Archive for Iced Earth

Blood Times – On A Mission

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 26th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bloody Times
On A Mission
Released 11th January 2019
Heavy Metal
Self-Released

Bloody Times - On a Mission

‘On A Mission’ is the second album from the German heavy metal band Bloody Times. The band started as a solo project of bassist Simon Pfundstein back in 2014. He was later joined by two former members of Iced Earth, drummer Raphael Saini and vocalist John Greedy. This album also features guest performances from various heavy metal musicians including Ross Friedman aka Ross the Boss (ex-Manowar).

The first thing that struck me when listening to this album was how much it reminded me of old Iced Earth. Luckily I happen to like old Iced Earth, so it’s good to hear John Greedy behind the mike again. The mid-paced opening track Alliance is one of the more melodic songs on here. I guess that this was meant to be some sort of classic metal ballad and as such it works reasonably well. I just wish that they would have omitted the progressive, ponderous and slow guitar parts mid-way through the song. It’s not the best start to the album but luckily what follows is the energetic, thrash metal style Fort Sumter– easily my favourite song on here due to excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Now that’s more like it! If only this track was the first one….

Die In A Hole also has that thrash metal vibe to it; it is more varied in pace, not quite as fast ‘Fort Sumter’ but not too slow either. There is a good range of guitar riffs and Mr. Greedy manages to find the right balance between low pitched shouting and clean vocals to match the tone of the music. I also like the reworked version of Curse of Genevieve. What lets this album down is a short track called The Warning (Until Blood Boils pt.1) which falls under the category of what I commonly refer to as “filler”. I honestly do not know what I found more irritating, the strange vocal effects or the ultra dull-sounding, doom metal style guitar riffs plodding along in the background. Time to skip this. Next! Luckily the part 2 marks a return to the fast and aggressive heavy metal.

Overall, despite its flaws, ‘On A Mission’ is a good heavy metal album which I would recommend to fans of old Iced Earth.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila

Pieni’s highlights of 2017

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 1st January 2018 by Pieni

2017 was quite the roller-coaster, hence my somewhat absence. But that doesn’t mean I’ve paid less attention. My live highlights this past year were:

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  1. W.A.S.P. at O2 Forum Kentish Town (London)
  2. Infraktor at Metalpoint (Porto)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Ugly Kid Joe at AgitÁgueda (Águeda)
  5. Hills Have Eyes at River Stone (Penafiel)

In terms of records I might have been a bit careless, but these titles are awesome nevertheless:

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  1. “Heartless Oppressor” by Primal Attack
  2. “1755” by Moonspell
  3. “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” by The End Of Grace
  4. “Hegemony” by Samael
  5. “Medusa” by Paradise Lost

Top-5 videos:

  1. “In Tremor Dei” by Moonspell
  2. “Never Quit” by Hills Have Eyes
  3. “Like Orpheus” by Orphaned Land
  4. “Blood And Chaos” by Paradise Lost
  5. “Black Flag” by Iced Earth

And expectations/anticipations for 2018:

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  1. The release of “Exhaust”, Infraktor‘s debut album!
  2. After the single “Never Quit” blowing my mind away, can’t wait to see what Hills Have Eyes will deliver next.
  3. The release of “Dropout”, Breaking Today’s debut EP, and how it will turn out live (pretty dynamic, I’m sure).
  4. Crashdïet have a new singer, Gabriel Keyes, and judging by the first single featuring him, “We Are The Legion”, I foresee a bright future for the Swedes.
  5. Just a few days ago, in what I’ve considered one of their best live shows ever, Equaleft played two new songs, two powerful new songs. Hoping to listen to the rest of this upcoming second full-length album in 2018.

Happy New Year folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Hellscream – Made Immortal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 14th November 2014 by izaforestspirit

Hellscream
Made Immortal
Released March 2013
Heavy Metal/ Power Metal
Released via Dead Inside Records

‘Made Immortal’ is the debut album from the American power metal band Hellscream which features Norman Skinner (ex- Imagika, Skinner, Dire Peril) on vocals and Dave Garcia (Cage).

First up is the band’s theme tune Hellscream which sounds like a mixture of cheesy (read “squeaky”) power metal akin to the likes of King Diamond with the guitar riffs, speed and “epic” thrash metal feel of Iced Earth. Come to think of it, the vocals are also a weird combination of these two styles. These guys also like really their narratives and voice-over intros – think Manowar meets Bal Sagoth, and you will have a pretty good idea of what I’m referring to. Luckily the second track, Mind Reaper, is less squeaky and much darker than its predecessor not to mention that the guitar melodies and solos are nothing short of impressive.

