This tribute album is quite uneven. It ranges from really good performances (Steel Prophet, Solitude Æturnus, Opeth) to absolute disasters (Morgion, Opera IX). Many other interpretations of Iron Maiden's songs are simply "interesting" and may surprise a few Maiden fans, although the purchase of this CD would be recommended essentially to collectors.
– The Ides Of March / Purgatory (Harris)
Every Maiden fan knows that "The Ides Of March" is normally some sort of intro to "Wrathchild", but Steel Prophet decided to surprise us by playing "Purgatory" instead. This brilliant American band has released this cover on their 1997 album Into The Void, and it can also be found on the 2002 Maiden tribute album, A Tribute To The Beast. In any case, this cover is really excellent and constitutes one of the highlights of this album.
Note also that Steel Prophet covered "Gangland" on the A Call To Irons2 Maiden tribute album.
This Swedish Black Metal band covers quite efficiently "Powerslave", with interesting arrangements typical of this style and good double-kick drumming during the chorus, although the voice may put off quite a few listeners who are not used to Doom vocals.
Althought the interpretation of "The Trooper" is instrumentally flawless, the vocals ruin it completely. Vital Remains are an American Death Metal band that have decent compositions, but the singer – or growler to be more accurate – should stay well away from Iron Maiden songs.
Angel Corpse is a Death Metal band from the USA that operated between 1995 and 2000. Their version of "Genghis Khan" is quite interesting, although the drumming sounds a little bit hectic (not everyone has Clive Burr's talent, even with a double-bass drum!) and the ending never seems to end. This is not one of the best songs on the album, but we could count ourselves lucky that it's an instrumental and that we didn't have to suffer the Doom vocals that usually plague Maiden covers by this kind of bands.
Fairly close to the original Iron Maiden studio version this cover by the Texan Doom Metal band has clear vocals and an excellent instrumentation. Pay special attention to the background whispers during the opening verses, this adds an interesting dimension to this part of the song. The ending is also quite good. This cover is one of the best on the album.
This Californian Power Metal band delivers a pretty decent cover of "Phantom...", fast and furious, but unfortunately with quite weak vocals. Still, this song is far from being the worst on this album.
– Remember Tomorrow (Harris, Di'Anno)
Opeth has been labelled a "Progressive Death Metal" band, and probably rightly so. Their long compositions are certainly worthwhile to listen to, so give a try to this really good Swedish band and also enjoy the cover of "Remember Tomorrow" they offer us here. This track can also be found on the 2002 Maiden tribute album, A Tribute To The Beast, as well as on the reissue of Opeths' 1998 My Arms, Your Hearse album.
This Californian Death/Doom Metal band was founded in the early 90s and disbanded "amicably" in January 2005. If their original compositions were similar to their cover of "To Tame A Land", their lack of success is quite understandable. The detuned guitars and the growling vocals are torture to the ears, although there's an interesting atmospheric section before the part where the lyrics go "The time will come for him...", and you can even hear a phrase from Paul Atreides (played by Kyle MacLachlan) – "Father! The Sleeper has awakened!" – taken from David Lynch's 1984 film, Dune. Unfortunately, this really nice little part still doesn't save this cover, which is overall fairly disappointing.
Yet another American Doom/Death Metal band to feature on this tribute album, Evoken appeared in the mid-90s to deliver a really extreme music that's about as happy as a neurotic sloth that has fallen from his tree. "Strange World" was the perfect cover for them, as the mood is really dark and depressing. Do not listen to it if you are under any kind of anti-depressive medication! Otherwise, a really decent cover.
– Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Harris)
This Italian band is some strange mix of Black, Doom and Goth Metal, alternating growling vocals with the female voice of a would-be opera singer. On this particular cover, the result is an absolute catastrophe! Putting up with 13 minutes of mindless cavemen grunts and screeches of a woman couldn't sing to save her life is a pretty stressful experience I only endured in order to write this commentary. On the other hand, this is also the opportunity for a great laugh if you're heartless enough to diss this band that's embarrassing themselves with their total lack of musical talent (but I really felt sorry for that woman, though!).
Self-proclaimed "Mystical Occult Metal" band, Absu is a Texan outfit that used to be quite popular in the Extreme Metal underground scene. They are usually considered one of the best American Black Metal Bands, and the speed and technique of their drummer is unbelievable. As "Transylvania" is an instrumental, we are once again thankfully spared the Doom vocals. Very fast, but quite enjoyable cover.