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The X Factor by Iron Maiden
Released: Oct 1995
Label: Sanctuary
Forever linked to the arrival of Blaze Bayley -- who occupied Bruce Dickinson's spot as lead singer until he returned in 1998 -- Maiden's aptly named 10th album is a somber, almost funereal offering, from the eerie chanting that opens the record down to the unprecedentedly personal nature of the lyrics. Bayley doesn't try to sound like Dickinson, and even though his performance is often maligned, it is at least distinctive. The fact is, no one could ever fill Dickinson's shoes, and really, you listen to this to get a read on the band's direction and mental state at the time of its recording.
Mike McGuirk
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