Kerrang! – Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden (2008)

Kerrang! – Maiden Heaven: A Tribute To Iron Maiden

  1. Prowler (Black Tide)
  2. Remember Tomorrow (Metallica)
  3. Flash Of The Blade (Avenged Sevenfold)
  4. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Glamour Of The Kill)
  5. The Trooper (Coheed And Cambria)
  6. Waysted Years (Devildriver)
  7. Run To The Hills (Sign)
  8. To Tame A Land (Dream Theater)
  9. Caught Somewhere In Time (Madina Lake)
  10. Wrathchild (Gallows)
  11. Fear Of The Dark (Fightstar)
  12. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Machine Head)
  13. Iron Maiden (Trivium)
  14. Running Free (Year Long Disaster)
  15. Brave New World (Ghostlines)

Total Time = 1:14:02

Iron Maiden

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.

Bottom Line:
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.

Favorite Songs:
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’.

Teach’em All – A High School Tribute To Metallica (2008)

Teach’em All – A High School Tribute To Metallica (2008, independent release)

  1. Master Of Puppets
  2. Seek And Destroy
  3. Sad But True
  4. The Thing That Should Not Be
  5. Enter Sandman
  6. For Whom The Bell Tolls
  7. I Disappear
  8. Am I Evil?
  9. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  10. Eye Of The Beholder
  11. Creeping Death


The Singers:
(L-R Top) – Cassandra Markey, Nicholas Maurais, Dakoda Drouin, Jessica Scalabrini
(L-R Bottom) – Cassandra Goudreau, Maxime Riendeau, Bianka Fontaine, Jimmy Roy-Rodrigue, Nadia Goudreau

The Band:
David Bérubé – Bass (except #5), additional vocals
Ghislain Fecteau – Drums (except #5 & #6), additional vocals
Pascal Madore – Guitars

Special Guest Musicians:
Angelo Coppola – Drums (on #5 & #6)
John JD DeServio – Bass (on #5)

Producer: Patrice Beaudette (and additional vocals)

Total Time = 1:16:29

High School Tributes
High School Tributes MySpace page

Teacher/Producer Patrice Beaudette and his group of talented young men and women have come back again with another tribute album: TEACH’EM ALL – A HIGH SCHOOL TRIBUTE TO METALLICA. The concept is simple and unique: take talented high school students, put them in the studio, and have them play and sing cover versions of a particular band’s songs. It worked well for both KISS tributes (Christine Sixteen and Christine Sixteen 2) and now the kids have taken some of the recorded works of Metallica and put them to CD.

Now I know some of you are going to point out that my biggest pet peeve is cover songs and/or cover records. So why have I been a big supporter of the High School Tribute projects? Simple. For once, actually three times now, there is a unique approach to doing a tribute record. Who would have thought to take high school students and put them in the studio? A project of this kind shows a committment of a teacher to his students and the students to their teacher. With all the news about music programs being cut here in U.S. schools, it’s pretty cool to hear the result of hard work and dedication from these Canadian students.

Let’s take the concept aside and look at the music…..

First, I like the tracklisting. The first five Metallica albums are represented, nothing from LOAD, RELOAD, or St. ANGER, the only post-black album track being ‘I Disappear’ from the movie “Mission Impossible 2”. Nice to see the inclusion of ‘Am I Evil?’. I’m a big Diamond Head fan and it’s always good to hear that song…’s a cover of a cover! The musicianship on all of these songs is top notch, the band is tight and absolutely nail every song note for note. Listening to the opening ‘Master Of Puppets’, I found myself wondering who was playing: the kids or Metallica? It was the same way on the two KISS tributes, the band is tight and dead on to the originals. The vocals are solid, each vocalist bringing their own intepretation to the song while staying true to the original form. These young men and women are not professional Metal singers, they are students who are learning, and they are doing a fine job. As are all the students involved in the project…..they may not be be professionals (yet) but they are learning the craft and putting in a superb effort!

Bottom Line:
I rarely listen to Metallica anymore. They get tons of radio airplay in my area and it is very common to hear any/all of these songs at least once or twice every few days. Then a project like this comes along and provides a fresh outlook on the music and making me take a good listen once again.

In the grand tradition started by the Christine Sixteen Tributes to KISS, TEACH’EM ALL has once again exceeded expectations. I admit to preferring bands doing original material but I do enjoy a good tribute album, especially one that is done as well as these young people have done. Each and every individual involved has put every ounce of energy and talent into making a superb album. It makes me wonder just how many of these young adults will be the part of the next wave of musicians. If you are a fan of Metallica, or you have heard the previous two tribute records, then this is a must have. If you are a supporter of music programs in schools across the world, then it is essential that you check this CD out. The next great talents have assembled, hear what they can do. Favorite songs here: ‘Am I Evil?’, ‘Master Of Puppets’, ‘The Thing That Should Not Be’. Actually, I like all the songs, they are performed at the highest level with great enthusiasm.

Special thanks again to my friend Patrice Beaudette for including me in the liner notes and also posting a banner and link for Heavy Metal Addiction. When a project this special comes around, it is an honor to help spread the word. My congratulations to all the kids involved, another great project! I can’t wait for the next one…..

Only 600 copies were pressed, so this is a limited edition release. You can order a copy directly from High School Tributes.