VARIOUS ARTISTS - "A TRIBUTE TO THE BEAST VOL. 2" (NUCLEAR BLAST)
The first Nuclear Blast "Tribute to the Beast" was quite good, and the sequel is even better...for starters I got the Limited European edition that contains a second CD with 8 additional tracks. Iron Maiden cover bliss galore!
With a tribute album of such quality, I want to treat the tracks one by one. Here goes...
Destruction "Killers": Is given the classic Destruction treatment. Cool!
Sentenced "The Trooper": Gothenburg style vocals with a bit of an accent. The drums are a little too loud, but hey.
Primal Fear "2 Minutes to Midnight": I never did like Ralf Scheepers. Musically it's faithful to the original.
Thunderstone "Wasted Years": OK, but slower than the original. This actually causes the track so sound rather boring.
Stuck Mojo featuring Devin Townsend "Wrathchild": Pretty good, definitely as good as (or better than) the original.
Anthrax "Remember Tomorrow": Good, with well fitting John Bush vocals.
Tankard "Iron Maiden": Good, though the drums in the chorus are off.
Necrophobic "Moonchild": This is the type of track you'd expect on an Iron Maiden tribute on Dwell Records, although there it would be one of the best tracks. It's got old-Entombed/Dismember style guitars (no wonder, with Skogberg's production) and death metal vocals.
Mago de Oz "Strange World": Very unusual version, Celtic-sounding with use of flute and violins. Very cool...but the vocals don't quite fit, too faltering here and there. If not for the non-perfect vocals this would be one of the very coolest Iron Maiden covers ever. Where is the Karaoke version of this?
Wolf "Deja Vu": Musically very good and energetic, though the snare sounds like "St. Anger" avant-la-lettre :-) The vocalist is the weak link.
Mystic Prophecy "Sanctuary": Very faithful to the original, which to some will be good and to others will be bad.
Graveworm "Fear of the Dark": Musically very convincing, even though it's got death metal style vocals that cause it to fit rather less on this album. The second half of the track, which includes bagpipes, makes up for that, though!
Therion "Revelations": A ripping live version with a very enthusiastic crowd and excellent vocals.
Iced Earth "Hallowed be Thy Name": You can trust Iced Earth to do a good Iron Maiden cover. Nothing more, nothing less.
On to the second (European bonus) CD:
Sebastian Bach "Children of the Damned": Pretty good, though the vocals are a tad over the top.
John West & Chris Caffery "Run to the Hills": A very capable version.
Cosmosquad featuring Ray Alder "Murders in the Rue Morgue": A very different arrangement, really cool. Although faithful covers can be good fun, too, it's these little gems with their own twists that make a tribute album really special.
Ian Perry & Kamelot "FLight of Icarus": I don't know what everyone is always going on about with regard to Ian Perry's vocal capacities. Maybe it's a different Ian Perry altogether? Because this one sucks. Exaggerated vibrato, he can't reach the high notes, he sounds like an old guy straining too hard. The worst vocal performance on this album, and that includes the death metal vocalists. I'd prefer him on a cover of "Losfer Words" or something :-) Other than that the track is OK.
Solace "Another Life": A differently arranged interpretation, with unexpected and rather cool rhythm changes. The vocalist takes a little getting used to.
Eleventh Hour "Alexander the Great": An ambitious selection, which is well done.
Wardog "Purgatory": Very faithful to the original...
Iron Saviour "Running Free": Again, very faithful to the original (...).
Altogether this is a fine Iron Maiden tribute, especially because of such 'different' interpretations like those of Mago de Oz, Cosmosquad, Graveworm and Solace. Try to get the European 2CD edition!
This one is 4 bullets, but very close to five...
Written June 2003
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