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CD Reviews: Review of Numbers From the Beast (An All-Star Salute to Iron Maiden) by Various Artists
Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com   Various Artists: Numbers From the Beast: An All-Star Salute to Iron Maiden (Restless 2005)

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So how do you take your tribute albums? Do you prefer the respectful, dead-on versions of well-known songs (like Sarah McLachlan’s unforgettable take on the Beatles’ “Blackbird” from the I Am Sam soundtrack) or are you the type who favors a complete rehashing (see Toad The Wet Sprocket’s gutsy shot at making “Rock and Roll All Night” a tender ballad on the KISS tribute Kiss My Ass)? If your vote is for the former, buckle your seatbelt and prepare for Numbers from the Beast (An All-Star Salute to Iron Maiden), an accomplished 11-song homage to the 25th anniversary of one of heavy metal’s true titans.

With tribute album pioneer Bob Kulick at the production helms and an extraordinary lineup of hard rock personnel, it was nearly impossible for this one to fail. Instead of simply enlisting familiar bands in full, Kulick (yes, brother of temporary 80s era KISS guitarist Bruce) matches some classic metal throats with various guitar and rhythm section gurus. Take the opener “Run to the Hills”, a perfect rendition that doesn’t stray at all from the original. McAuley Schenker Group is called upon for vocals (Robin McAuley) and guitar (Michael Schenker), but the Firm’s Tony Franklin (bass) and Brian Tichy from Billy Idol’s band (drummer) lay down the pulse. The result is dazzling!

Dee Snider is employed next for his toast to “Wasted Years”, quite biographical if you think about it. He’s backed by George Lynch, the more-than-capable axeman of Dokken, and Jason Bonham (Bonzo’s boy) on skins. Again, a recipe made in hair heaven. The collection ain’t perfect, as the injudicious “Wrathchild” and “Fear of the Dark” prove. And how in Eddie’s name did WWE wrestler Chris Jericho get a lead vocal spot (“The Evil That Men Do)? What, were David Coverdale and Kevin Dubrow booked?

Mark Slaughter lends a huge vocal to “Can I Play with Madness?”, which also features Bruce Kulick and Bowie’s Aynsley Dunbar on drums, but the hands down apex of this tribute comes with Lemmy Kilmister and Phil Campbell of Motorhead tackling “The Trooper.” “You take my life but I take yours too,” is ten times more convincing coming from Lemmy. (Sorry, Bruce.) The real beauty of Numbers from the Beast is the feeling of indebtedness that’s paid to these songs by the all-star cast. You get the sense that Lemmy and Dee Snider feel genuinely honored to serve in such a tribute. And that’s pretty damned cool. 

~Red Rocker 




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