Various Artists

A Call to Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden, Vol. 1

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After some laborious listens, surprisingly several tracks off this Iron Maiden eulogy aren't too bad. Lesser-known outfits Ancient Wisdom and New Eden blow away mainstays like Vital Remains and Morgion (who really drop a stinker on "To Tame a Land") with their versions of "Powerslave" and "Phantom of the Opera." An established band that actually deserves to work with Maiden material such as Opeth not surprisingly highlights the album with their godly version of "Remember Tomorrow." Solitude Aeturnus takes a mournfully delicious stab at "Hallowed Be Thy Name," and prove quite successful. Black metallers Absu and Angel Corpse lay low with thundering instrumentals, while the anguishing female vocals of Opera IX's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" give a big, fat thundering headache, while causing simultaneous uncontrollable laughter. Overall, the album is half good and half bad, which is typical of a tribute album, making it a risky buy unless you are an avid Opeth or Iron Maiden collector.

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