Sound — 9
The latest free CD from Kerrang! features 15 artists performing cover versions of songs by Iron Maiden. Black Tide, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Glamour of the Kill, Coheed & Cambria, Devildriver, Sign, Dream Theater, Madina Lake, Gallows, Fightstar, Machine Head, Trivium, Year Long Disaster and Ghostlines each provide a song of their own choosing, in their own style, for this tribute CD.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics to each song are the same as the originals. However, some bands have tweaked the order slightly or removed some completely, in the case of Sign. The vocals comply with each band's individual style, and tend to vary, from clean vocals from Ghostlines, to the screams of Trivium and Devildriver, to the high-pitched wails from Coheed. Each vocal style compliments the song well, with the possible exception of Sevenfold's "Flash Of The Blade", but M Shadows' vocals don't do anything for me anyway.
Overall Impression — 9
01. Prowler - Black Tide's version is performed well, and sounds fantastic. Excellent opening track to the album. 02. Remember Tomorrow - Metallica take this excellent song and make it their own. Everything about it sounds brilliant, and it has possibly the best outro of all the songs on the album. We can only hope that "Death Magnetic" sounds this good. 03. Flash Of The Blade - possibly the low point of the album. The instrumental side of this is almost undecipherable from the Maiden version, and the vocals are terrible. A more personalised cover to A7X would have been better to do rather than a carbon copy of the original. 04. 2 Minutes To Midnight - I was so hoping that Glamour Of The Kill don't mess this up, it being my favourite Maiden song ever. Fortunately, they manage an almost perfect version which is easily one of the best songs on the album. Well done GotK. 05. The Trooper - Coheed And Cambria now, with a very good rendition of one of Maiden's most famous songs. Solos sounded excellent, and the vocals fit perfectly. Shame about the lead singer's hair though. 06. Wasted Years - Devildriver take this song, rip the synths out of it, and give us a growling triumph of a cover. 07. Run To The Hills - taking a song apart and re-arranging it to sound unlike the original yet still be the same song is difficult at best. For Sign to do this with Run To The Hills is incredibly ambitious. A lack of the drum intro we're all familiar with, lyric omissions during the verses and a new instrumental section would put off most Maiden fans, but Sign do a decent job of it. Not fantastic, but not terrible. 08. To Tame A Land - oh boy. This is what I was looking forward to above anything else. Dream Theater doing a less well-known Maiden song. This was always going to be epic, and DT do not disappoint. Use of the Sitar is inspired, and this is possibly the only song on the album that surpasses the original (Never thought I'd say that). Perfect. 09. Caught Somewhere In Time - again, a song from Somewhere in Time loses it's synths. I had my doubts, but this interpretation from Madina Lake surprised me. While sounding completely different from the original, it is still recognisable almost instantly, which is what I like in a cover. 10. Wrathchild - again, I had my doubts. Gallows' vocals don't really do it for me, but with the rest of the song it sounds good. Not brilliant, just good. 11. Fear Of The Dark - say what you like about Fightstar, they can do cover versions well. This song reeks of awesome. Bit off in the vocals at one point, but otherwise very, very good. 12. Hallowed Be Thy Name - this song gets covered a lot. Cradle of Filth, Iced Earth and Dream Theater have all covered this song in their recorded history, meaning Machine Head have a lot to live up to. The band pull off a good version, Rob's vocals are good in it, but it was a difficult song for them to pick. 13. Iron Maiden - almost unrecognisable as Trivium as far as vocals are concerned, since Heafy has reverted to the screaming of "Ascendancy" after an album of clean vocals, but otherwise, an excellent cover from a great band. 14. Running Free - Year Long Disaster give a good rendition of this classic song. No major mess-ups to report. 15. Brave New World - a brave choice from Ghostlines, and performed excellently. Draws the album to a satisfying close. On the whole, an excellent work by all bands involved, and yet another triumph of a free CD from Kerrang. Best songs: Remember Tomorrow, 2 Minutes To Midnight, To Tame A Land, Fear Of The Dark, Brave New World.