Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Iced Earth

Well this band holds a special place in my heart and always will...why? Iced Earth was the first real band I got into after Metallica& Megadeth ran their course for me. I remembered hearing about Iced Earth on tour with Megadeth. The Megadeth boards were on fire about how good this band was so I decided to check them out. Now the first thing I noticed about the band is the high quality artwork they have for their albums. Check them out.

Now let's talk about the music. Iced Earth plays a sort of NWOBHM/thrash metal mix. Imagine Iron Maiden on steroids. Instead of Steve Harris' galloping bass line you get a heavy head banging guitar riff. My first Iced Earth album was Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is good because the sequel to that album comes out later this year. Something Wicked is a solid album from start to finish, but you quickly notice the fast song then slow song pattern for the entire album. You can't get into a rhythm to either bang your head or get out your lighter. The shining moment on the album, and this is what hooked me on Iced Earth, is the Something Wicked Trilogy. 3 songs linked together clocking in at about 25 minutes. I had never heard anything like this before. In a nut shell, the trilogy talks about this character who is destined to destroy all of mankind...oh yeah I guess I should note the fact the lyrics aren't happy, if you need more proof let's look at their 2nd album.

Night of the Stormrider is a concept album about a soldier who loses his faith in religion and decides to take it out on mankind. The really evil thing about this is that he doesn't have any regrets and would do it again. Musically, NotS is probably my favorite IE album. The riffs and time/tempo changes through out the entire album are really great. The intro riff to Stormrider is probably one of my all time favorites.

One last thing about Iced Earth...the line up changes. Until the 2 part album is released, no album has had the same line up from one album to the next...is this a problem? Not really, starting with Burnt Offerings, Matt Barlow took over the vocal duties. Now the previous 2 vocalists were good, in fact I heard the only reason the guy from NotS was dropped was because of his cocky attitude. But Matt Barlow quickly became the voice of Iced Earth. The next 4 albums and one live album are all solid albums, especially the live album. If you can find the 3 disc live album, Alive in Athens, or the 2 disc Days of Purgatory get them. They give a great overview of Iced Earth minus Horror Show and The Glorious Burden. After HS, Matt Barlow left the band due to his reaction to 9/11, enter Tim Owens of Judas Priest. Now Tim Owens is a good vocalist, but for me he is too much like Rob Halford. If I want Rob Halford I will listen to Judas Priest or Halford. TGB was a solid album, but it was missing a lot. The riffs didn't seem to be their the whole time and the vocals were always high.

So now we sit back and wait for 2 Iced Earth albums this year. I have heard the EP, Overture of the Wicked, and I am not super happy, but I am not giving up on them. This is Jon's baby, he has been waiting to finish the Something Wicked Trilogy for 2 albums now. I don't think he can mess it up.

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