Various Artists

666: The Number One Beast, A Tribute to Iron Maiden

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The Cleopatra label is responsible for a number of questionably executed tribute albums, including this one -- 666: The Number One Beast -- A Tribute to Iron Maiden is a series of Maiden covers performed by an aggregate of hard-rock/heavy-metal journeymen, including Grim Reaper's Steve Grimmett, FM's Steve Overland, guitarists Bernie Torme (Ian Gillan), Paul Quinn (Saxon), and Dave Colwell (Samson, 1990s Bad Company) -- and, last but not least, original Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno, who sings lead on several tracks here. The songs are well chosen, and the results are at least competent, but also often turn out as faceless AOR and arena-rock. Plus, because the performers are veterans and even contemporaries of the artist they're paying tribute to, the collection doesn't demonstrate Iron Maiden's enduring influence the way a tribute album ought to (in theory). Instead, the exercise just ends up feeling pointless.

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