Various Artists
Made In Tribute -
A Tribute To The Best Band In The Whole Goddamn World
[Toy Factory]

On the Japanese label Toy Factory, we have a nice tribute to, as the subtitle aptly states, the best band in the whole goddamn world, Iron Maiden. I'll just review this track by track:

Arch Enemy "Aces High": Just as you'd expect, a straightforward Death Metallized version. The vocals are the weak points here, they sound forced. The rest is very well executed, but nothing really special.

Decameron "2 Minutes To Midnight": I never liked this song anyway, and Decameron doesn't change that. Nice guitars, competent (!) clean vocals, but a bit of a flat sound and unimpressive drumming

Therion "Children of the Damned": Also a bit of a lack lustre cover, this one suffers from bad vocals - Christoffer (?) sounds like he has a softball somewhere halfway his throat. I expected something bombastic or orchestral, like "Theli" or "Vovin", but alas.

Armageddon "Die With Your Boots On": Finally, a song with some real power! Aggressive vocals, crunchy guitars, great solo, nice double bass drumming. It's close to the original, but Armageddon pull it off nicely.

Nocturnal Rites "Wasted Years": Well played, and very close to the original, this is good! The singer just as good as Bruce if not better (bear in mind that I never really liked Bruce's singing that much). The whole thing has a full, clean sound, nice audible (!) bass lines, and well-executed solos.

Sadist "Wrathchild": This is one of the best covers on this album. Sadist transform this classic (I've always liked the Paul Di'Anno-era Maiden most) into a short eerie ultra-tight technical blastfest. Angry-as-fuck vocals, some futuristic synth sounds, and mechanically precise drumming. Too bad it's so short (2:30) though.

Lord Belial "The Trooper": This version is at least twice as fast as the original, and the abundant blastbeats throughout the song and the vile screaming make this very enjoyable. Too bad this band is no more...

Naglfar "The Evil That Men Do": The mid-90s Swedish Göthenborg-style gave us tons of bands playing Death Metal with Maiden-licks and Black Metal style vocals - and that's exactly a description of this song. This is a highlight of this album, fiercely played, impressive vocals, killer production, while still retaining the original spirit.

Dark Tranquillity "22 Acacia Avenue": Another Göthenborg band, but why the hell cover this song? Competently played, but not exceptional and in the end it simply stays as cheesy as it ever was.

In Flames "Murders In The Rue Morgue": Yep, another Göthenborg band...and this is great! Sounds like it's played with Spanish peppers up their asses, fast, furious, full of cool licks and solos.

In conclusion, this tribute is fairly good, although not as good as the "A Call To Irons" tribute on Dwell Records. Some nice tracks, some soulless drivel, but overall definitely enjoyable. Of course we all know that nothing beats the originals, but at least this is better than anything Maiden released in the '90s, and it's nice to hear some bands give different twists to the songs you know so well(the blastbeats in Lord Belial's "The Trooper" for instance).

© 1999 sybren