Iced Earth is not one of the most well known Metal Bands of today. However, they have actually been pounding out true Heavy Metal classics since 1985. The Band was originally formed in 1985 by guitarist Jon Schaffer (No Relation…DAMN) and original drummer Greg Seymour. The Band’s original name was Purgatory. Since 1990, when Iced Earth released their self titled debut album, they have released a total of ten studio albums, four EP’s, three box sets, one live album, and a cover album. Ironically, their first album actually shared three different album covers: European/Japanese, American, and Remastered version. The first two albums followed a traditional thrash metal sound like Metallica, but then transitioned into a Power/Progressive Metal Sound with new singer Matt Barlow.
Iced Earth has saw many members come and go, including Barlow who quit the band to become a police officer. Jon Schaffer is the only remaining member from the original lineup. During Barlow’s hiatus, Judas Priest’s Tim “Ripper” Owens joined the band for two albums “The Glorious Burden” and “Framing Armegeddon.” Their most recent album “Dystopia”, has had many positive reviews and many Metal Experts say it’s Iced Earth’s best album to date. As mentioned, there have been over 20 different musicians to belong to this band and now Stu Block has taken over on lead vocals. His vocal style fits this band perfect. Common lyrical themes of Iced Earth has been religion, history, fantasy, literature, and movies. Several of the band’s albums were Concept Albums. The two part album Framing Armegeddon and the Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 1/Part 2) told the story of Jon Schaffer’s creation of the Setitians. In this story the Setitians are actually invaded by humans. Listen to both of these albums back to back with the lights out and you will have a better idea of what a Concept Album is.
Iced Earth recently released The Plagues of Babylon, which features part of his concept creation, while the other half of the album is a normal style album. Most music critics have given the new album positive reviews overall. In January, Plagues of Babylon reached #5 on the German Media Control Chart. This is actually the highest position Iced Earth has ever hit in the band’s entire career. In the United States, the album sold 6,500 copies the first week and debuted at 49 on the Billboard 200. The album begins with “The Plagues of Babylon” the albums cover name. Plagues of Babylon is a spin off of the Something Wicked concept that has been created by the band’s leader and captain Jon Schaffer. The album follows Iced Earth’s traditional Progressive/Power Style and has a few hooks here and there. I have just recently become a fan of Iced Earth; however in that short time I have grown to really enjoy this band. Their latest album, “Plagues of Babylon” is their best album to date and I give it an 8.5/10. I strongly recommend this album for any metal fans that like to get taken away by the music.
“Revolution Rise” is the sophomore album of the new band KILL DEVIL HILL. For those of you not familiar with this band, this band was formed in 2011 by Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell/DIO) and Rex Brown (Pantera/Down). The band consists of Lead Vocalist Dewey Bragg, Guitarist Mark Zavon, Bassist Rex Brown and Drummer Vinny Appice. Not coincidentally, the band is named after the town of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Apparently this was an area that had extreme pirate activity in history. They use a heavy/modern sound but they don’t shift to the mainstream sound and stay away from the typical contemporary hardcore sound. As far as this album, I give the new “Revolution Rise” a strong 8/10. Kill Devil Hill keeps it real and it does not hurt to have musical geniuses Rex Brown and Vinny Appice. KILL DEVIL HILL will be a Metal Powerhouse for years to come.
In other metal news, the band Halestorm released their second Cover EP. In their first cover EP, they covered Slave to the Grind by Skid Row. They have an awesome sound and with a female vocalist they do not lose any of the power metal sound. Among other new releases to look forward to, Limp Bizkit, Overkill, Exodus, Sebastian Bach, Lacuna Coil, Steel Panther, Chevelle, Sevendust, Anthrax, Puddle of Mudd, Corosion of Conformity, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Godsmack, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Testament, Whitesnake all plan on releasing new albums in 2014. Metallica has released their 3D Movie Through The Never. Motley Crue is planning their farewell tour. And I am sure there will be many other great metal stories to come. Until next time, ROCK ON MY DROOGIES!!!!!!! KEEP METAL ALIVE!