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Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden
If there is a band in my metal history that receives all the credit that it deserves, it would be Iced Earth. These American power/heavy metallers have surprised me with every album, which always was a different style than the earlier albums. Iced Earth have worked hard in their career and after 6 releases and a cover album they have decided they wanted to create a new album. The recordings were made, but something felt not right in the Iced Earth camp. Matthew Barlow, the vocalist for Iced Earth didn’t give all his intensity and left the band, not a long time ago. Luckily there was another big band in the circuit who wanted their old vocalist back. Judas Priests Rob Halford returned to Priest and that meant that there was no more room for Tim “ripper” Owens. Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth contacted him and Tim Owens sang all the vocal parts of the album. He did this with such deadly precision that Tim is now the official vocalist for Iced Earth. The Glorious Burden is the title, and handles about the brutal history of the American land. The intro is the American national anthem the Star Spangled Banner, which is followed by the real heavy metal song Declaration Day. The music is intense and qualitative, but it was a small shock when I heard Tim Owens sing. I always was a fan of the intrinsic voice of Matthew, but this certainly doesn’t sound bad after all. I expected the worse, but in Tim’s voice is good and definitely in the song When The Eagle Cries, which was also featured on the promo The Reckoning, which was a prelude for the new album. Next song The Reckoning is also featured on this MCD and is a more powerful heavy metal song with high level headbang riffs which finds similar lines with thrash and power metal. Take the high pitched screaming vocals like Judas Priest and you’ll have a standard good sounding metal song. The next song (Greenface) is somewhat less intense, because the main riff is not a standard blasting power riff, except for some pieces of the song. However the vocals are absolutely top in this song. The next song is one of the better songs in my opinion, Attila is a quite long song with an epic intro, standard main riff and very well supported by the vocals. The typical Iced Earth sound is very clear in this song, but never change a winning team they say. My absolute favourite is Red Baron – Blue Max, this song has a powerful intro, and the vocals are truly astonishing here, with screams and leaps which last for almost 10 or 15 seconds. This man truly has a powerful voice. The rest of the album is quite standard, 2 ballads ( Hollow Man and Valley Forge) and an ending song called Waterloo, perfectly as the last album track, as Waterloo was also the end for Napoleon. However Waterloo was Napoleons death, here it’s just another high class performance of one of my all time favourite bands. The real final track on the album is an unplugged version of When The Eagle Cries, and the 2nd disc contains 4 very long epic songs, like Gettysburg, which is a true pearl. With The Glorious Burden, Iced Earth have created a masterpiece, which is a must for all heavy metal fans and for people who can appreciate some great guitar work and a voice that is so powerful that it tears the walls down. I will give this a high mark, as this is definitely one of the best albums they have brought out so far, except for A Dark Saga, which I liked a little more because I just prefer the voice of Matthew over Tim. But Matthew is the past and is living as a family man now, and Tim is the future, a future with hopefully more releases from this absolute top band. Track List: Cd I 1: Star Spangled Banner 2: Declaration Day 3: When The Eagle Cries 4: The Reckoning 5: Greenface 6: Attila 7: Red Baron – Blue Max 8: Hollow Man 9: Valley Forge 10: Waterloo 11: When The Eagle Cries (Unplugged) Cd II 1: Gettysburg 2: The Devil To Pay 3: Hold At All Costs 4: High Water Mark Line Up: Vocals – Tim Owens Guitar – Jon Schaffer Guitar – Ralph Santolla Bass – James MacDonough Drums – Richard Christy