Iced Earth
Dystopia


3.5
great

Review

by TerraIncognita USER (9 Reviews)
October 19th, 2011 | 33 replies | 15,837 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The addition of another new vocalist has inspired Jon Schaffer and Co. to make an album that isn't entirely predictable, bland and full of failed conceptual baggage.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Let me be totally honest – I haven’t bothered listening to an entire Iced Earth album since Something Wicked was released in 1998. After the release of Burnt Offerings there simply wasn’t a reason to keep purchasing watered-down versions of the same album. The Dark Saga and Something Wicked managed to at least be valid additions to the Iced Earth discography due to their subtle variations on the Jon Schaffer formula, but by the time Horror Show was released the formula was stale even with minor tweaking. Jon seemed to notice this too, but his attempts to fix the problem with grandiose concept albums only made things worse. It seemed that his focus was more on the overarching storylines and musical flourishes than on the core power/thrash delivery – an issue that Matt Barlow’s eventual return couldn’t even fix. So, if Matt Barlow couldn’t save the band’s tepid musical endeavors, what were the chances that the vocalist from Into Eternity could do much better? If the re-recording of Dante’s Inferno was any indication, the answer seemed to be that there wasn’t a chance in hell.

If anything, the new vocalist’s style seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle in Jon’s quest to deliver the most overblown, generic power cheese that he could. The dude from Into Eternity’s delivery on that song was overdone and a poor imitation of the original track, and it seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. The opening moments of Dystopia’s lead track seemed to confirm that the band had lost their way and that we were in for another round of bland, lethargic power/thrash tracks. It begins with the kind of ‘grandiose’ (but not really) dual guitar harmony that the previous albums shat out at will, but then suddenly there’s a shrieking black metal growl and a galloping power metal riff (you know the one, it’s on every Iced Earth release). From there the new vocalist shows off his versatility by doing his best Matt Barlow impression interspersed with some Halford-esqe screeching. This is accompanied by some decent melodies and a relatively catchy chorus, and it turns out to be a pretty good track. As a whole, Dystopia seems to borrow liberally from the thrashy power metal of Something Wicked, but with a very sterile/controlled mainstream angle reminiscent of The Dark Saga, and it works. For every high speed assault such as “Boiling Point” there is a more restrained song like “Anthem” with its huge Def Leppard-ish chorus. The mixture of tempos and moods do a pretty good job of giving the album a more dynamic feeling, and regardless of feel, they almost all feature powerful melodies and memorable choruses. Of course there are also a few power ballads scattered throughout the album, but whether anyone appreciates them or not will largely rely on how they’ve felt about them in the past because they’re no different.

There are probably a lot of people out there that gave up on the band somewhere during the late nineties, but Iced Earth have finally given fans something to be excited about. While Dystopia isn’t the unrelenting power thrash of Burnt Offerings, it is still an album that isn’t scared to bust through with high speed riffs, strong choruses and powerful vocals. The addition of Into Eternity’s vocalist has only benefitted the band as he is easily the most versatile vocalist in Iced Earth’s history. Also, the concept of this particular album benefits from the fact that ‘who gives a shit’? Seriously, it doesn’t hinder the music or guide it down bland, contrived paths, but it can still be used as the scapegoat whenever the lyrics get to be a little too stupid for their own good (as they are apt to do on any Iced Earth album) and that’s about the best we could ever ask from Jon Schaffer and his crew of hired hands.



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user ratings (224)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
lostforwords (4.5)
Old school, high quality Iced Earth; Something wicked this way comes, again....

Jesse Huminski (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TerraIncognita
October 19th 2011



23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Every bit of news surrounding this album screamed 'suck'. Glad it didn't turn out to be another terrible Iced Earth album.

Darkvoid67
October 19th 2011



383 Comments


where's the stream? Otherwise this will be deleted. Album is really, really, really fucking average

TerraIncognita
October 19th 2011



23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Last I checked this came out on October 18th and it's currently the 19th. So, the stream is wherever you happen to find this Online.

Willie
Moderator
October 19th 2011



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Better than the last few albums. This band is kind of over-valued IMO, anyway. They really only know a few different songs, they just re-arrange them and add new lyrics every album (I know, exaggeration... but close).

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Poet
October 20th 2011



5920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not really an exaggeration in saying that

Nagrarok
October 20th 2011



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They really only know a few different songs, they just re-arrange them and add new lyrics every album (I know, exaggeration... but close).


This is so true and the reason why they became stale in the first place, Schaffer seems to be very limited in his songwriting, no new vocalist is going to change that. This is a 2.5-3, it's better than their last two but yet again so invariably Iced Earth.

YUJOS
October 20th 2011



913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^ And if thy had also a good lead guitarist

Digging: Misery Index - The Killing Gods

Nagrarok
October 20th 2011



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That also.

meepstone
October 22nd 2011



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I guess I'm the only one who thinks this album actually sounds different from the others. Track listing is messed up and soylent is misspelled. You cited them running out of idea's and making dante's inferno a bad thing. I know they re-did the song so they could play it live. Otherwise there are some average songs but doesn't sound like the other albums to me.

YUJOS
October 22nd 2011



913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^ Go listen again then The Dark Saga and Something Wicked This Way Comes...

KILL5
October 22nd 2011



429 Comments


gota check this

meepstone
October 23rd 2011



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

^ Yujos, so if those albums are the same then albums like metallica's ride the lightning, master of puppets and justice for all are the same and crappy cus they have the same style? dont understand your logic.

Dibmann
October 23rd 2011



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album in my opinion, filled with great choruses and catchy, yet heavy songs. Also, Stu did an amazing job!

YUJOS
October 24th 2011



913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@meepstone My answer goes to you for saying "I guess I'm the only one who thinks this album actually sounds different from the others. " and "Otherwise there are some average songs but doesn't sound like the other albums to me." What i meant was that this album (some songs to be precise) will remind you most The Dark Saga and Something Wicked This Way Comes...Ι think i made my point clear now.




SylentEcho
October 26th 2011



1570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing very new here. The riffs are a little less repetitive than before. Almost a return to form by Iced Earth.

Some songs are really good here like Dystopia, Anthem, Dark City which I think is the best one here.

Ire
October 26th 2011



41746 Comments


This band is kind of over-valued


agreed

Steerpike
October 26th 2011



1859 Comments


Iced Earth have lost me. Not sure I really want to bother checking this out.

Nagrarok
October 31st 2011



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The magical nexus of art and life – the knife’s edge where raw artistic passion meets focused creative expression – is the space all serious musicians seek…but few find.

On Dystopia, the new album from American metal icons ICED EARTH, Jon Schaffer found that space. And made it his own.

Now armed with the dynamic vocal range of vocalist Stu Block (fresh from his success with prog-metal favorites Into Eternity), and a renewed passion he hasn’t felt for many years, Schaffer forged an album that cannot be ignored.

It is an album whose time has come.


Iced Earth never fail to keep it cheesy.

seifer
October 31st 2011



1006 Comments


when did this come out, dont know if i will check it anyways

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
November 4th 2011



1972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Stu Block saves Iced Earth.

Digging: Chris Letchford - Lightbox



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