In fact, it’s safe to say that the guitars are the main good thing about this album. In many ways they are everything that you want from a good power metal band – fast or at least mid-paced, energetic guitar riffs and catchy solos that are easy to headbang or air-guitar along to. Last Charge Of A Bloody Brigade is a good example of how all these elements come together to make a great power metal song. As for the vocals, the singer’s full range can be heard on tracks like Phoenix: We Will Rise. This track sees him attempt not only the squeaky, stereotypical power metal style vocals and the clearer heavy/thrash metal variety, but also growling in order to make the chorus sound more powerful. I must say it’s not a bad effort and it came as somewhat unexpected.

Yet for some reason there is one main thought which sticks in my mind as the album progresses – this reminds me so much of mid-career Iced Earth. Yet unlike their fellow countrymen, Hellscream’s style is not quite as consistent especially when it comes to the vocals. It’s a shame really because the guitars are really top notch on every song.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Iced Earth post Among The Dead online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 16th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

American metal band Iced Earth have posted a new song, titled Among The Dead, taken from their upcoming album Plagues Of Babylon, online. The album is due for release in early 2014 via Century Media and will feature guest appearances from Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen, Symphony X frontman Russell Allen and Blind Guardian frontman Hansi Kürsch. The song, Among The Dead, can heard below.

Iced Earth will also be touring Europe in 2014 inluding two UK dates and one Irish date, followed by North America as part of their Worldwide Plagues tour. Tour dates are as follow:

09 Jan: GER Saarbrücken Garage
10 Jan: NED Hengelo Metropol
11 Jan: BEL Antwerp Trix
12 Jan: GBR Birmingham O2 Academy
13 Jan: IRE Dublin Button Factory
14 Jan: GBR London O2 Academy Islington
15 Jan: FRA Paris Le Trabendo
17 Jan: ESP Madrid Sala Caracol
19 Jan: ESP Valencia Rock City
20 Jan: ESP Barcelona Razzmatazz 2
22 Jan: SWI Pratteln Z7
23 Jan: ITA Romagnano Rock ‘n’ Roll Arena
24 Jan: SLO Ljubljana Kino Siska
25 Jan: CRO Zagreb Pogon Jedinstvo
26 Jan: BIH Sarajevo Club Sloga
28 Jan: ROM Bucarest Juke Box
29 Jan: TUR Istanbul Kucukciftlik Park
31 Jan: GRE Athens Gagarin 205
01 Feb: GRE Thessaloniki Principal Club
02 Feb: BUL Sofia Mixtape 5
04 Feb: SER Belgrade Dom Omladine
05 Feb: HUN Budapest Club 202
07 Feb: GER Nürnberg Rockfabrik
08 Feb: TCH Zlin Masters Of Rock
09 Feb: GER München Backstage Werk
11 Feb: GER Berlin Astra
12 Feb: GER Köln Essigfabrik
13 Feb: GER Bochum Zeche
14 Feb: GER Osnabrück Rosenhof
15 Feb: GER Hamburg Markthalle
16 Feb: DEN Copenhagen Vega
18 Feb: SWE Gothenburg Sticky Fingers
19 Feb: SWE Stockholm Debaser Medis
22 Feb: ISR Tel Aviv Reading 3

04 April: Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
05 April: Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
06 April: Chicago, IL – House Of Blues
07 April: Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
09 April: Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
10 April: Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
11 April: Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
12 April: Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
14 April: Toronto, ONT – Phoenix Concert Theatre
15 April: Quebec City, QC – Imperial Theater
16 April: Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
17 April: Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero
18 April: New York, NY – Best Buy Theater
19 April: Worcester, MA – The Palladium
21 April: West Springfield, VA – Empire
23 April: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
24 April: Orlando, FL – House Of Blues Orlando
25 April: Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
26 April: Saint Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
28 April: Houston, TX – Scout Bar
29 April: Dallas, TX – Trees
01 May: Tempe, AZ – Club Red
02 May: West Hollywood, CA – House Of Blues Sunset
03 May: San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
05 May: Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
06 May: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
07 May: Vancouver, BC – The Venue
09 May: Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
10 May: Calgary, AB – Republik
11 May: Regina, SK – Riddell Centre
12 May: Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
14 May: Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall
15 May: Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
16 May: Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom

Iced Earth online:

http://icedearth.com
http://facebook.om/OfficialIcedEarth

Vagos Open Air 2013 – 2nd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th August 2013 by Pieni

Testament, Gamma Ray, Iced Earth, Rotting Christ, Tarantula, Web
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
10th August 2013

Photos originally taken for Portuguese webzine Sound(/)Zone.

