7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Iced earth's return.,
This review is from: Dystopia (Audio CD)Not quite a triumphant one but certainly pretty good; after rightly leveling the books with the Something wicked series the band now return to traditional album making. In addition then to the unfortunate and second exit of the legend we all know that is Matt Barlow and what with the new and fresh opportunity for the band to revitalize, Dystopia cruises in- to pick up where Horror show or The glorious burden left off. As of late I have been a little concerned about Iced earth as their material has simply been underwhelming from them for a few albums now. I was deeply unimpressed with the Something wicked series and partly felt that the responsibility of that lied with the volatile band line up. On this occasion I tentatively approached Dystopia in such a vein as to not disappoint myself in a way that I had done with previous albums with the high expectations I have always had and maintained with the band.
As far as I'm concerned it's all good stuff here and certainly not least this is down to the new singer "Stu" which I already like very much (down to the ground -so to speak.) He fits in nicely and suits the band and these songs very well indeed; Dystopia first kicks off with "The title track and Anthem" which sit together complimentary side by side which open the floodgates for the album. Anthem is a cracker with inspired melodies and guitar licks, followed elsewhere with "Days of rage and Boiling point" which drive home more new typical Iced earth metal. "Dark city" is a nice one too and is quite possibly my most favorite off the album. Whilst "End of innocence" is another worthy ballad construction, complimentary to the bands catalogue and a very tasteful creation at that. No duds this time round just good Iced Earth metal as we would want from the band.
Although I could never identify Dystopia as a hallmark release or an outright metal killer it is certainly the best thing I could have hoped for. For the time being now at least it would be nice to see if the band line up could settle down once more to allow Stu to develop and mature within the group without any more revolving door singers. I thought overall Dystopia kicked some and is the best thing they have done since the Glorious Burden in 2004. This might not be Iced Earth in Nightrider, Burnt offerings or Something wicked;- but this is definitely a positive step in the right direction, and this is a good solid album that has resulted from that...... 4 very worthy stars from me.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2011 09:33:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2012 04:35:08 GMT
Great review and many thanks. From my perspective, I am not too sure about this album as it basically washed over me after a few listens. Stu Block is never going to be another Matthew Barlow, but he is not a bad singer by a longshot - time will tell with future Iced Earth releases. For me, I have loved every thing this band has done up until 2004's, The Glorious Burden when Tim Owens came on board. This is when the wheels started coming off and the songwriting began to suffer, and has never fully recovered. I do recommend you check out Jon Schaffer's solo band called Son's of Liberty (Brushfires of the mind) if you haven't already done so - great band with a great selection of songs.
Update as of the 29 January 2012
After having this album for a few months now and fully immersing myself in it, I am finally convinced that Stu Block was the right guy for the job. It's rather uncanny how much he sounds like Matthew Barlow in places! Initally I was ambivalent as to what to think of Block's vocals, but I now really admire his voice and what he can do with it. As for the rest of the album, it has certainly grown on me and I think it is a very strong album with some damn fine tunes on it. I did enjoy Block's old band, Into Eternity and the album 'The Incurable Tragedy', which certainly showcased his vocal prowess, swapping between clean and gruff vocal lines.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2011 08:04:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Dec 2011 11:42:19 GMT
Ah.... Transcendence long time no see. Many thanks on your feedback on several of my recently written reviews; When it comes to Iced Earth I think this new singer will ultimately turn out to be the cement block as it were to hold it all together in the long term. Matt Barlow's part-time job role within Iced Earth didn't work last time in "Crucible" and I'm fairly sure that a new refreshing singer will ultimately prove to be the right decision. It's always great to find and discover your recommendations as they are always of such high quality as little "hidden" gems as it were -to which would otherwise just pass me by:- Your welcome. :)-
Posted on 10 Dec 2011 14:43:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Dec 2011 14:44:55 GMT
It's a pleasure - I enjoy reading intelligent/well-balanced reviews and yours certainly fit right into this catagory. Whilst talking all things Iced Earth - prior to Barlow joining Iced Earth for his last tenure with the band, he sang on a album by Danish/American band Pyramaze. The album was called 'Immortal' and was a fairly decent affair with several catchy songs. Have you had the opportunity to listen to a rather hard hitting American power metal band called Cage? If you dig Iced Earth then you might well enjoy this San Diego five piece.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2011 20:04:19 GMT
I have certainly heard of Pyramaze, but Cage is definitely new to my musical encyclopedia. The good thing about music and especially in the rock and metal genres is the expansive and almost exhaustive musical tree branches which can lead a music lover in all sorts of directions. The One off's, the side projects, solo careers, your collaborations and similar sounding obscure acts are always there existing in places unbeknown. I will never tire of new music and the excitement of finding those exceptional new bands brings, which is why recommendations are such a great way to become aware, as the finding and searching is always the hard part as we know. As for Cage I will have to go and take a good look. Thanks for your time and effort recently in all of my reviews. Welcome back anytime -:)
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