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Iced Earth - 'Plagues Of Babylon' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/f7/6b/94/PlaguesOfBabylon-20-1394987378.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     March 16, 2014    
 
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If 2011’s ‘Dystopia’ was a crate of lager, ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is a collection of fine ales.

You know what you’re getting from an Iced Earth album; straight-up Heavy Metal lacking in frills and packed to the rafters with power and more guitar riffs than you can handle in one go. It would be foolish to wonder if IE’s eleventh album ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ would be any different!

Head honcho Jon Schaffer is joined for the second time by lead vocalist Stu Block who again proves to be an excellent foil for Schaffer’s soaring Metal and is prone to his own flights of fancy. Schaffer’s focus again is unwavering throughout; his aim with every album is to provide the listener with a solid statement of intent, and he rarely misses. On ‘Democide’ in particular he hits the bullseye. It’s the perfect marriage of bulldozing riffs and powerful vocals.

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Boldly opening with the eight minute-pushing title track, ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is a heavy duty Metal record. So much so that at times it feels impenetrable but on repeated listens opens itself up for the discovery of new layers. One listen to ‘The End?’ feels like a workout, revisiting it brings impressive soundscapes and tricky time signatures.

Recorded last year during their European festival run, there is no evidence of a hectic overseas touring schedule or lethargy. Possibly what has kept up IE’s fizzing energy is the injection of new blood and allowing them the time to find their feet.

If 2011’s ‘Dystopia’ was a crate of lager, ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is a collection of fine ales. One offers a more immediate buzz but the end result is the same; you’re going to have a good time either way.

Dan Bond

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