The second day of the festival was much heavier. And more experient, having all bands been founded in the eighties.
Without any record label to pull the strings, Web got a well-deserved opening spot all by themselves. And they simply tore the stage down! I’ve seen these guys literally dozens of times and this was one of their best shows, despite one of the shortest as well. The crowd seemed to agree with me, and right from the beginning the security guys had their hands full with the moshers and crowdsurfers, as “Life Aggression”, “(In)Sanity” or “Beautiful Obsession” sounded sharper than ever.

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When Tarantula got on stage, their power metal didn’t sound so powerful. Maybe we were all still too high from the adrenaline shot of the previous band, but whatever the reason, when “Spiral Of Fear” first echoed, the general feeling was a bit dull – and I don’t mean just the crowd reaction. Eventually things got a little better and there were loud shouts and fists in the air during songs such as “Afterlife” or “You Can Always Touch The Sky”. Still they lacked a little spunk. It wasn’t a bad show, not at all, but it was far from great.

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Rotting Christ restored the high spirits of the crowd, with a fierceness that is no stranger to their live performances. From the early days with “The Forest Of N’Gai” and “Transform All Suffering Into Plagues”, to the more recent “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” and “In Yumen – Xibalba”, going through the Thou Art Lord cover “Societas Satanas” and the iconic “Athanati Este”, the Greeks put up a hell of a show (no pun intended).

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Iced Earth was probably the biggest surprise. I know it was for me. The band has been in a kind of downfall since the first time Matt Barlow left, and even if “Dystopia” was considerably better, it still didn’t impress me. I might listen to it again more carefully now, after seeing what “new” singer Stu Block is really capable of. He gave this band a fresh air, bringing back to life songs like “Burning Times”, “Pure Evil” or “I Died For You”. Also the songs from “Dystopia” – by the way, in “V” Stu wears the matching anonymous mask – get a whole new vibe when performed outside the studio. After “Iced Earth” there was still time for one more, and they chose “The Hunter”, promising to come back soon, maybe when promoting the new album, due for early 2014.

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It seems that Biff Byford suffered an injury of sorts and Saxon had to cancel in the last minute. Gamma Ray stepped in and they’re the kind of band to pull through a kiss-ass show with a 24-hour notice – even if Kai Hansen felt he needed to trade some of the high pitches for low ones, but I’m guessing that has nothing to do with unexpected shows…
“Anywhere In The Galaxy”, “New Order”, the new “Master Of Confusion”, “Rebellion In Dreamland”, “To The Metal”… a parade of traditional heavy/power metal tunes. And, of course, the mandatory Helloween cover, that this time came in double: “Future World” and “I Want Out”.

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I don’t know if Chuck Billy was tired or sick, but his voice was a bit hoarse. Not his presence, though – Testament hit the stage with full force and kept it up like that for almost one hour and a half.
First they promoted their recent stuff – a few songs from “Dark Roots Of Earth”, “More Than Meets The Eye” from the previous one – and then it was old school non-stop: “Into The Pit”, “The Preacher”, “Alone In The Dark”, “Over The Wall”… They didn’t come back for an encore and a few more classics – like I said, Chuck wasn’t at his finest – but that didn’t change the fact that Testament was one of the best bands of this year’s Vagos Open Air.

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Ashes Of Ares unveil track by track of upcoming album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 16th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

The newly formed American trio Ashes Of Ares, which features former Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow and former Nevermore drummer Van Williams, plus Freddie Vidales, also formerly of Iced Earth, have released via YouTube the track by track for their upcoming album. You can hear snippets of each track down below, as well as listen to Matt explain how the album came about.

The self-titled album is due out 9th September via Nuclear Blast.

Ashes Of Ares online:

http://ASHESOFARES.com
http://facebook.com/ASHESOFARES
http://twitter.com/ASHESOFARES

 

Ashes Of Ares release lyric video for Dead Man’s Plight

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 9th July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Today, Ashes Of Ares, the newly founded metal trio composed of former Iced Earth and former Nevermore members, released the lyric video for Dead Man’s Plight which is taken from their upcoming debut self-titled album. The video can be viewed below.

