Review Summary: There are many dime a dozen Iron Maiden tribute albums out there that range from mediocre to downright offensive, but perhaps because of all the potential surrounding it, Maiden Heaven might just be the most disappointing of all- though there are a few li2 of 2 thought this review was well written
I'll begin this review by happily admitting I'm a tad biased because Iron Maiden
are my favourite band. They have been since their heavy metal aria "Aces High" graced my 14 year old ears in a video store in 2006. 6 years later, there's not a person on this earth more obsessed with Iron Maiden than I. I'm 20 and I probably know more about them than most 40-60 year olds you'd find at an Iron Maiden concert. That being said, it's always difficult for me to take tribute albums of any sort seriously, because a Maiden tribute album is like a Beatles tribute album; it's nowhere near as fulfilling as the real thing.
Yet on the band's official forum in 2008, arguably the biggest year of the decade for the band, with a mammoth tour on their hands and the release of their "Live After Death" for the first time on DVD ever, when Kerrang! announced that they would organize a tribute with well known metal/prog/modern rock bands, I was slightly interested. Coheed and Cambria, Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold- just to name a few, all being attached? That certainly sounded like it would be hard to screw up. Too bad that, unfortunately it was. In fact, while it might not be the worst tribute to the band ever (that would go to the dreaded Hip Hop tribute), it certainly is the most disappointing. Maybe because of all the wicked talented bands attached to it?
And before I get into Ranty Scott mode, I am aware that covers don't have to mindlessly ape off of the original. Doesn't excuse some of the horrid dreck on this album, however.
opens the album with a not too bad cover of "Prowler". It has sort of a punk feel to it, and I must say they did a good job at it, didn't try too hard with it and it's like they took a few understandable liberties with the cover while staying true to the original. Unfortunately, and in a case of irony that may restore your faith in the divine comedy, Metallica
's cover of "Remember Tomorrow", a deeply emotional song turned into a bland and generic metal tune follows. If anything, their cover is the definition of "trying too hard". Why did they open the cover with 16 bars of generic, ReLoad style metal? And Hetfield's attempts to sound like Di'Anno is pathetic too.
In a spark of good luck, a promising cover of "Flash of the Blade" from the "Powerslave" album shows up, and mind you, I don't even like Avenged Sevenfold
all that much, but they were the right band to do it and it shows. M. Shadows shout style of singing in the choruses and his creepy way of singing the verses as if he's telling kids a scary story help give the song an "evil" feel. This is how you try something different while sticking close to the original. And unfortunately, Glamour of the Kill
spoils it by giving us a cover of "2 Minutes to Midnight" that's truly awful and sounds like a mix of an Emo tune and a Motley Crüe tune. I really hate this cover guys. In addition, the singer sounds whiny and nasally and just spoils everything fun about Dickinson's distinctive and powerful vocal deliveries in the original.
Coheed and Cambria
doing the cover of "The Trooper" was forseeable, and I say this because the band themselves have cited Iron Maiden as their biggest influence. I've seen them live twice and the first time, they covered the tune in a medley. Here the cover sounds decent, sounds close to the original but with an early Rush-esque, sci-fi feel to it. And, if you guessed that the goodness was spoiled by a horrid cover as soon as the track is over, you've got that right. Devildriver
's cover of "Wasted Years" is just plain dreadful and the very reason that Maiden sings should not be given the dreadful Death Metal treatment.
But don't think the said formula lasts, folks. Because following this, a strew of dreadful covers follows. I dunno what in Eddie's name Sign
were smoking or snorting when they said, "hey, let's turn Run to the Hills into a depressing emo tune!". Now I guess a less campy and more serious cover of said song wouldn't be such a bad idea after all- the song is indeed about genocide and projects the story from two different perspectives. But these guys went the totally wrong way about it in presenting a song that sounds like a mix between a Coldplay and Simple Plan song. Try not to laugh at the singer's German accent slipping several times, too. Next is Dream Theater
's cover of "To Tame a Land". Perhaps this cover is worse because I love them so much- but this cover is just UNFORGIVABLY bad. I get that they wanted to amply the sings Eastern tinge more, but the downtuning of the song just ruins it, the Eastern elements sound forced in there and to top it all off, LaBrie sounds he has a cold. Not helping matters is Madina Lake
's butchery of "Caught Somewhere in Time", a metalcore disaster that makes me want to vomit the moment its interpretation of the opening riff on a keyboard, of all instruments, rings through my speakers.
But what might just be the most disappointing cover on this disc is next- Gallows
' interpretation of "Wrathchild". A punk cover of a. Aden tune is never a bad idea because in a way, Maiden were very much a punk-metal crossover band before Dickinson joined. But this was just disappointing. Green Day could have done this cover. And Fightstar
and Machine Head
's covers are so bland and forgettable- I can't even remember a note of them. However, finally a good cover comes along- Trivium
impress us with a straight-up metal cover of the band's national anthem, "Iron Maiden". I'm not a fan of them at all but they killed it here. Heafy's rough voice and the impressively instrumentals make for a fun and joyous cover that reminds us why we love the original. And sadly the light is blackened by a cover of "Running Free" by Year Long Disaster
. Well the cover certainly sounds like one. It feels a year long and it a total disaster. Everything fun of the original is gone completely gone. Last but not least, Ghostlines
spooky cover of "Brave New World". This is a very impressive cover, that gives the tune a sad and melancholy feel, enhancing the hopelessness of the lyrics.
Problem with most of "Maiden Heaven" is that it just tries too hard. Several tracks sound like the band just took the lyrics and wrote different melodies. Not that I have a problem at all with trying something new with a cover, because I really don't, but most of them trytoo hard and stray far away from what made the originals so grand to begin with. Ignoring the fact that there are a lot of crappy covers, the album as a whole just collapses around itself several times and as a result, is just sloppy and messy.
I haven't heard many other Maiden tribute albums, I've heard some good and some bad, but while this isn't a complete disaster, it's sure a big disappointment, and if you're really desperate to hear it, download it for free instead of looking for it on eBay, which is really the only way to find a physical copy nowadays.