The Glorious Burden
There are bands that get everything together from their first album and there are those that take a few to get into their stride. Then, of course, there are bands that never get it "right." Well, like Iron Maiden and Queensryche, Iced Earth have taken several albums to finally get it together. Dismissed by many as Iron Maiden clones, Iced Earth never seemed to have the right formula. (Although to be fair they showed a great deal of promise on their last album, Horror Show.) In another Maiden-like twist, it took a new singer to get things into place. The singer came in the form of former Judas Priest singer, "Ripper" Owens. Owens has the range and variety of voice that lends itself perfectly to Iced Earth's power metal. What has resulted is an excellent album that finally demonstates the band's full potential (their Number of the Beast if you like). From the opening strains of 'Declaration Day' to dieing end of the mini-epic 'Gettysburg', Schaffer and company are finally hiting on all cylinders. They even manage a rather good tribute to those who died on 9/11 called 'When the Eagle Cries.' Instead of some po-faced simper-fest, the band has produced something that is both fiting and rewarding to the listener. It is very good to see an American band able to play in the premier level of power metal. If you are into power metal this is an essential purchase.