Music Review-Iced Earth-Dystopia


Jon Schaffer
Troy Seele
Brent Smedley
Stu Block

Track Listing-
1. Dystopia
2. Anthem
3. Boiling Point
4. Anguish of Youth
5. V
6. Dark City
7. Equilibrium
8. Days of Rage
9. End of Innocence
10. Soylent Green [*]
11. Iron Will [*]
12. Tragedy and Triumph [*]
13. Anthem [String Mix] [*]

Review-My patience with Iced Earth gets tested year after year. Jon Schaffer has such a hard time keeping a line up together long enough for fans to get behind them. God how many ex members are there now, it has to be in the very high teens to early twenties. A lot of people thru the years wanted to write them off when they lost the likes of Ripper Owens, and Matt Barlow and I was one of those fans. This new cd Dystopia shows that Stu Block ( ex Into Eternity) has a very impressive old school metal vibe about his vocals, and is more than capable of making people forget about Ripper and Barlow. This is the classic Iced Earth sound, and may come across as some kind of second coming of The Dark Saga and Something Wicked era feel. Boiling Point to me is the best Iced Earth song in a very long time. It mixes all the classic Iced Earth elements we love like the high pitched vocals, the guitar crunch but yet comes across with an anger that they have not showed in a very long time.

Now the negatives, I wish Jon Schaffer would try to think outside of his comfort zone and most Iced Earth faithful will agree once they listen to songs like Anguish of Youth or Anthem. These are meant to be angry songs and come across as such weak attempts to re-living their past. I am sick of Jon always going back to the Iced Earth well each cd with new members trying to capture memories of previous members. I think Stu is a great vocalist and he has a background that if you wanted to make a new blue print for the next era of Iced Earth he may be your best bet. Songs like Days of Rage show the guy can really take Iced Earth into new directions if you gave him the right to. The lyric sheet to this cd is pretty sad. Just lazy and uninspired even for Jon. And of course with each Iced Earth cd, Jon wants that ballad and this one does not fail to impress called End of Innocence, which is awful. This cd as a whole, I was a fan of maybe about 70 percent of it. I am just scared to get behind this line-up and then next year there is a new shake up and change. Iced Earth put out ok music, it is just that while bands who have been around a lot longer like Overkill, at least put some modern touches to their sound, Iced Earth seems at home just giving fans the same formula cd to cd.

So, if you are an Iced Earth fan this cd is more of the same you are used to with a few tinges here and there. If you were not a fan before, you may not convert with this cd. I really hope that Jon lets this line up spread their wings musically and see what they can bring to the next release, instead of his band mates having to play others past roles.

7 out of 10