Anton Maiden

Anton Gustavsson Tolkar Iron Maiden

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Once every decade or so, there'll be an album that will slip underneath the radar of mainstream audiences and submerge itself deep into obscurity. A few years will pass by and it will remerge on the underground cult circuit, waiting to be deemed a "classic" by those who truly know what the word means. Such an event is Anton Maiden. He's not just a musician and he's not just an institution -- he is an event. An event that many performance artists could only imagine emulating at the finest points of their career. Armed with an Atari ST computer and deft knowledge of world capitals, Maiden fearlessly takes on 11 of Iron Maiden's classic songs and MIDIs the instrumentation to bold new territories, similar to the soundtrack of a Nintendo eight-bit video game. And his vocals? There are truly no words in any language that could possibly serve justice as to aptly describing the sheer dexterity and potency of his voice. It's almost as if he has invented new notes to be sung and has totally reinterpreted many of the more flaccid Iron Maiden tunes into bona fide powerhouse singalongs. Fans of the band complained of Maiden's abstract take on the tracks, but a more sincere example of the power of music may not exist. These songs are tributes to a band who is hopelessly unhip, lovingly (and probably inadvertently) shaped into hipster anthems by a passionate Swedish teenager. But Anton Maiden is much more than an in-joke for the irony crowd. Anton Maiden is a creature built from old Nintendo components and Circus magazine pull-out posters, a primitive slice of avant-garde thought applied to source material that can appeal to listeners who would never give John Zorn the time of day. This is one of the few examples of a novelty item transcending its own intent and becoming art. And hilarious art at that.

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