ICED EARTH The Glorious Burden |
(SPV 08574972) (2004)
This album marks the debut of former Judas Priest vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’
Owens. I am a lifelong Judas Priest fan and never took to ‘Ripper’ Owens
sub-Halford wail (bar the excellent ‘Cathedral Spires’) and approached this
with some trepidation. But this proved groundless as ‘Ripper’ Owens comes
into his own and free of expectations he carves his own vocal niche.
Guitarist Jon Schaffer was keen to recruit Owens and it has paid off.
The album’s lyrics are based in history, usually the bloody kind like
‘Attila’ (as in Attila the Hun) and ‘Waterloo’ (not thankfully a cover of
the Abba track!). Plenty of guitar as you’d expect with Ralph Santolla also
helping out. Plenty to enjoy including ‘Declaration Day’ with gang vocals
and crisp guitar riffing. ‘When The Eagle Cries’ is a brooding number and a
9/11 tribute, which the band manage to carry off with conviction. Only ‘The
Reckoning’ sees Owens back in Priest mode vocally and it’s the weakest track
on here for me personally. ‘Hollow Man’ slows it right down and enters
Maiden territory in the acoustic bridge/gang chorus construction. Definitely
an album highlight.
Centrepiece is the epic ‘Gettysburg (1863)’ with full orchestration and
the track broken down into three sections, each covering a key moment in the
battle. A definite highlight here is the drums - big and bold, right up in
the mix. The orchestration adds to the overall sound and heaviness, with
some stunning guitar work.
Could be well the album to take the band up another level. Essential for
all metal fans!
Review by Jason Ritchie
***** Out of this world | **** Pretty
damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly