Iced Earth
Iced Earth



by Kit Brown USER (73 Reviews)
February 11th, 2006 | 45 replies | 17,252 views

Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great riffs ruined by one of the worst vocal performances in power metal history. Stick with Days of Purgatory.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Enter Iced Earth. This is a world filled with dark fantasy, epic tales, punishment, and misery. This is a band that has refused to ever sell out, and still to this day shows no signs of doing just that. The band combines many different styles of metal, including: thrash, progressive, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and of course power metal. Every band has to start somewhere, and this is the band's debut record. Enter...

Iced Earth - Iced Earth

Iced Earth was at this time:
John Schaffer - Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Randy Shawver - Lead Guitar
Gene Adam - Vocals
Dave Abell - Bass Guitar
Mike McGill - Drums

People would argue that a band's first album is their best. Some would say this because the band has all the time in the world to make it perfect, without pressure to speed things up (like some band's sophomore albums have suffered from). Iced Earth does not really live up to this stereotype, as this is clearly not their best album at all. While it is still enjoyable the band's talents have not been fully brought out yet and there are several flaws that Iced Earth will fix on later in the future so that they can constantly make superb albums.

The Good:
For starters, the band has John Schaffer in it, which automatically makes any group awesome. The man is simply great at writing riffs, solos, acoustic parts, and just songs in general. While there are some parts to this album which I find lacking, John's riffs always please my ears and make me want to keep listening. Randy Shawver's solos also add a whole lot to the feeling of the songs and they make sure that the tracks don't become to repetitive.

The atmosphere of this album is great for those who are fans of power metal, thrash, or possibly even black metal. While some power metal band's lyrics are uplifting and sometimes comical, Iced Earth's have always been darker than that of their power metal peers. Songs like "Colors" are about old gangs in New York, which then is followed by many brutal passages delivered by Gene Adam. There are also some lyrics involving deep hatred like in the song "Life and Death". The album's lyrics are downright scary, not to mention pretty cool.

Metal bands love to do instrumentals to show off their skill, and so does Iced Earth. While most metal bands would only put one instrumental track on an album, these guys decide to put on two. "Solitude" and "The Funeral" are both great and really show off what great musicians Schaffer and Shawver really are. Anyone who plays guitar should probably give these songs a listen.

The Bad:
Modern metal has been known to have some of the greatest drummers alive. The percussionists these days have gotten a front seat in the metal world to exposure and now are known by everyone for being extremely fast and skilled. This, however, was not typically the case back in the 80s and early 90s which includes this album. Mike McGill isn't bad by any means, but he never doesnt anything mindblowing. It would have been nice to hear some more challenging beats from him.

Dave Abell is also another bad factor to this album. He doesn't really bring the band down, but he doesn't do anything recognizable at all. The production turned the bass guitar down way too much to the point where you can't really hear it at all. This always bothers me when this happens because bass can often add a whole lot to a metal band's sound. Abell should have been brought out more.

The Downright Ugly:
Two words: Gene Adam. I can't stand his vocals in the least. He ruins what could be great tracks with his incredibly nasal and whiny scream/shriek. Listen to the song "Iced Earth" and you'll get exactly what I mean. Thankfully one fourth of the album is instrumental which leaves Adam less time to screw things up. After you've heard the band's other vocalists, Tim Owens and the godly Matt Barlow, Adam just seems like a joke. I'm glad he got canned.

Written On The Walls
The Funeral
When The Night Falls

Final Rating: 3/5

Recent reviews by this author
Periphery PeripheryThe Red Chord Fed Through the Teeth Machine
Iwrestledabearonce It's All HappeningConverge Caring and Killing
Born Of Osiris The New ReignThe Faceless Planetary Duality
user ratings (207)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
February 11th 2006


Great review, I didn't realize how much you've done on the site. Keep up the fantastic work!
Also, approve me on myspace, please.

February 11th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Good review. The only song I like on this is the title track, because of the into riff. The rest is average to below average, compared to their next two cd's.

Tarantino's Tarantulas
February 11th 2006


"People would argue that a band's best album is their best."
Might want to fix this

February 11th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Fixed. I type faster than I can think sometimes.

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

February 11th 2006


ah this is an okay band

nothing special

February 11th 2006


Nice Review. This is a great album that is brought down by the vocals. It falls apart when Gene attempts to high pitched scream.

But, theres awsome riffs everywhere. ..

February 11th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I agree, Stormrider. That's why Days of Purgatory is so great, because it fixed all of the problems that this album had.

February 12th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

First off, good review.

Secondly, I agree totally. This could have been a great album, albeit some flaws with production. Great songs, but definitley brought down by the vocals. His lower register kinda grew on me, but the second he goes up to the high register I cry inside. Still, When The NIght Falls is one of my favorite IE songs, but Barlow's version is better. Fasntastic band thugh.

February 12th 2006


I still like the album because of the songs themselves.
But I agree with you ACircuitShock. The low register vocals I dont mind.
It would have been a killer album if it was better in the vocal department.This Message Edited On 02.12.06

February 12th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, if Matt Barlow was on here then it probably would have gotten a 4.5/5. That's why I think so highly about Days of Purgatory.

April 26th 2007


someone told me that iced earth is a power metal band.
i first bought this album.
this sounded like a trash metal band.
hope to find some power metal albums by iced earth.
its difficult to find this kind of stuff here in the philippines.

April 26th 2007


iced earth is a power metal band with huge thrash influences yes

September 28th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

I actually enjoy the hell out of Written On The Walls. The vocals are actually quite decent

September 18th 2011


awesome album

say what you will about gene adam, but his versions off these songs are better than any of the rerecordings they did

March 19th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I really do think this is their best album. They simply weren't power metal at this time, it was a straight thrash release, I agree with pissbore that Gene's versions are WAY better than the re-recordings, despite production flaws

April 3rd 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

gd album

April 3rd 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

fuckin rifs

October 13th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

i know i have the unpopular opinion, but this is my fav iced earth also fave IE vocalist.

Digging: Xanthochroid - Blessed He With Boils

January 21st 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a mindblowing album and i can't understand why everyone is always ripping on Gene Adam. I think he is a great singer and his voice fit perfectly for the sound and generally for the style of this album. In my humble opinion he adds an aggression on this album. And forgive me guys for saying this but i didn't like the remastered version with Matt Barlow taking over the vocal duties. Those songs are better with Gene Adams. But... That's just me i suppose...

Digging: Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards

January 21st 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

"i know i have the unpopular opinion, but this is my fav iced earth also fave IE vocalist."

Me too dude!!!

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2013
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy