has been torn by war. A good anthem song even if you are not Hispanic.

*
MMMmmmm! Crow! Gooood!
Whew! Okay, I'm feeling better now.
Since this review was written, and according to the Iron Maiden site,
Blaze Bayley has been given the boot and Bruce is back in town.
Too bad for me, but I hope that Iron Maiden XII rocks like nobody's business.

^
As of 1999 already released not as an independent game, but with a "Greatest Hits" disk set.

Visit the Hammers at
IRON MAIDEN

Visit the UN-official IRON MAIDEN site
The Neighbour Of The Beast

Everything MAIDEN
MaidenWorld

!!!PROBLEM ALERT!!!
Maiden want you to know that they have their own Soccer team. Okay I guess, every fan knows full well the cheer of "UP THE IRONS!" They also want you to know that they have a PC game coming out soon (
ED HUNTER)^. We are expected to believe that this will be any better than the memorable Computer games from Aerosmith, Queensryche, etc. Fair enough, can't wait to buy it, but WHAT REALLY FUCKING CHOKES ME is the fact that they have an ad/sticker for the execrable AOL on their cover packaging! Remove the cellophane and there is another AOL ad on the back of the CD! Now I can understand the Macromedia blurb, they used the program to create the little computer pages on the CD. WHAT DID AOL do for this album besides buy ad space? But two ads is not enough! There is a fucking THIRD AOL ad insert in the CD booklet! Will it be valuable someday? Who gives a shit? INTO THE GARBAGE!

There is more! There is an AOL ad as part of the Multimedia program On The CD! Now for years bands have thanked, in the linear notes, the manufacturers of their equipment, their roadies, etc. I can accept that no problem, but to PAY MY MONEY to have the already overhyped AOL ad shoved in my face 4 TIMES? From one of my all time favorite bands? LIKE HELL! As a fan from the beginning, let me say that THIS shit better stop!

12 million subscribers are on aol, they say. I'm not impressed. How many of those 12 million people are on their first 50 free hours? Excuse me, now it's 100 free hours. No wait, now its 250 free hours. I guess AOL has trouble even giving their crap away for free. This is coming to you from a former AOL member who never realized how much fun the internet could be until he left AOL.

How many people like me got stupid hacker e-mails requesting my personal info (or cyber-sex) the very minute they got on-line with AOL the first time?

Who is the best for you or in your area? I don't know, why not check it out for yourself? In most cases I think that you will find Far better services than America Off Line! But even if they were the best, even if you are on AOL and just Love it: I despise paying for a disk with advertising smeared all over it!

Want to sell your merchandise? Fine! Want to thank the radio stations that really push the band? Fine! Want to say thank you to the stores that really push your stuff? That's a judgment call, but AOL doesn't sell or play music and even if they did, 4 @%#@ TIMES ON THE SAME ALBUM? EVEN ON THE FRIGGIN' DISC??? GRRRRRRR!

As far as the music goes, IRON MAIDEN: VIRTUAL XI serves far better. But for the blatant sell-out advertising, I deduct two Perplex Skulls from my rating.

Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 1998 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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