Crime Records

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon review

Band: Iced Earth
Album title: Plagues Of Babylon
Label: Century Media
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 6th Jan 2014

Plagues Of Babylon is the new album from veteran metallers, Iced Earth and it is the second to feature current vocalist, Stuart "Stu" Block following the departure (yet again) of previous singer Matt Barlow, and it has to be said that the man is an absolute revelation. His confidence has grown in leaps and bounds since his first appearance with the band and this confidence, along with his awe-inspiring set of pipes, banishes all but the most stubborn thoughts of his predecessor. This time around, however, there have been yet more line-up changes and this album sees the band breaking in a new rhythm section, which only seems to have ramped up the energy level of the already revitalised metal giants even more.  Mainstay – and chief song writer -  Jon Schaffer is on fine form and has clearly been creatively inspired by this injection of new blood (and youth) into the veins of his baby.

This is all fine and dandy, but I’m sure the question on your mind is “but is it any good?”  Well, I am very pleased to say that “Plagues…” finds the band continuing the blistering return to form that began 3 years ago with the release of “Dystopia”. This is the sound of a reinvigorated Iced Earth, scaling the heights that many thought they were incapable of reaching again, and I’d even go as far as to say that this is a career-defining record for the band. They really have never sounded better. The riffs are razor-sharp and delivered with precision and the vocals ebb and flow along with the perfectly-paced, beautifully crafted songs. If you are familiar with Iced Earth, you will know what to expect, but if you're not, musically this is classic Trad Heavy Metal, influenced by the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Queenrsyche and their ilk, but with a harder, modern edge.

“Plagues…” has everything you could want from Iced Earth or from any modern metal album. All in all, this is a classy, solid and intelligent metal concept album in the vein of such classics as Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son…”, Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” and Nevermore’s “Dreaming Neon Black” and I don’t think there is any higher praise than that.

Overall: 9.5/10


Plagues Of Babylon
The Culling
Among The Living Dead
The End?
If I Could See You
Spirit of The Times

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