departure of Matt Barlow they found Stu Block to fill in his place. At first I
had my doubts if he would be the right man, not because of his capacities, but
more whether his vocals would fit the music of Iced Earth or not. On "Dystopia" he
immediately proved me wrong, his variety in singing and his powerful voice fit
like a glove. On this new album he sounds even better probably due to his
experience with the band and having more influence in the writing process.
Babylon' is a typical Iced Earth album and will be liked by all the fans that
liked their previous work. The first part of the album is based on a concept
that continues on the story of the 'Something Wicked' album. The music is
like we know it, typical U.S. Powermetal based on early Iron Maiden, Judas
Priest and Savatage, but with a very big Iced Earth sauce. Fast songs, hymns,
semi acoustic parts, strong riffs, passionate singing, big refrains, twin soli
and so on. With "I Could See You" the second part of the album starts, it is a
very emotional song with Stu shining. The second part is a little less heavy and
has some tracks not typically for Iced Earth. A song like "Peacemaker" for example
even sounds a bit southern. On several songs guest singer Hansi Kürsch (Blind
Guardian) does his parts and on "Highwayman" Michael Poulsen (Volbeat) and
Russell Allen (Symphony X) sing a-long.
All in all a
good album that fits perfectly in their anthology and on which the band shows
that they are still as strong as ever.