Iced Earth / Dystopia

DystopiaDystopia is the tenth studio album from American heavy metal band Iced Earth. Released on October 17th, 2011, it’s the bands first album with new vocalist Stu Block, after former vocalist Matt Barlow left the band for a second time on August 6th, 2011.[2] While not a concept album, many of the albums songs are inspired by dystopian themes and movies, such as V for Vendetta, Dark City, Soylent Green, and Equilibrium.[3] Two of the albums songs (“Dystopia” and “Tragedy and Triumph”) also feature the return of the “Something Wicked” -storyline from previous albums Something Wicked This Way Comes, Overture of the Wicked, Framing Armageddon and The Crucible of Man.

The Analysis:

Dystopia—-True to form and progressive from the very first notes of the song, this is classic Iced Earth. The tempo of the music leaves you on the edge of your seat as you await the entrance of the vocal over the overblown guitar work. Once the vocal enters the track you are left with a huge warm feeling…like coming home after being gone for a very long time…this is an excellent beginning to what is sure to be an epic journey!!!!

Anthem—-Does this guy remind you of classic Hetfield at times or what??? The screams are exquisite…but the clean vocal is just classic heavy metal!!! The onset of this is incredible…there is a slight doom filled aura to the track…while still remaining magically progressive….leaving you thirsty. When the song finally opens up, it is huge…beyond belief. I still think of classic Metallica every time I listen to this release….this is dark…but magically bright…progressive Metal is alive and well!!!

Boiling Point—-Right out of the gate, the progressive speed is overwhelming. You could not ask for more effort from this classic and long-standing band…when the vocal reaches the fever pitch you know that Iced Earth is right back where it belongs…this is incredible…..Ripper who? This is both brutal and beautiful…a classic masterpiece that already has becoming one of my favorites!!!

V—-Beginning a bit calmer, there is no lack of intensity to be found however. The darkness that the band manages to transpose is a new thing for me…I love this new direction…the production on this release is so fantastic…you can hear every single note of every single instrument that is playing. The vocal overdubs or the backdrop vocals add so much to the song…it becomes a huge marching anthem that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone. This is magnificent…a huge release…hoping this elevates the band to a new level here in the US!!!

Anguish Of Youth—-With a nice acoustic introduction, the song is ushered in by a really nice vocal delivery. This is fantastic….the waves that are produced by the instrumentation makes me smile even though the song is pretty dark. The track does open up and is a huge song by the time it all comes to an end…again making me think of where metallica should be right now…this is moody and full of emotional sweeps….just what the Dr. ordered!

Dark City—-Right from the onset, this has a really nice tone to the song….the leads are incredible. The vocal changes shape and delivers a shock to the system…the range is incredible…alternating between a deep mellow delivery to a pitched scream that would make and Metal singer green with envy. This is incredible…another really favorite track of mine from this release…this is a no brainer….CLASSIC!!!! Freakin’ huge riffs……:)

Equilibrium—-Delivered from the onset with a classic driving riff, I can only imagine how a song like this will play live and set a stadium on fire. the vocal is still classic Hetfield/Mustaine…..delivering up the concrete evidence that Metal is alive and well in 2011. This is just fantastic….I guess I’m slow…I have been hit and miss with this band, but maybe it is time for me to pay closer attention…..I freakin’ love this CD!!!

Days Of Rage—-Full of speed and energy, this makes me think of classic stuff from the mid 80’s. Less orchestrated than the past and full of straight up Metal, I can not call this release progressive…this is Metal at its finest and is not to be denied. In fact, this track has a bit of a thrash/anger edge to it that just made me smile…this is incredible!

End Of Innocence—-Fail….really not a favorite of mine, although the track does open up a bit…this is way to predictable to find favor with me.

Tragedy And Triumph—-Clocking in at an impressive almost 7 minutes, you would expect nothing less than a huge epic intro to end this phenomenal release. This is brilliant…delivered with an incredible marching drum beat and a guitar delivery that just builds layer upon layer…leaving you as the intro to the CD began……drooling for the vocal that closes the deal. the song has some really great mood changes….taking you on a pretty wide-ranging journey…the end result is a CD that just lays the groundwork for the future with this new vocalist and direction…can’t wait for more…..hurry guys!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5


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