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Various Artists
A Tribute To The Beast
May 2002
Released: 2002, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 2.7/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Iron Maiden is one of my favorite bands. They have influenced almost every metal band out there and their respect is not restricted to one metal style. That is evidenced by the make up of the bands that have covered Maiden and have paid tribute to them on the numerous tribute albums that have come out for them in the past few years. Nuclear Blast has a new tribute album to Iron Maiden featuring a wide range of musicians from Sinergy to Six Feet Under. As with all tributes to a band as important as Maiden, I am very strict and probably hard on those who (dare?) cover such sacred material as Iron Maiden!!! The best way to look at a tribute album is to give a rundown on the covers each band provides.



Steel Prophet - The Ides of March / Purgatory: 2.5/5

Sadly, the cover didn't do a lot for more and it sounded a little bit lifeless, like going through the motions. Vocalist Rick Mythsiasin belts out a few shattering screams and sounds a bit like Paul Di'Anno in a few places.



Children of Bodom - Ace's High: 2/5

Unnecessary keys at intro and also an unneeded keyboard solo in the middle. The guitars sound indistinct when main riff cuts in. The vocals are done in CoB fashion...IMO a big no-no when doing Iron Maiden. I feel if you are not "singing" when playing Maiden you should not be covering it!! Too bad Alexi didn't freak everyone out and actually sing on this one. Maybe he can only scream? I'll stick with CoB's original material and hope they don't cover any Maiden again.



Rage - The Trooper: 2.75/5

This is one of the most classic Maiden songs. Right from the beginning of this you know that Rage are going to (music wise) play it note for note. When the vocals cut it sounds like some sort of off-sounding delay is on the vocals. The vocals also sound a bit "froggy" in places (as in, he has a frog in his throat). I know he can sing better then this and I figured he'd do a better job.



Cradle of Filth - Hallowed Be Thy Name: 1.5/5

Someone please gag Dani...please!!! His thin, rasping, constipated voice might be ok for CoF (depending on your tastes), but in no way should he be allowed to blapsphemize this great classic with annoying vocals!! The drumming, bass and guitars are played very well. They should have had a guest vocalist on this one who can actually sing and it would of been killer.



Grave Digger - Running Free: 4.75/5

We all know that the vocals in Grave Digger are not clear, overly pretty, or melodic. It's good then that they picked a song that Paul Di'Anno originally sang on and NOT Bruce Dickinson. Chris' vocals here are very fitting. The lead guitar parts sound killer and are played with conviction. The bass could have been a bit more prominent like it is in Maiden perhaps...but that's just being picky. This is a great cover!!



Burden of Grief - Prowler: 0.75/5

Again, pass the mic to someone who can sing a note please. This CoB sounding vocalist is absolutely no good for Maiden. Next...



Sonata Arctica - Die With Your Boots On: 2.75/5

Perhaps not the most suited Maiden song that these guys could of picked that best matches their style. Vocalist Tony Kakko puts his own style and phrasing on the vocals and doesn't try to be Bruce. I prefer it when you can hear an interpretation of a song but the chorus was way off both riff-wise and vocal-wise. It loses the punch and power of the original. . .big time! The solo is also not that much like the original and the "oh whoooahhh" chant along part after the solo sounds all wrong as well.



Therion - Children of the Damned: 1/5

This is one of the best songs that Bruce Dickinson has ever recorded so right away you're stepping on some very serious vocal holy territory ground here. Therion's vocals sound flat and like Blaze Bailey trying to sing a song that was never meant for his vocal range. Hearing these vocals make you realize how good Dickinson is and how far below him on the scale some are. The vocals lack all conviction, power, range, and proper melody. Stick with your own material please.



Iced Earth - Transylvania: 5/5

Thank the metal gods that Iced Earth chose a Maiden "instrumental" because Barlow (who is an awesome vocalist in his own right) does not have the Dickinson style of vocals at all. The guitar playing and drumming here is deadly and super tight. Jon's riffing really adds to this and I actually prefer the way he's playing this to the original....blasphemous or what? :-) This is easily the best cover on the CD. It's also found on their HORROW SHOW album as well.



Opeth - Remember Tomorrow: 3/5

A good choice for Opeth to pick this song because it fits their style more then some of the other Maiden material would. The vocals are the only thing holding this back as Michael doesn't have the range to do Bruce. What is lacking in the vocal department is partly made up for in the instrumentation department.



Sinergy - The Number of the Beast: 4/5

I didn't know what to expect here. Kimberly's vocals are great, but could she do Bruce? She really stepped up to the plate here, even though the long scream at the beginning was weak and should of been scrapped or done right. Her vocals are not all "pretty" and she can put that gritty quality into her voice yet keep the melody like Bruce is able to do. With the TWO amazing guitarists in this band it was no surprise that the riffs and especially the solos were played to perfection. The tempo of the song could of been picked up a little I think.



Disbelief - Stranger in a Strange Land: 2/5

What is this down-tuned mud? Wait....is that the melody line to a Maiden song buried in there somewhere? What is that Chuck Schuldiner-sounding-like fellow screaming on about? Hmmm.... I'll give the boys an extra point for choosing a song that is adventuresome and not one that is as often covered as some of the others on here.



Tierra Santa - Flight of Icarus: 3.5/5

Tierra Santa from Spain covers another of Maiden's more known classics. They do not play the song at all like Maiden. The root notes are there but it's all acoustic music with keyboards. The vocal melody is also changed. Strangely, it sounds like Maiden even though it's not really the same song. I wanted to hate this because of the fact it has clean guitar and keys...but it's actually pretty good. The accent of the vocals provided for a hilarious part where it sounds like he says "his grave turns to asses, to asses his grave."!! hahahaaaaaah!!! The heaviness picks up for the solo section that is again not the solos played by Maiden. They use a few of their ideas but for the most part it's their own.



Dark Tranquillity - 22 Acacia Avenue: 2/5

These vocals do not work for Maiden but this is one of the better versions on here with the death styled vocals. The tempo on this one is also a tad slow as well...no lead guitars in this one.



Six Feet Under - Wrathchild: 2/5

As expected this is tuned down wayyy to much. Besides the down-tuning, the riffs/rhythms are played almost exactly like the original. The vocals are again no surprise--with Chris Barnes you KNOW what to expect!



Darkane - Powerslave: 4/5

Here we have one of my fav Maiden songs!! Darkane has an excellent crunchy guitar tone happening here. The vocals are not like Bruce but they are done with passable melody and moreso then you'd find in the many Darkane songs. The solos are played really well and the double kicking drums under the solo add to the intensity.



Even though I didn't give all the bands on the album a high rating, I enjoyed listening to this and seeing how other bands interpret Maiden. If you are a fan of the bands on this CD then you will like the album. If, however, you are primarily a Maiden fan, some of this will not impress you.
Track Listing

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