"The Reckoning" is an EP for Iced Earth's latest album "The Glorious Burden."
The lineup for this album is
Jon Schaffer-Rhythm/Lead guitars
Plus a whole bunch of guest musicians.
This is Iced Earth's first work in a long time without beloved vocalist Matt Barlow, who left to become a lawyer. Replacing him is Tim Owens, former member of Judas Priest. "The Glorious Burden" has a main underlining theme, the Battle of Gettysburg. For all of you who aren't Americans, this was a battle during the civil war where many soldiers lost their lives. This is what the album is about.
Track one: The Reckoning (Don't tread on me): This track starts off with a sort of funky guitar riff and then quickly it's back to Iced Earth's old style of thrashy/power metal style with two crunching riffs backed by Tim Owens doing a superb job on vocals so far. Then into another crunchy riff with a nice melody part. This next part is what turns me off, Tim Owens does not do as good as a job as Matt Barlow, this is dissapointing. This song serves up a dosage of clean parts as well, at about 2:15 a clean part comes in with some distorted lead guitar over it and it's a nice fit to this song. The lead fits over it quit well. Owens does a nice job doing vocals during this part of the song. Then back to the crushing metal riffs that Iced Earth is known for all the way to the end of the song. This song gets 3/5
Track two: When the Eagle Cries (unplugged): Now, this song is unplugged on the EP but not on "The Glorious Burden" so they are different songs. This song is very emotional, very nice acoustic work by Schaffer and Tim Owens vocals are so powerful in this song. (Matt Barlow even does some backing vocals on this song). Towards the end of the song there is a nice acoustic solo, which leads right into Owens singing his heart out. For an acoustic song, it's very powerful. This is probably my favorite song on the EP. 4.5/5
Track three: Valley Forge: This song starts off with a very odd acoustic riff, it seems that it could be played with distortion better but it's a nice change. Then soon in a crunchy riff, Tim Owens does a nice job with vocals. Not nearly as powerful as "When the Eagle Cries." but good work none the less. The solo is very powerful, it's what makes the song in my opinion. It's full of arpeggios and quick licks. Then the song ends with a bang, the solo continues while Owens sings and it sounds incredible, it's definitely the climax of the song. Then the song ends with Schaffer still soloing, it's a good song. 4/5
Track four: Hollow man: Another acoustic intro, it fits very nice with Owens vocals over it, this is where Owens shows he can really sing. Then into another heavy riff, and it's very powerful, underlining the theme of the album. Soon back into the acoustic riff, this is pattern Iced Earth is very well known for (going acoustic-crunchy distorted riffs-acoutic). After the same distorted riff again, they change pace with another combination of solo+Owens vocals at the same time and it makes for an awesome ending to the song. The solo is basically the quintessential heavy metal solo, and adding some great vocals in there makes for a powerful punch. This song gets 4.5/5
Overall this album packs quite a punch for just an EP, i give it 4/5.