A Tribute To The Beast: Volume 2 - VARIOUS ARTISTS

With IRON MAIDEN content to recycle their trusted formula ad infinitum — can anyone honestly say that their "Brave New World" reformation was anything other than the same old same old? — a reappraisal of their back catalogue (in this instance via Nuclear Blast's roster) seems like the only way to get anything resembling a fresh perspective.

Or maybe not, if THUNDERSTONE's plodding, half-cocked take on "Wasted Years" is anything to go by. Ditto with a spectacularly messy piece of music that SENTENCED would like to be known as a version of "The Trooper" — judging by the sound of it, we have our doubts.

The wholesale love of MAIDEN certainly isn't in dispute here, but with so many ordinarily reliable acts making an average fist of things (DESTRUCTION with "Killers", STUCK MOJO and Devin Townsend with their toughed-up ruination of "Wrathchild"), it's left to those that usually form the second division of metal to provide, er, sanctuary.

The ludicrously overrated ICED EARTH for once are responsible for a very punchy piece with their cover of "Hallowed Be Thy Name", whilst the even more terrible WOLF do a very passable "Déjà Vu". Bucking the trend, you can generally rely on ANTHRAX to come up with something quirky, and though they play "Remember Tomorrow" pretty straight, it echoes the melancholic bleakness of the original.

Aside from a few exceptions, the old argument definitely applies: why insult your ears with cheap imitations when you can just as easily reach for the real deal?

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