Ashes Of Ares will be released via Nuclear Blast Records on September 6 as a limited CD in Digipak inc a bonus track as well as in two different 2LP versions. The tracklist reads as follows:

01. The Messenger
02. Move the Chains
03. On Warrior’s Wings
04. Punishment
05. This is my Hell
06. Dead Man’s Plight
07. Chalice of Man
08. The Answer
09. What I Am
10. The One-Eyed King

Bonus track
11. The Answer (acoustic version)

Ashes Of Ares online:

http://www.facebook.com/AshesOfAres
http://twitter.com/AshesOfAres
http://www.youtube.com/user/ashesofaresofficial

Iced Earth reveal details on new album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Iced Earth’s band leader Jon Schaffer has revealed the title and more details on the band’s new studio album:

The new Iced Earth studio album is expected to have an late 2013 release date. It will be titled Plagues of Babylon and we are very excited about how killer things are sounding this early in the writing/demo process.

The tracklisting is as follows:
1.) Plagues of Babylon
2.) Democide
3.) Among The Living Dead
4.) The Resistance
5.) If I Could See You
6.) Peacemaker
7.) Cthulhu
8.) Parasite

Schaffer also stated:

I expect this album will be something very special! Stay tuned to this page for breaking news about ICED EARTH’s mega-packed schedule and coming tour dates. You will hear it here first!
Thanks again for your continued support of the band! We love you guys!

Iced Earth summer festivals 2013:
20.06.2013 GER Sankt Goarshausen Metalfest
21.06.2013 NED Dokkum Dokkem Open Air
22.06.2013 GER Dischingen Rock am Härtsfeldsee
12.07.2013 GER Ballenstedt Rock Harz Open Air
13.07.2013 GER Balingen Bang Your Head Festival
25.07.2013 SLO Tolmin Metaldays
27.07.2013 GER Obersinn Eisenwahn Festival
08.08.2013 SWE Gävle Getaway Rock Festival
10.08.2013 POR Quinta do Ega, Vagos Vagos Open Air

Iced Earth European Tour 2014:
09.01.2014 GER Saarbrücken Garage
10.01.2014 NED Hengelo Metropol
11.01.2014 BEL Antwerp Trix
12.01.2014 GBR Birmingham O2 Academy
13.01.2014 IRE Dublin Button Factory
14.01.2014 GBR London O2 Academy Islington
15.01.2014 FRA Paris Le Trabendo
17.01.2014 ESP Madrid Sala Caracol
19.01.2014 ESP Valencia Rock City
20.01.2014 ESP Barcelona Razzmatazz 2
22.01.2014 SWI Pratteln Z7
23.01.2014 ITA  Romagnano Rock ‘n’ Roll Arena
24.01.2014 SLO Ljubljana Kino Siska
25.01.2014 CRO Zagreb Pogon Jedinstvo
26.01.2014 BIH Sarajevo Club Sloga
28.01.2014 ROM Bucarest Juke Box
29.01.2014 TUR Istanbul Kucukciftlik Park
31.01.2014 GRE Athens Gagarin 205
01.02.2014 GRE Thessaloniki  Principal Club
02.02.2014 BUL Sofia Mixtape 5
04.02.2014 SER Belgrade Dom Omladine
05.02.2014 HUN Budapest Club 202
07.02.2014 GER Nürnberg Rockfabrik
08.02.2014 TCH Zlin Masters Of Rock
09.02.2014 GER München Backstage Werk
11.02.2014 GER Berlin Astra
12.02.2014 GER Köln Essigfabrik
13.02.2014 GER Bochum Zeche
14.02.2014 GER Osnabrück Rosenhof
15.02.2014 GER Hamburg Markthalle
16.02.2014 DEN Copenhagen Vega
18.02.2014 SWE Gothenburg Sticky Fingers
19.02.2014 SWE Stockholm Debaser Medis
22.02.2014 ISR Tel Aviv Reading 3

Iced Earth online:
www.icedearth.com
www.facebook.com/officialIcedearth
www.myspace.com/icedearth

Iced Earth confirm world tour for 2014 and 2015

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Iced Earth have announced the first part of their 2014/2015 world tour, with the tour kicking off on January 9th 2014 in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Tickets and VIP packages for these shows will be on sale by the end of April, this year. The band has been hitting it relentlessly, with the recent studio album Dystopia being the most toured album in the band’s illustrious history. One of the many highlights of the World Dystopia Tour was a headline show at the historic Kourion Amphitheatre in Cyprus, which was recently released as BluRay, DVD and in many other formats, entitled Live In Ancient Kourion.

