Iron Maiden are one of music's least compromising bands, having released 15 albums of mostly stellar material with more to come. The band has an impeccable track record of success and integrity all without commercial radio play. Having built their name through the strength of their music and live performances, Iron Maiden are near and dear to just about every metal fan's heart and ears.
The band seems to do things with such perfection, that any slight alteration might make them seem human. This makes covering an Iron Maiden song daunting. Classics like 'Aces High,' 'Hallowed Be Thy Name,' 'The Trooper,' and many more don't need any fixing up or interpretations. They are holy writ in heavy metal. Here we have found 11 bands who bow down at the altar of Iron Maiden, serving up impressive takes on the aforementioned classics and then some.
'Phantom of the Opera'Anathema
Iron Maiden are heralded for their epics and Anathema take on the band's first epic off the eponymous debut record. 'Phantom of the Opera' serves as one of the many quintessential Maiden songs, encompassing everything we love about the band. Here, the death doom turned ethereal progressive rockers provide a rousing performance of the Maiden classic, which seems to take the crowd by sheer surprise.
Sweden's Lord Belial offer up a blackened version of the live staple 'The Trooper.' The song is so perfect it almost seems blasphemous to even consider covering it, but Lord Belial know a thing or two about blasphemy and went ahead with a nearly insurmountable task. Aside from the throaty shrieks that are a far cry from Bruce Dickinson's operatics, the drums stand out the most, providing this cover with a staggering amount of energy. The Swedes truly put their mark on the song, which makes for an entertaining listen.
'Where Eagles Dare'The Quill
The Quill serve up a fuzzed out rendition of the 'Piece of Mind' opener 'Where Eagles Dare.' The band puts its stamp of stoner metal all over the song while singer Magnus Ekwall works his way through a challenging vocal regimen with aplomb. The Quill groove out in the middle of the song, really twisting things around from the original and making it fit their ethos without straying too far from Maiden's.
Mikael Akerfledt may not like his band's cover of Maiden's moody, '70s infused 'Remember Tomorrow,' but we certainly do. It is no secret that Akerfeldt is his biggest critic when it comes to his clean voice, but his timidity works wonders here. Opeth's early work has Iron Maiden's fingerprints all over it with harmonized melodic leads, but 'Remember Tomorrow' is a perfect song for Opeth to cover. It bounces back and forth between clean-picked acoustics and aggressive riffing, much like the Swedish progressive masters.
Testament thrash up 'Powerslave' as expected. Chuck Billy keeps things a little less aggressive than some of Testament's work and leaves that for Gene Hoglan on the drums. Hoglan's perfectly timed double bass parts are done with such tact that they are the signature aspect of this cover. Alex Sklonick delivers his world-class guitar playing chops again, altering the riffs slightly to fit the Testament sound.
'To Tame a Land'Dream Theater
Progressive metallers Dream Theater not only deliver their own music with unprecedented precision, but are known for covering songs note for note, as well. Here we are treating to the closing epic off 'Piece of Mind' based off Frank Herbert's thrilling novel 'Dune.' Dream Theater add traditional middle-Eastern elements on 'To Tame a Land' to further the sandy vibe the track gives off.
'Alexander the Great'Eleventh Hour
Eleventh Hour only recorded one demo of original material before disbanding. Fortunately, they covered one of Maiden's least talked about epics, 'Alexander the Great,' and give us plenty to talk about. Patrick Lachman, who would go on to front Damageplan and play guitar for two of Rob Halford's solo albums, plays with every note picked to perfection while singer Tim Lachman soars over the music with his crisp, high nasal tone that emulates Bruce Dickinson so well.
'Hallowed Be Thy Name'Cradle of Filth
Cradle of Filth pull off an impressive task in covering one of Iron Maiden's most revered songs. 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' has only been excluded from one tour's set since 1982 proving it was built for the live setting. The gothic black metal band does well with a studio version. Naturally, Dani Filth's tea kettle of a voice and emotive phrasing adds the instant Cradle of Filth stamp on the song and it works surprisingly well considering how true to the original the band chose to keep the song. This version might even change the minds of those staunchly opposed to extreme vocals.
This is one beefy cover! It is quite clear that Arch Enemy probably would not exist if it were not for Iron Maiden's delivery of such consistent melodic lead work. 'Aces High' and its fret-frenzied guitars are a perfect marriage for the Swedish melodic death metallers as evident by this rendition of the 'Powerslave' opener. The band speed things up with the leads but also provide a sharp contrast with their interpretations of some of the rhythm riffing.
German thrashers Destruction deliver a cover of 'Killers' that is almost as vicious as Bruce Dickinson singing the Paul Di'Anno-era classic on his audition tape for Iron Maiden. Singer Marcel 'Schmier' Schirmer's snarling vocal attack works symbiotically with the lyrics, giving off a vicious and sinister vibe on this fine-tuned cover song. The band chooses to play the song a little closer to the vest than expected, but who cares when the results are as satisfying as this!?
'Hallowed Be Thy Name'Solitude Aeturnus
Texas doom lords Solitude Aeturnus find themselves at the top of this list with their exemplary version of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name.' If, for some reason, someone had never heard the song before, one play of this would be convincing enough to believe that this an original. Every aspect of this cover shines with each member doing his part so well that they collectively transcend their duties, resulting in the single best Iron Maiden cover in existence. Go ahead and listen for yourselves and uncover the magic that Solitude Aeturnus have wrought.
Bonus:You Think You Know Iron Maiden?