04 January, 2014

Iced Earth: Plagues Of Babylon – new album


Those among you with access to Spotify, go there right now and listen to the new ICED EARTH album ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ in full. Those of us without, will just have to make do with two new ICED EARTH tunes, ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ and ‘Among The Living Dead’, with the latter being given away for free here by Century Media (Family Inc.) who just may use your email address for marketing campaigns as well as transmit your email to CMR partner corporations. Because you see, nothing is really for free. But let us concentrate on music: ICED EARTH's eleventh album is due out in Europe on January the 6th, 2014 and on January the 21st in North America through Century Media Records. It was recorded in Principal Studios in Senden, Germany, produced and co-mixed by the band's mastermind Jon Schaffer, co-mixed by Kevin Paul, mastered by Sascha Buhren and visualised (art) by Eliran Kantor. ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is the group's first album recorded with bassist Luke Appleton and drummer Raphael Saini. It features a whole array of guest musicians including guest singers VOLBEAT's Michael Poulsen, SYMPHONY X and ADRENALINE MOB's Russell Allen and BLIND GUARDIAN's Hansi Kürsch. Without further ado then, get your own copy of ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ here (CM Distro Europe), here (CM Distro North America) or through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc. ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is available as limited deluxe box set, as limited deluxe mediabook, as double LP, as limited triple 10” box set, as standard CD jewelcase and as digital download. Take your pick. And, do! not! forget! - ICED EARTH will perform live in Tel Aviv come February 22nd, 2014.

Now let us play a little game: scroll way down to match the appropriate songs, courtesy of Century Media, with the text you are reading: ICED EARTH was formed as “Purgatory” by guitarist Jon Schaffer (also of SONS OF LIBERTY fame) in 1985 in Tampa, Florida. Five turbulent years later, personnel-wise, ICED EARTH recorded their debut self-titled album which they released on Century Media in 1990/1991 and which featured Schaffer on guitar, Gene Adam on vocals, Randall Shawver on lead guitar, Dave Abell on bass and Mike McGill on drums. Next, they produced an ambitious concept album called ‘Night Of The Stormrider’ in 1991/1992, which introduced singer John Greely and drummer Richey Secchiari. Yet, ICED EARTH brand of metal (“think SLAYER meet IRON MAIDEN”) was not trendy enough at the time although these days ‘Night Of The Stormrider’ is referred to as one of the group's best albums by their fans. The band took time off between 1992 to 1995. Re-emerging with vengeance, ICED EARTH released their “heaviest and darkest” album ‘Burnt Offerings’ in 1995, which they recorded with “resourceful new vocalist” Matthew Barlow and drummer Rodney Beasley. Bassist Dave Abell and drummer Mark Prator joined the clan on yet another “one of the best” ICED EARTH albums, the 1996's ‘The Dark Saga’. The following year the band re-recorded the best of their early material with Matthew Barlow on vocals, resulting in ‘Days Of Purgatory’ collection. Long-time guitarist Randall Shawver left the group prior to the recording of ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, their fifth album which introduced bassist James MacDonough and guitarist Larry Tarnowski as well as Jon Schaffer's “Something Wicked Saga”. Next, ICED EARTH embarked on their most ambitious American and world tour yet and one double live album ‘Alive In Athens’ later, recorded ‘Horror Show’ with new drummer Richard Christy and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (both of CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED fame) which was released in 2001. Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens joined the group to record ‘The Glorious Burden’ album, replacing Barlow who, after the events of 9/11 reportedly “became more interested in law enforcement than the music business”; issued in 2004, ‘The Glorious Burden’ was the band's first on German label SPV GmbH. In 2007, ICED EARTH featured Schaffer, Owens, lead guitarist Tim Mills and drummer Brent Smedley; this line-up released two recordings, the ‘Overture Of The Wicked’ EP and ‘Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked, Pt. 1’, followed by ‘Crucible Of Man: Something Wicked, Pt. 2’ in 2008 which saw the short return of singer Matt Barlow. In 2011, ICED EARTH returned to Century Media with ‘Dystopia’, the group's tenth album, “still delivering plenty of the intense power/thrash goodness” (Gregory Heaney, AllMusic – more here) and presenting almost completely new line-up, featuring Schaffer, Smedley, new singer Stu Block, new guitarist Troy Seele and new bassist Freddie Vidales. The album had entered the UK Rock Charts at number 18, the German Charts at number 23, the Finnish Charts at number 34 and the Billboard Top 200 at number 67:

ICED EARTH features: Jon Schaffer – rhythm and lead guitar and backing vocals, Stu Block – vocals, Troy Seele – lead guitar and Luke Appleton - bass

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