Iced Earth
Style: Power Metal
Release date: 17 October, 2011
Playing time: 45:06

I’ve always been a big fan of Iced Earth. However, the last two releases, Framing Armageddon and The Crucible of Man, (even with a reunited Matt Barlow) were too theatrical and too over-the-top compared with their previous releases. The songs weren’t as memorable or as easy to wrap your head around them.

With their 10th studio release, Dystopia, it’s back to the roots of Iced Earth’s classic sound; punchy, heavy, melodic, aggressive and powerful. It’s definitely a turn for the better again. It’s easily recognizable as Iced Earth and creator/leader/guitarist Jon Schaffer sounds more invigorated than he has on their past few releases.

It’s not a true concept album (as the band has done in the past), but more of a themed album. Some songs are based on dystopian movies such as Dark City, V For Vendetta and Soylent Green. Character and band mascot Set Abominae continues his reign on the world and once again pops up in two new songs; title track and “Tragedy and Triumph,” which are directly related to the Something Wicked This Way Comes story.

Music wise, Dystopia is back to the IE basics. Schaffer’s love for Iron Maiden and other classic metal bands has always been the driving force of IE’s sound and vision. Schaffer’s trademark downstroke riffing and a classic Maiden gallop propels the band’s sound and are still intact on Dystopia.

I’ve also always liked Into Eternity and now that vocalist Stu Block has joined Iced Earth, I, as most of you, was eager to see what Iced Earth has come up with. Block’s range while singing for Into Eternity was more death/progressive metal with high falsettos. On Dystopia, he uses his mid-range more, something that he wasn’t utilizing in Into Eternity. It’s somewhat similar to Barlow’s, while his falsetto range brings to mind Owens. The results are very satisfying.

Some people might be skeptical of the new Iced Earth release, but I think Dystopia will please a lot of fans of IE’s body of work.


01. Dystopia
02. Anthem
03. Boiling Point
04. Anguish of Youth
05. V
06. Dark City
07. Equilibrium
08. Days of Rage
09. End of Innocence
10. Tragedy and Triumph

Label: Century Media
Distribution: EMI (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kelley Simms
Date: 1 October, 2011