Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer will reunite with the band’s former singer, Matt Barlow, under the name Schaffer/Barlow Project to record Christmas classics on a new record called Winter Nights. The project has a Kickstarter that you can contribute to and has surpassed the $15k goal in a brief run with $19k funded so far in less than a day. Watch the trailer and see the tracklisting now. Barlow played his last official show with Iced Earth in 2011 Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. He joined Demons & Wizards on stage in New York City for a cover of Iced Earth’s “I Died for You”, which is on this Winter Nights album. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since power metal supergroup Demons and Wizards released their last album. A collaborative effort between Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian and Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth, the two frontmen finally found the time amid their busy schedules to work together once again, returning to the project so widely anticipated by their legion of devoted fans. Continue reading
Ghost Cult’s Keefy caught up with Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) to talk all about about his supergroup Demons and Wizards, with his long time friend and collaborator Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian)! Their new album III releases on February 21st, 2020 via Century Media Records. Jon talked candidly about the project, the genesis of how he and Hansi first joined forces 30 years ago as friends, his process for composing,the differences between this project and their main bands, why time off and family time are so important to him, Jon’s busy plans for 2020, including creating new Iced Earth music, and more.
Since forming Iced Earth (formerly known as Purgatory) over thirty years ago, it’s fair to say that mainman Jon Schaffer has presided over his fair share of changes in personnel. The sole remaining member of the original line-up, since 1985, the singer/rhythm guitarist is now onto his seventh lead guitarist, tenth drummer (Brent Smedley now in his fourth separate term), eighth bass player, and fifth lead vocalist. Continue reading
Iced Earth is currently out on the MTV Headbangers Ball Tour in Europe with Kataklysm, Ensiferum and Unearth, and they’ve brought some new material with them. Continue reading
Sixteen years and five albums have passed since Iced Earth blew me away with Something Wicked This Way Comes, a tour de force that still serves as their defining moment. Since then, while it would be harsh to say Iced Earth have been undeserving of the loyalty their fan base has shown, it would be fair to say they’ve not reached the heights of their early days. Horror Show was aptly named, Ripper Owens came in and found lightning does indeed strike twice, once again finding himself a great vocalist joining a band not at their creative peak (while not being “the guy”), “the guy” Matt Barlow re-joined to release an album that made everyone wish he hadn’t bothered, before 2011’s Dystopia saw the more-Barlow-than-Barlow Stu Block, take over the mic stand for a very credible return-to- form.
And the goodwill of the faithful continues to be rewarded as Plagues of Babylon (Century Media) picks up where Dystopia left off very nicely indeed; producing a slew of distinctive classic Iced Earth heavy metal tracks. Opening pairing of the title track and ‘Democide’ deliver chunky riffs, before ‘The Culling’ raises the bar – all ‘Disposable Heroes’ juddering staccato verse riff into trademark IE rousing chorus. Elsewhere, ‘If I Could See You’ is the natural successor to ‘Watching Over Me’, and a great example that metal ballads still exist, ‘Cthulu’ picks up the pace nicely, ‘Among The Living Dead’ could be lifted off the Anthrax album it’s title references with its lean riffage paying homage to `N.F.L.’, while ‘Peacemaker’ lifts the serious mask for a second, bringing a Wild West HM rompastomp to the table. ‘Resistance’ and ‘The End?’ could have been lifted straight from SWTWC, powerful and epic choruses sit in between crunchy, thrashy and powerful metal riffs, played out over classy melodic leads.
Full of excellent understated yet rousing choruses that stretch out over thrash-tinged heavy metal riffs and enmeshed with their traditional formula of Metallica, Priest and Maiden, on Plagues of Babylon Iced Earth relentlessly deliver powerful, convincing and epic songs throughout an album that more than picks up the baton from its predecessor.
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This album marks Iced Earth‘s third live release, and the first with current vocalist Stu Block. It also marks the farewell performance of longtime drummer Brent Smedly with the band. While we’re at it, this is also the debut of new bassist Luke Appleton. So much change up would have most other bands hold off on putting out a live album at this point. Not Iced Earth! They march forward like true veterans and never look back. If anyone had any issues or concerns with Stu on the older material, Live in Ancient Kourion (Century Media) should ease your mind and ears. Continue reading