ICED EARTH “PLAGUES OF BABYLON”

ICED EARTH “PLAGUES OF BABYLON”

Support: I’ve been following Iced Earth for the bulk of their 25-plus years in the metal industry.  They have overcome a slew of personnel changes over the years and have a reputation for churning out albums that sound very similar to each other over the years.  Jon Schaffer remains steadfast in his presentation of Iced Earth and garners respect for his position on and in the band.  While Iced Earth has never garnered the popularity they probably should, it’s not for lack of effort.  I had mentioned this in my review of Live in Ancient Kourion in 2013, but new vocalist Stu Block has breathed new life into Iced Earth and is, in my humble opinion, the best vocalist they’ve had to date.  He sings with authority and charisma and has really brought his talent to light on Plagues of Babylon. Plagues of Babylon starts in excellent form with the arena ready title track.  It’s a pummeling track that could easily fit onto the first five albums! “Democide,” track two, is another galloping epic track that could stand beside “Stormrider.” “The Culling” and “Among the Living Dead,” which features guest vocals from Hansi Kürsch, of “Blind Guardian,” are also kick-ass tunes. “The Culling” is a crescendo-building, melodic, sing-along-type song.  “If I Could See You,” the ballad on the album, does bear a striking similarity to “I Died for You.” “Cthulu” is a haunting, slow building song that is one of the best here. The album includes two covers.  “Spirit of the Times,” from Sons of Liberty, which is Schaffer’s side project.  I don’t quite understand the logic here, but it’s...

ICED EARTH “LIVE IN ANCIENT KOURION”

Support: I’m not a huge fan of live records.  Unless you are a super rabid fan, it just isn’t that appealing to listen to these when you can listen to the cleaner versions of the songs on the non-live releases.  I hold very few live albums in high regard; Iron Maiden‘s Live After Death, Iced Earth‘s Alive in Athens, and Kiss’s Alive I and II are among the few that I truly enjoy. With that said, I bring you Iced Earth‘s Live in Ancient Kourion.  I was a little apprehensive about this before I started listening.  Iced Earth have had their share of turbulence and line-up changes over the years, with Jon Schaffer remaining the only constant member. The good news: They still remain one of the most underrated bands in metal.  I was a bit concerned how new vocalist Stu Block, of Into Eternity fame, would sound on some of the old classics.  Well, here you have it … Live in Ancient Kourion will be placed on a pillar with the aforementioned live albums!  It is just intense! He easily fills the shoes of Matt Barlow and Tim “Ripper” Owens with ease.  He sounds natural and gives the old classics like “Dracula” his own edge.  The band sounds refreshed and young.  I am one of the critics that thinks Dystopia is one of Iced Earth‘s best releases yet, so I do really feel that Stu has brought energy and life back to Iced Earth. Live in Ancient Kourion takes more than half of the songs off of Dystopia to a new level. The newer songs sound very good...
ICED EARTH TOUR UPDATE

ICED EARTH TOUR UPDATE

Support: Iced Earth will be kicking off  their North American tour starting next week with Volbeat, Hellyeah, and The Sixxis for an extensive 5-week trek.  Jon Schaffer said of the upcoming tour: “I’m completely stoked, Volbeat is one of my all-time favorite bands, and Michael and the boys are great people. There is a lot of mutual respect and admiration, and I think we are in for a hell of a good time! This will be a package that won’t soon be forgotten, I’m sure of that.” To commemorate the tour, Iced Earth will be releasing a limited tour edition of Dystopia. Currently available only at the merchandise stands on the tour, the 2 disc Dystopia Tour Edition contains the original full-length album, as well as b-side covers of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” and Black Sabbath’s “Mob Rules,” as well as the classic 17-minute Iced Earth track “Dante’s Inferno” re-recorded with vocalist Stu Block. The bonus disc also contains both music videos from Dystopia – the title track and “Anthem” – as well as a ‘Making of Dystopia‘ studio interview with the band, and exclusive cell phone skins and desktop backgrounds. Iced Earth tour dates featuring Volbeat, Hellyeah, The Sixxis are as follows: 6/18–Kool Haus–Toronto, ON 6/19–The Fillmore–Detroit, MI 6/20–Chameleon Club–Lancaster, PA **headlining off date** 6/21–House Of Blues–Boston, MA 6/22–Paramount Theatre–Huntington, NY 6/23–Northern Lights–Clifton Park, NY 6/25–House Of Blues–Chicago, IL **off date with HELLYEAH** 6/26–MYTH–St. Paul, MN 6/27–Burton Cummings Theatre–Winnipeg, MB 6/29–Crescent Point Place–Weyburn, SA 7/2–Shrine Auditorium–Billings, MT 7/3–Knitting Factory–Spokane, WA 7/5–Knitting Factory–Spokane, WA 7/6–Knitting Factory–Boise, ID 7/7–Knitting Factory–Reno, NV 7/8–Warfield Theatre–San Francisco, CA 7/10–The Grove of Anaheim–Anaheim, CA 7/11–Marquee Theatre–Tempe, AZ 7/12–House Of Blues–Las...
JON SCHAFFER INTERVIEW – PART 2

