Kerrang! – Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden
- Prowler (Black Tide)
- Remember Tomorrow (Metallica)
- Flash Of The Blade (Avenged Sevenfold)
- 2 Minutes To Midnight (Glamour Of The Kill)
- The Trooper (Coheed And Cambria)
- Waysted Years (Devildriver)
- Run To The Hills (Sign)
- To Tame A Land (Dream Theater)
- Caught Somewhere In Time (Madina Lake)
- Wrathchild (Gallows)
- Fear Of The Dark (Fightstar)
- Hallowed Be Thy Name (Machine Head)
- Iron Maiden (Trivium)
- Running Free (Year Long Disaster)
- Brave New World (Ghostlines)
Total Time = 1:14:02
I have explained my disdain for cover songs many times in the almost three years I have had this website but I’ll do it again so all the new readers understand my position. It’s not that I don’t want to hear a band’s interpretation of a classic song, I just don’t think that a cover song should be included on a proper album in place of original material. It could be the greatest rendition of the greatest song ever but, if it takes the place of an original song on a studio album, it bothers me. Now that this is clear, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for tribute albums and I own a lot of them! Makes no sense does it? I agree.
MAIDEN HEAVEN was released as a bonus CD to the July 16, 2008 issue (#1219) of Kerrang!, the legendary Rock magazine from the U.K. Now I haven’t read an issue of Kerrang! in years, and the price for an imported copy is around $10 here in the U.S., but for some reason this tribute album intrigued me. I wasn’t sure I would be able to score a copy at my local Barnes & Noble bookstore (the only one that stocks the weekly Rock mag) so I went online and ordered it from the Kerrang! webstore. Exactly a month later, it arrived! I thumbed through the magazine and realized why I stopped reading it years ago but the CD is pretty good.
Starting things off are newcomers Black Tide with their version of ‘Prowler’ that is spot on to the original and legends Metallica who also stay true to the original on ‘Remember Tomorrow’. It’s always good to hear the Paul Di’Anno era of the band, an era that sometimes gets overlooked. Both bands start the album on major high notes with solid performances. Fast forward to the POWERSLAVE era for the next two tracks, Avenged Sevenfold (who I can’t stand BTW) do a decent job with my personal favorite from that Maiden record ’Flash Of The Blade’ while Glamour Of The Kill perform ’2 Minutes To Midnight’. The vocals just kill this classic song, there is no aggression to the singing and the singer whines through the chorus. Musically, it’s good but the singing ruins it for me. I have the same problem listening to Coheed And Cambria’s version of ‘The Trooper’, the vocals kill it. Much like Glamour Of The Kill’s Davey Death, I can’t get by the whiney style that Claudio Sanchez brings to the table on this song. I’ll be honest, having never heard Coheed And Cambria before this song, I thought it was a woman singing! The backing tracks are dead to rights so I am impressed by the band getting the music down.
Devildriver is the band that features former Coal Chamber frontman Dez Fafara and they take on ‘Wasted Years’. While I’m not a fan of Devildriver and the screaming vocals, I’ll give the band credit for mimicking the guitar parts very well. ‘Run To The Hills’ is absolutely butchered by Iceland’s Sign with a danceable version of this galloping classic. At least it sounds like you could dance to it, the arrangement is awful and I have a hard time getting through it a second time for this review. By this time, I’m ready for something good. After 5 newer bands, Progressive Metal legends Dream Theater make things better with ‘To Tame A Land’, a song not often heard but definitely a welcome surprise! My favorite album from Maiden is PIECE OF MIND so right away I’m psyched and I know that Dream Theater can put together a seriously good version of the song because they have done full Maiden albums live in concert.
Like Avenged Sevenfold, Devildriver, and Fightstar, Madina Lake is one of those newer bands that Kerrang! drools over. Maybe it’s just me but this down-tuned, programmed, hardcore and Nine Inch Nails cloning is not my cup of tea and ‘Caught Somewhere In Time’ suffers for it. Same goes for Gallows and there rendition of ‘Wrathchild’, I’m not digging the Punk/Hardcore/Garage performance but I give the band credit for taking a Di’Anno song (from KILLERS). Even though Fightstar is another of these hybrid Hardcore bands I kind of like their version of ‘Fear Of The Dark’. I’m a little surprised by this because ‘Fear Of The Dark’ is in my Top 3 Iron Maiden songs of all-time and I was prepared to hate it but it’s turned out to be the surprise of the album for me. It’s kept to the original as much as possible but there are some guitar flourishes that stray a little. ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ from Machine Head is pretty good also and stays true to the original.
I never get tired of the Di’Anno era of Iron Maiden, both IRON MAIDEN and KILLERS are superb records and they get overlooked all too often. Trivium is a band I haven’t gotten into yet but the buzz from their last album, 2006′s THE CRUSADE, has them poised for greatness. That remains to be seen and heard but the band does handle Iron Maiden’s signature song very well. It’s mostly spot on musically with aggressive growling and clean vocals and a few added guitar enhancements added in. It seems that Iron Maiden’s debut has stood the test of time because Los Angeles hard rockers Year Long Disaster do a great job with the punk filled ‘Running Free’. ‘Running Free’ is the song I hear in my head when I think of Paul Di’Anno and the band stays true to the original, I’m not sure you could stray from it anyway because it’s such a straight forward Rock song. If you want something totally different then Ghostlines’ version of ‘Brave New World’ will do the trick. Ghostlines describes their sound as acoustic/electronica/alternative and that’s what their interpretation of ‘Brave New World’ is. I didn’t like it on first listen because it’s so different but, after giving it a few spins, it’s grown on me.
Overall…..MAIDEN HEAVEN is a decent tribute album, especially when it’s free from a magazine! There are enough classic Iron Maiden tracks representing all eras and most are done very well from older and newer bands alike. I would have preferred a few more deep tracks to some of the more obvious classics but that’s not too big of a deal. I also would have preferred a couple more older bands like Metallica, Dream Theater, and Machine Head but I understand that the trendy new blood is what Kerrang! focuses on these days. I already like Black Tide but the performances by Trivium and Fightstar were good enough for me to get a little interested about their original music.
For my money, the best tracks are the ones that stay true to the original versions like the Black Tide, Dream Theater & Metallica songs but a couple of different interpretations did impress, like ‘Brave New World’ from Year Long Disaster. I also really enjoyed Fightstar’s ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and Trivium’s ‘Iron Maiden’.