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Iced Earth - 'Dystopia' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/aa/4d/2b/1672_icedearthdystopia_1320954187.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 10, 2011    
 
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A superb release.

For the uninitiated, Iced Earth is a heavy metal band coming out of Tampa, Florida. The bands origins can be traced way back to 1984 when figure head guitarist Jon Schaffer and his new band, (then called Purgatory), recorded and released their first demo ‘Psychotic Dreams’. Schaffer was forced to change the name due to it already being used and Iced Earth was born. The first album which was self titled came out in 1990. Since then they have released a further eight studio albums, the last being ‘The Crucible Of Man, in 2007. Iced Earth has had an ever changing line up since 1984, having had some 29 players throughout that span. Schaffer on rhythm guitar is the lone survivor over the years. The current line up is Stu Block (vocals), Jon Schaffer (guitar), Troy Steele (guitar), Freddie Vidales (bass) and Brent Smedley (drums). Iced Earths new release ‘Dystopia’ has lyrics inspired by dystopian themes in literature and films…and there is a special edition containing three extra tracks.

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Schaffer and the boys open the album with the title track; a slow military style build up precedes an almighty roar and a monumental thrash riff from the six string department. The track is a mixture of deep gruff and high pitched wail like vocals which really is an amazing combination. The chorus is a catchy deeply sung affair with another memorable riff. The album contains some other galloping thrash tracks such as ‘Boiling Point’ and ‘Days Of Rage’ which is definitely the heaviest track. However the likes of ‘Anthem’ and ‘Anguish Of Youth’ offer a more crunching slower riff and more harmonic choruses. The later is probably the highlight track of the album. Iced Earth also finds time for a powerful ballad called ‘End Of Innocence’.

This is a blisteringly good heavy metal album, but there is more than a slice of more progressive stylings in there too. It’s difficult to compare Iced Earth to one particular band as their sound, although not total unique, is somewhat unusual. Possibly the closest likeness that could be made would be with fellow metallers Symphony X. Stu Block puts on a tour de force singing performance with some of the more unusual vocals recently heard. One minute Block is gruff like Russell Allen, the next he soars to the heavens to reach a pitch Seb Bach would be proud of. Schaffer and Steele put together an excellent array of riffs and chord progressions that really drives the music on. The production has been wonderfully handled allowing all the riffs no matter how heavy or fast to shine along with giving plenty of room to the vocals. Fans of Iced Earth should lap this latest release up, as should many fans of various metal genres.

A superb release crammed full of wall cracking power chords, thunderous thrash riffs and top notch vocals.

Dave Scott

 

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