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.