Dec 092011

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…

Apr 152011

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Covering metal songs can be tricky. The musical complexity often displayed on the originals means that to create anything new, you may have to venture away from anything resembling “metal.” In doing so, however, your music may no longer hold any appeal to fans of the band you’re covering. As a result, metal covers tend to play it safe (and, thus, be terrible).

From what we found, though, Iron Maiden fans are open-minded (or wonky) enough to appreciate a folk-rock “The Trooper” or a pan-flute “Aces High.” Maiden fans support wacky non-metal cover albums and one-offs more than you see with their peers. That made finding quality covers of every song on The Number of the Beast both more easy and more enjoyable than it was for, say, our Master of Puppets tribute two years ago. With all the terrific reinterpretations we dug up, we could just as easily have done a tribute to Piece of Mind or Iron Maiden (and maybe one day we will).

For now, though, we bring you our track-by-track, cover-by-cover look at Iron Maiden’s seminal The Number of the Beast. Eight songs, eight covers, in a wide variety of styles. Maiden songs translate beautifully to other genres, and musicians across the musical spectrum have taken advantage. Continue reading »