The band are also in the process of writing a new studio album with a slated release date for late 2013. They will be recording and mixing in between a string of European festivals this summer. Jon Schaffer stated:

We are ready!We are ready to enter the steel pirate ship that is our tour bus and spend another 18 months traveling the world. We look forward to reaching even more people and bringing Iced Earth to many new territories on this next massive world tour. We have a very exciting and ground breaking schedule planned and we will be bringing the metal to the masses big time! THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

For Iced Earth‘s tour details visit their official Facebook.

Iced Earth online:

http://www.icedearth.com/
http://www.myspace.com/icedearth
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialIcedEarth
http://www.youtube.com/officialicedearth

 

Iced Earth release live video for Anthem

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 16th April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Iced Earth’s first officially recorded DVD and Blu-Ray Live In Ancient Kourion is now available all across Europe. For this live release, the band recorded an epic 2.5 hour show in a 6,000 year old amphitheatre with an incredible and truly unique atmosphere.

In celebration of today’s release Iced Earth have uploaded the impressive live video for the song Anthem which offers fans yet another impression of this stunning live release. The video can be viewed below.

Live In Ancient Kourion is available in the following formats:

Limited Deluxe Book Edition incl. Blu Ray, DVD & 2CD
3LP Gatefold Vinyl
2CD
Digital Download

Click here to order the various physical formats over at CM Distro and click here to purchase the Digital Download. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the official DVD trailer at this location.

Iced Earth online:
www.icedearth.com
www.facebook.com/officialIcedearth
www.myspace.com/icedearth

Iced Earth headline Euro tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 16th July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Iced Earth have just announced the dates for their European leg of the Word Dystopia Tour in December. Joining them will be Evergrey, Steel Engraved and Deadshape Figure.

Dates as followed:

December

12 CZ-Praha — Meat Factory
13 A-Vienna — Szene Wien
14 CH-Pratteln — Z7
15 D-Munich — Backstage
16 D-Ludwigsburg — Rockfabrik
18 B-Antwerp — Trix
19 D-Bochum — Matrix
20 UK-London — Electric Ballroom
21 NL-Rotterdam — Maassilo

Sorrows Path – The Rough Path of Nihilism

Posted in Review with tags , on 7th June 2012 by izaforestspirit

Sorrows Path
The Rough Path of Nihilism
Released: October 2010
Epic Power Metal/ Heavy Metal
Released via: Rock it Up Records

‘The Rough Path of Nihilism’ is the debut album from the Greek power metal band Sorrows Path. The band was originally formed back in 1993 but they were inactive for a number of years due to various line-up changes and other issues.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this album and the melodic, semi-acoustic intro to the opening track ‘All Love Is Lost’ made it even more confusing. Same goes for the Iced Earth -style epic power metal that followed. Melancholic power metal may sound like an oxymoron but that’s the most accurate description that I can think of for this music.

There’s some theatrical elements such as the operatic chorus on ‘Fetish’ and the symphonic intro to the title track ‘Nihilism’. A large part of the album’s appeal can be attributed to the melodic guitars and the singer’s histrionic vocal style. It’s almost as though each song is a separate tale designed to be acted out in front of a large audience. Take ‘Prostitute’ for instance, the chorus has a certain mesmerizing, alluring quality to it. Other noteworthy tracks include: ‘Hymn of Differentiation’ which features some good guitar solos and the epic power metal ballad ‘Empty Eyes and Blackened Hearts’.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Burning Shadows – Gather, Darkness!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 15th May 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Burning Shadows
Album: Gather, Darkness!
Release date: June 2012
Genre: Heavy Metal / Power Metal
Label: Self-released

‘Gather, Darkness!’ is the second full-length release from the American power metal band Burning Darkness. It is the follow up to the 2010 EP ‘Oathbreaker’ and it is a concept album inspired by the science fiction novel of the same name by Fritz Leiber.

The symphonic, orchestral intro to the instrumental ‘Overture: Hymn to Sathanas’ reminds me of the opening credits to a movie. It’s only when the guitars kick in at the start of ‘A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age’ that you’re reminded of the fact that this is still a metal album. The singer sounds he’s reciting a story rather than singing; then again this is based on a book afterall so maybe this was the idea…

The guitar work is good and combined with the Iron Maiden / Iced Earth-style vocals it produces some pleasant sounding results, such as the catchy chorus and guitar solos in ‘A Thousand Lies: Onward’. Now I’m guessing, based on the names of the tracks, that several of them are connected to each other – for instance ‘To Ruin & Divide: The Witchmark’ sounds like the start of a four-part chapter which ends with the power metal ballad ‘To Ruin & Divide: Kingdoms Fall’. In this particular sequence ‘To Ruin & Divide: Man From Myth’ is the most memorable due to its skillfully executed guitar riffs and atmospheric moments.