JON SCHAFFER INTERVIEW – PART 2

Support: Last week I posted Part One of my interview with Jon Schaffer who talked about the upcoming Dystopia tour and recording the new album with Stu Block. In Part Two of my interview, Jon talks about touring across the globe and where the band is headed in the future.  Iced Earth is planning to embark on a huge world tour throughout Europe and the U.S.  which includes places you’ve never visited before.  What’s the feeling you have visiting these new areas? JS: It’s part of the strategy that I have! I think it’s necessary the West is imploding in order for the band to stay viable. We have got to plant seeds in new territory. It’s exciting because always going to a new country and life experience.  It’s good stuff but it’s also part of a business plan to make sure that this band can work when we go into the greatest depression in human history which I think is what we’re headed for in the US and in Europe and we’re in serious, serious trouble. People seem to be walking around with their heads up their ass not realizing it, it’s obviously changing because more and more people are waking up to the treason and crimes that are happening in government, with the banking system and Wall Street and everything and it’s happening on a global scale but there are too many people that are just TV addicted morons that are believing everything the magic picture box tells them and that’s a problem. I’m just trying to look at markets around the world that are emerging economies while we implode, there’ are other nations that...
JON SCHAFFER INTERVIEW – PART 1

JON SCHAFFER INTERVIEW – PART 1

Support: In honor of Jon Schaffer’s birthday, below is an interview  that I conducted few months ago with Jon, as he was getting ready to go to Germany to rehearse for the World Dystopia tour which would bring them through Europe, North America and visiting places they had never played before on the path to Iced Earth World Domination. We spoke about the new album and the recording process with new singer Stu Block! Here’s Part 1 of Jon’s interview. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to HearEvil.com about all the exciting things going on with Iced Earth. First, let’s talk about the new album Dystopia. While it’s not a concept album can you tell me about the themes behind it? JS: Well it’s loosely based on, not actually very loosely on, some of the songs are directly based on movies. There’s a couple of  songs that are from my own Something Wicked story cause it certainly fits that theme, but the idea is that of dystopian future, which I think we’re headed for actually in reality so it seems to be a (pause)  it works in a way that I think on a more subconscious level. I hope it will make people think and kind of get their wheels turning a little bit. There is some real live stuff on there including Stu (Block) writing End of Innocence about his mom’s suffering from cancer. There are different songs on the album, it’s not all about that, but the majority of it is. That was just the idea that we came up with to kinda tie in artwork and also be able...
HAPPY METAL BIRTHDAYS – MARCH 15

HAPPY METAL BIRTHDAYS – MARCH 15

Support: Today in metal news we wish a Happy Metal Birthday to three musicians who need no further introduction:  BRET MICHAELS The 49 year old solo artist and lead singer of Poison who is currently on his own solo tour, announced that Poison would be joining Def Leppard for a must-see summer tour. Michaels writes on his official website that the tour will be a “live, interacitve, music extravaganza.” Bret is also getting ready to release his new solo album, Get Your Rock On, this summer. Def Leppard guitarist, Phil Collen plays guitar and sings backup vocals on the song “Get Your Ride On.” For more on Bret, check out his official website DEE SNIDER Dee who turns 57 today and has survived the first few episodes of The Celebrity Apprentice is getting ready to release a memoir titled “Shut Up and Give Me The Mike: A Twisted Memoir.” Pre-order your copy here. You can also find out about all of Dee’s current and upcoming projects here JON SCHAFFER Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer celebrates his 44th birthday today. Currently Iced Earth is on their World Dystopia 2012 tour in which they’ll be visiting countries across the globe. Stay tuned for Part 1 of my interview later today with Jon Schaffer as he was getting ready for the tour and Iced Earth World Domination. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS!!   Support: Have you seen these yet? HAPPY METAL BIRTHDAYS – FROM THE VAULT HORNS UP – HEAVY METAL BIRTHDAYS – JUNE 3rd – FROM THE VAULT ICED EARTH “PLAGUES OF BABYLON” ICED EARTH “LIVE IN ANCIENT KOURION” ICED EARTH TOUR...
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