Iced Earth

After years of writing songs about fantasy and science fiction, guitarist Jon Schaffer decided to take on something a bit more serious - and real - with Iced Earth's latest album, "The Glorious Burden." The album features songs about great wars and war heroes throughout history, along with a 9/11 tribute. If that change from all things nerdy to all things historical wasn't enough, Matt Barlow left the band and was replaced by former Judas Priest singer Tim 'Ripper' Owen for the new album. Needless to say, Iced Earth fans were not happy.

Me? I couldn't be happier. I think the sound has kicked up a notch, as Owen's voice is much more crisp than Barlow. And I may be a nerd for sci-fi and fantasy stories, but I'm also a nerd for American war history.

So I made it to the House of Blues in Orlando last week to catch one hell of a show by Iced Earth and Children of Bodom. Evergrey kicked off, followed by Bodom, who rocked their asses off for a good 45 minutes. Sucked that COB had such a short set, but it was all leading up to Iced Earth ready to rock the place.

And rock the shit out of the place they did. Kicking things off with "Declaration Day," the opening track off their latest (and quite awesome) album "The Glorious Burden," they played an hour and a half long set that included such old and expected favorites as "Vengeance is Mine," "Pure Evil," "My Own Savior," and the entire "Something Wicked This Way Comes" trilogy. Very cool.

They also included quite a few other songs off the new album, with "When the Eagle Cries," "Greenface," and "Red Baron/Blue Max" making the cut along with the aforementioned opening track.

But most impressive was after their entire set, they came out for an encore and performed the ENTIRE Gettysburg trilogy off "The Glorious Burden." For those of you not familiar with Iced Earth, or if you just don't like them anymore because Matt Barlow was replaced, we're talking a 35 minute long composition. The guitarists came out wearing blue and grey general's jackets, one with a guitar with a confederate flag and the other sporting the union...

...further proving that Iced Earth is the ultimate geek rock band in disguise. And you know what? I eat shit like this up. I can't get enough of it. That's right, I like my heavy metal guitarists to play dress up according to the song they are playing. Britney Spears isn't the only one who does costume changes. Wearing general's jackets while playing an epic 35 minute song about Gettysburg is fucking cool, and you can't deny it.

Any Owen doubters should have seen this show and eaten all the crow they could handle. Tim hit every note perfectly and sounded absolutely fantastic. And the man can hold a note for a long-ass time too. After a watching him do a full two hours of singing his damn lungs out, I can't imagine how he does a show night after night. He must go backstage after the show and get major shots of cortisone in his fucking throat.

In fact, the whole band has to be commended for the performance they put on. Just a great show, and one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time.

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2003 - 2005
Reverend Hughes