Other noteworthy tracks include the slow, acoustic-sounding ‘Breaking the Sanctuary: Abandonment’ which proves that the band know how to maintain the right balance between fast, catchy power metal and epic power ballads and the catchy finale that is ‘Breaking the Sanctuary: The Infamous Dawn’.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Iced Earth – Dystopia [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 15th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Iced Earth
Album: Dystopia
Release year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal

Iced Earth are perhaps one of the most well known and well regarded American power metal acts, having toured both the US and Europe. Dystopia is the first album to feature new vocalist Stu Block [Into Eternity], following the departure of Matt Barlow.

The first track of the album is none other than the title track “Dystopia”, beginning with a mighty guitar riff combined with drums. The joining of a second guitar adds more power to the music of the song. The first wail of the song that is heard sounds likes a poor attempt at imitating Gaahl. The tempo increases, adding a thrash element to the music. The vocals aren’t what they’re expected to be – Stu is clearly trying to imitate his predecessors. Though he sounds similar to Barlow in some parts, his attempt to perform similar high pitch vocals to The Ripper do spoil the track for the listener. Already, the album is at an okay start.

“Anthem” has a mesmerising soft introduction that only gets better with the slow, thundering sound of the bass mixed with the tapping of cymbals. The soon turns heavy with a partially melodic twist. The bass stays powerful and thunderous throughout the song working well with the drums – Which is no surprise for an Iced Earth track. The guitar solo adds some new life to the album as well, helping the listener forget about the vocals for a short while. The gang vocals towards the end, with all due respect to the new vocalist, are much better. “Boiling Point” storms its way next like a furious thrash metal anthem. The riffs are violent and angry whilst carrying a certain touch of classic metal. The use of church bells at the beginning adds a very dramatic tension to the music. The use of constant double bass pedals gets tiring after a while as they can be heard from beginning to end. The vocals don’t really add anything special to the song either.

The acoustic beginning of “Anguish Of Youth” takes the listener by surprising and the vocals sound so much different and more distinct. Even when the song takes that heavy twist the vocals don’t change their sound – Its good to hear Block using his own vocal style. The contrasting acoustic and heavy sections are truly brilliant, as is the solo. Following straight after is “V”. The introduction is monstrous – in the good sense – and has a very traditional metal feel to it. The vocals are a let down as they are back to sounding like Barlow. The melodic sections and solo are typically Iced Earth sounding, which will no doubt be a bonus for the more hardcore fans of the band.

“Dark City” is another song to have a soft introduction. The high pitched vocals sound almost like The Ripper – To as whether this is a good thing or bad thing will be left for the fans to decide. The riffs pack a truly powerful punch. The guitar solo has a very old school sort of sound to it, like a Black Sabbath meets Judas Priest meets Saxon kinda sound. The melodic-like riff towards the end teases the listener’s ears with excitement – It’s a shame it comes to a sudden end. The start of “Equilibrium” seems a tad like a slowed down Judas Priest track til the tempo increases. For the most part, the song is as bland as a cucumber sandwich. The solo is the one of two exciting parts of the song – The second exciting part of the song being the vocals after the solo.

The beasty intro of “Days Of Rage” tears its way next as the album draws closer to the end. The vocals are rage-fuelled and raw while the guitars just scream with angst and energy. The one and only flaw to “Days Of Rage” is its short lived length. “End Of Innocence” is the second track on the album to start with an acoustic section. The vocals are lacking the Barlow-Ripper-esque sound though they do become more rough sounding when the heavier sections of the song kick in. The album finishes with “Tragedy and Triumph” which sounds similar to the title track at the beginning. The song feels heavier when the tempo gets turned up by a few notches. Everything during in this song seems to gel well together drums. This one would definitely be the perfect song for driving down the motorway at 70MPH.

For most of the album, the vocals are off-putting due to their similar sound to Barlow and The Ripper though towards the end of the album they work well with the music. Block’s use of his own vocal sound helps improve the album and most of the songs are well composed and have the typical Iced Earth sound. However, there probably will be some division between the fans over this album – Something that generally happens with a new vocalist.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson