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Glorious Burden

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Vinyl LP reissue of the 1987 album from the former vocalist for Mercyful Fate featuring three bonus tracks.

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  • Iced earth’s newest album “The Glorious Burden”, in my opinion is the best album of 2004. It ranks just above Megadeth’s “The System has Failed”.

    This is a new thing for Iced Earth. Most of their previous works were based on fantasy type thinsgs, horror movies, etc. Any Iced Earth fan would no what I am talking about. So, they come out with a new album, all based on war.

    Here’s my opinion on the songs:

    Amazing Songs: This section is made up of “Gettysburg(1863)”, “Atilla”, and “Waterloo”. I’ll talk about the two from the Disc 1 first. “Atilla” is an awesome song, with some very good and interesting guitar work. The vocals shine the most on this, I think. The chorus is just so great, it will blow your mind. “Waterloo”, is just as great as “Atilla”. They are a bit similar, because they both have good guitars, good verses, and extremely great choruses. Great songs. And then the whole Second Disc is made up of “Gettysburg.” The 32-minute Epic Trilogy based on Gettysburg(obviously). It’s split up into 3 different tracks. “The Devil to Pay”, “Hold at all Costs”, and “High Water Mark”, in that order too. I just consider them as one big epic song, as I believe most people do and should do. It is an amazing trip through one of the greatest battles in the histroy of The United States of America. “The Devil to Pay” is a very good way to start it off. I love the intro, especially when Tim “Ripper” Owens goes “They’ll be the Devil to Pay”. On that line, you can tell right then and there that you are in for something fantastic. Next is “Hold at all Costs”, which has the best chorus of any Iced earth, EVER. This part of “Gettysburg” is probably my favorite 7 minutes of the whole Trilogy, and it is so gtreat, that it should go down in metal history as one of the greatest 7 minutes in music history. Yes, it is truly that good. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better n”High Water Mark”, the thrid day of the battle and the last part of the Trilogy blares upon your ears. The drumming intro builds great anticipation for the finale of the epic. The role playing part after the drum intro is done, is one of my favorite parts of “Gettysburg”. It has Tim Owens speaking the part of General Lee, and Jon Schaffer role playing the part of Longstreet, telling General Lee that he believes that his plan won’t work. Then ending of “High Water Mark” is great too, as it shows so much emotion that it will almost make you cry. It almost made me cry, and I never cry. It’s just flatout amazing.

    Very Good Songs: The very good songs of the album consist of “Red Baron/Blue Max”, “Declaration Day”, and “The Reckoning(Don’t Tread on Me)”. The reckoning is a great song, Owens hits some great high pitched notes in it. “Declaration Day” has another one of those great melodic Iced Earth choruses that will blow you away. And “Red Baron/Blue Max” is a great thrasy heavy song about the famous Fighter Pilot Red Baron.

    Good Songs: The good songs on the album consist of “Greenface”, “Valley Forge”, “When the Eagle Cries”, and “The Star Spangled Banner”. “The Star Spangled Banner” speaks for itself, as it is a metalish version of Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner. “When the Eagle Cries”, is a slower song about the semi-recent 9/11 attacks. I listen to it a lot, as it is a truly emotional song, and that day has a special place in my heart, and for more then just 1 reason. “Greenface” is a nice heavy song, even though the riff in it sounds oddly similar to a riff in “The Reckoning”. “Valley Forge” has probably some of the best lyrics on the whole album, and the song is good too.

    The one song I didn’t name is “Hollow Man”, as I believe it isn’t up to par with the rest of the album. Even though, it isn’t that bad.

    Also, kudos to Jon Schaffer for writing and making this masterpiece. Especially “Gettysburg.”

    Posted on December 4, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It’s good to see IE getting some airplay on MTV, finally. Well, if you’re a longtime fan of these guys, getting used to The Ripper might take you a while. And if you’re not a longtime fan, if you pick up their older albums after listening to this one, you’ll probably scratch your head in wonder. Me, I’m a longtime fan of both IE and Judas Priest, so I was disappointed about Matt’s departure yet pleasantly surprised that Tim is in. And man is he in. After I got to the blistering guitar work of Greenface, I was used to hearing Tim. This album is a concept album, like most of IE’s releases, this one dealing with war. It’s more of the same and that is a good thing, you have your ballads, your headbangers, your all out thrashers and your long epic. If you’re a fan of Iced Earth, take a chance and pick this up. You may not regret it and you may end up loving it. I do.

    Posted on December 4, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is by far one of the best albulms Iced Earth has put out. At first the new vocals by Tim Owen are a little disturbing, but the music seems to fit him. The instrumentation sounds crisper and cleaner than some of their previous albums, and Owens has a crisper and cleaner voice than Barlow. However halfway through the first song you dont even think about it. DISC 1 is a standard type abulm with 11 songs. All of them are great, some are fast and heavy, other are more ballad like. DISC 2 is a composition in 3 parts about The Battle of Gettysburg. Truth to tell I enjoyed this more than the main album. With long songs, in excess of 12 minutes for the first and final pieces, this is a masterpiece. Heck even my 52 year old father liked this.I highly recomend getting this albulm. Be sure to get the LIMITED EDITION version for the Gettysburg disc.

    Posted on December 4, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • At first listen TIm Owens just doesn’t fit ICED EARTH. It is just a fact. But then, Matt offered a powerful presence. Tim does however bring a new element to ICED EARTH that was never offered. That is a good thing. it takes a couple of listens to embrace ICED EARTH’s new vocal key. But as far as I’m concerned ICED EARTH is one of the only real good Metal bands coming out of the USA.

    Much credit must first be given for the fact that this American History lesson put to music is out there and in such great form. Clearly, writer Jon Schaffer loves its country without reservation, refreshing at a time in the USA where patriotism is attacked as imperialism so often. This album offers a great solace in its looking back into the stories of American History. The war situation in the USA is here again, like it or not and this album couldn’t come at a better time. The CD should play to the troops in Iraq and Afganistan daily to motivate them. The combination of strong powerful metal songs with its clear love for America and all it represents is of the highest order and is shockingly in the minority in the metal scene. MANOWAR has hinted at it at times, but not so brilliantly as this. There is a reminder here in that the United States has always had to go to war and fight for its democracy and freedom. That holds true today. We need to be reminded of how men died to defend the way of life here. And putting this theme to such powerful metal makes for a great marriage.

    This CD spans 200 years of war and turmoil in the USA. All the while, bringing a pure metal sound without any of the “Nu” metal elements that pervades metal in the USA. Every song seems to have a powerful arc of emotion. The guitar bleeds RED, WHITE and BLUE. The lyrics are powerful, especially in the 32-minute gettysburgh section, which essentially is one huge song that transports you into that era entirely.

    For those of you America haters or those not affected by the events of 9-11 … this album will probably not move you. For those of you who are not afraid to at least hear the story of America, backed by a soundtrack of hard, guitar-driven metal, you just can’t go wrong here. For those of you who can just appreciate a good metal album and not take it into the political realm, you will also enjoy this one.

    Posted on December 4, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • My wife and I were fortunate enough to have spent a weekend with Jon during the creation of what was to be The Glorious Burden. At the time (January 2003), there were no vocals, and not all of the songs were written. In fact, Jon recorded all the tracks himself. Even adding synth percussion on some of them.As we sat in The Dungeon, Jon played the selection of songs he had composed to date — for The Glorious Burden as well as a snippet or two from the forthcoming Demons and Wizards collaboration with Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian. Yet, for all the simplicity of the arrangements, we were spellbound the entire weekend. Especially when we visited the Civil War Museum and saw first-hand the riveting — and often emotional — source material from which Jon drew. Plus, we couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed as we watched the DVD of Gettysburg (in high-watt surround sound no less!) with Jon and Wendi until about 3:00 in the morning one night. It was a magical, emotional, unforgettable weekend.Yet it got even better. Over the ensuing month or so, Jon would excitedly call me up from time to time to play the latest licks he had just written.Even though the songs were still in an embryonic form, and I was hearing them through a phone line, they were still exciting. Even more exciting, however, was hearing Jon’s passion. Man, this guy was on fire for the project! He was driven. Consumed.Which would come in handy when long-time (and some would say quintessential) vocalist Matt Barlow parted ways with Jon mid-way through the project. (I don’t fault Matt, though. He left for honorable reasons.) Admittedly, I didn’t care much for The Reckoning, the 4-track EP that preceeded The Glorious Burden. The songs just didn’t reveal the totality of Jon’s passion. And I couldn’t get past the vocals of Tim “Ripper” Owens, which seemed to walk the fine line between superb and metal parody.The Glorius Burden, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. Gettysburg, alone, is worth the price. There are parts of that trilogy of songs that give me the chills.I have a vast CD collection, some 2,000 strong by now. But I must admit that Gettysburg ranks right up there with some of my all-time favorite prog rock epics. The arrangements are nothing short of electrifying — especially the intro to “The Devil to Pay” and the driving beat at the beginning of “High Water Mark.” The use of orchestration as a counterpoint to the riffs and Civil War themes is wonderful.The music is better than anything Iced Earth has ever done. You can definitely tell it’s Iced Earth (the guitar tone and a few of the chord progressions give it away), but a new-found maturity of writing and arranging is clearly evident. This is stunning stuff, folks! Even the cover art for The Glorious Burden — a weak link on The Reckoning — is stellar. The attention to detail on the cover only foreshadows Jon’s attention to historic detail inside.I still can’t give thumbs up to Ripper’s vocals, however, especially when he talk/sings/groans through some of the quieter (and, presumably, more poignant) parts. It sounds like a contestant on American Idol trying to be Bruce Dickinson.This is a small thing, however, when compared to the big picture that is The Glorious Bruden.Another favorite: The strains of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” combined with a driving riff, the sound of cannons going off and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (which begins around 5:35 into track one of Gettysburg) is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It’s a magical. That’s all I can say about it. It’s magical.Disc 1 of this 2-CD set contains some rousing and interesting music (despite Ripper’s vocals) but — to me — it’s Disc 2 — the Gettysburg trilogy — that makes The Glorious Burden the masterpiece that it is. Jon could retire now and do so with the pride of knowing he made a sizable contribution to the annals of music.I can’t wait to see Iced Earth when Jon makes a stop in Grand Rapids on June 7th!

    Posted on December 4, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now