The X Factor - 2019 Remastered Edition

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Parlophone Records, 2019)

Karakter: 5.5/6

Iron Maiden The X Factor album cover.jpgIron Maiden's “The X Factor” was the first one to feature the hugely talented and yet frustratingly under-appreciated Blaze Bayley on vocals following Bruce Dickinson's exit, and the 71-minute long record marked something of a departure from the two albums that preceded it. Gone were the more straightforward and easily accessible rockers that were present on “No Prayer for the Dying” and “Fear of the Dark”; what “The X Factor” offered instead was highly progressive metal mini-epics that were as dark and melancholy as they were dense and atmospheric. There is absolutely nothing lightweight or one-dimensional about this near-flawless work of brilliance. Moody and strangely beautiful compositions ala “Sign of the Cross”, “2 A.M.”, and “The Unbeliever” are musically and lyrically rewarding journeys in and of themselves, but you also get face-melting anthems such as “Lord of the Flies” and the stroke of genius that is “Man on the Edge”. In short, the 11-track effort covers a lot of ground and its pitch black aura is simply to die for.

Quite a few fans and critics did not give a shit about this one when it originally hit the street back in 1995, but loads of people have picked up on this misunderstood and tragically underrated slab of emotionally charged metal these past few years, and it warms my heart that it is currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The original mix was a bit dull and lifeless in places, and a remastering of the disc was sorely needed, so I am delighted to tell you that this 2019 remaster is unbelievably good and does wonders for “The X Factor”.

To those of you with an open mind out there, you fucking need to check this new edition of the album out, but keep in mind that it requires heaps of time and patience on the part of the listener before it well and truly starts to reveal all its hidden shades and nuances. Make no mistake about the rating of this one above – “The X Factor” is a majestic piece of work that keeps on giving once you have penetrated its many layers. This is one of the lost classics, folks.


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