With the added pipes of Ripper Owens, gently edged out of Judas Priest for the return of Rob Halford, Iced Earth have continued apace despite the departure of their lead vocalist. From the 4 tracks on this EP single sampler (two are edits as well!!!) it seems that Ripper fits in fine with Iced Earth’s brand of power metal. His vocals are as strong as ever, and being freed from Halford comparisons, he seems to have a better range. He particularily shows this on the unplugged ‘When the Eagle Cries’ This sample shows that the band is not straying from their well-worn sub-Maiden path. As with Maiden, Iced Earth are drifting into prog territory with a 32 minute track called ‘Gettysburg (1863)’; whether their fans have that much patience is another story. The general theme of the latest release is war and more specifically war in the foundation and continuation of the US. I shall report back again once I hear the whole thing, but the quality of this CD sampler bodes well for the next release (street date 12 January) from the mighty Iced Earth.