"....In this collection you will hear songs that were written in a time span from 1986 to 1994. So for some of you this will be a stroll down memory lane and for you newer fans you will hear some classic I.E. re-mixed, re-sung and on a few tunes, bass and drums re-done. All of these older songs, in my opinion, are better than what was originally released..."
"...the idea to use the word purgatory in the title...works for two reasons. 1.) It was the original name of the band from 1984-1989. 2.) It also symbolizes the many years of "suffering" and "paying dues" we have endured to get where we are now. And though we have a long road ahead of us things are definitely on the upswing...."
"....In the eyes of this artist Iced Earth and metal music are a life long commitment and we're not budging, we are metal and we're proud of it. Yes, Iced Earth will mature and we will grow, but you can count on us being ever faithful to ourselves and our art, and for this I'm sure you will always be satisfied as the listening audience. Iced Earth will always play what we believe in. Fuck Trends and Fuck Posers!!!"[/i][/quote]
John Schaffer basically sums it up in his quote. Days of Purgatory is a collection of Iced Earth songs that have already been done on the self-titled and Night of the Stormrider albums'. The songs on Days of Purgatory are re-done and sung by Matt Barlow, the new vocalist for Iced Earth (at the time)
Biography of the Band
Note: I do not own the self-titled album, but I do own Night of the Stormrider. I like the originals of NotS better than the remixed, re-sung ones, and I am going to try and keep this out of the reviews for the songs a bit
1. Enter the Realm - This is the intro. Very good guitar work through here. It's very melodic, and leads into the first song. It's short, but very good. Mix of acoustic and electric guitars. Nothing distorted though. Overall, I love this intro, and especially how it leads into the next song. 5/5
2. Colors - Starts off heavy, being led in from the intro. I love the verse in this song. The guitar riff is nice. This song is a bit different from most lyrics Iced Earth has ever done. It opens up talking about walking alone in NY city, with gangs all over. This was an original song off of the self-titled album. This song has a nice bridge. Very gallopy. I really like the re-done versions of these songs, but I have not heard the originals, so I don't have any respect for them yet, but I will purchase that CD one day. This is an overall good song. Very different from the typical IE song. 4/5
3. Angels Holocaust - The opening track off of Night of the Stormrider. The intro had to grow on me. I never used to like it. It's a choir, singing over powerful guitar chords. It starts out a bit slow in the verse, with an acoustic guitar, and an electric in the background. I love the lyrics in this song. 1:50, a very nice short guitar solo that I always enjoy hearing. Eventually, it gets faster into a thrash-like song. A lot of Iced Earth's earlier stuff mixed thrash with Power metal, and I enjoyed it very much. There is a very nice, memorable solo in this song. ;) Many of the songs off of Night of the Stormrider have them. 4/5
4. Stormrider - One of my favorite Iced Earth songs. Ever. The intro is amazing, and it leads into a thrashy guitar verse, with nice vocals. In the chorus, screaming, "Fight on! Grab On! Stormrider! Stormrider!", which sticks out quite a bit. I like the original much better. The vocals just aren't as good with Barlow, in my opinion. This song also has one of my favorite Iced Earth solos in it. The solo guitarist for that/this album was amazing. Not completely in technicality, but in writing. I love this song. 5/5
5. Winter Nights - I always thought this song had kind of an "off" intro. Almost sounds like they are playing the wrong note on the guitar. The verse is typical Iced Earth. Barlow's vocals are amazing in this song. Especially his high pitched screams, because you hardly ever hear him do those. I was never a big fan of the chorus in this song. It slows down a bit, and just doesn't fit too much to me. Overall, still a good song. 3.5/5
6. Nightmares - This song has a very classical intro. Sounds like something from the seventies. Maybe I'm thinking Maiden, but it's badass, and I love it. I love the vocals in this song, because they pan them left and right every time he sings, so it has an effect like two people are singing. Very typical, easy verse in this song, but the panning left and right makes it. I love it. The chorus, again, typical good Iced Earth. I'm not impressed with the lyrics in the chorus, but I can't blaim Barlow for those. 3.8/5
7. Pure Evil - This is another song off of NotS. Good song. Starts off with a nice intro, and the drummer does a very good job working the toms. Blends well. The verse in this song is awesome. Thrashy. Barlow does a lot better in this cover, in my opinion. The verse repeats a few times. There is a very creative, unique solo in this song. Another thing I like about Iced Earth; the tempo changes. So many. I love it. Pure Evil is a good song, with some nice song-writing, along with just about any early Iced Earth song. 4/5
8. Solitude - An acoustic piece done by John Schaffer. Such a beautful song. Repetitive, but so beautiful. I think this was a song he wrote in the late 80's. I'm not sure if it got onto the self-titled album or not. But this is no doubt, one of my favorite simplistic acoustic guitar pieces. 5/5
9. When the Night Falls - The intro is a bit of a current day Iced Earth sounding intro. Slower, and more melodic sounding. It soon gets faster and more thrashy, like the early Iced Earth I love. I love the vocals in this song too. Early Iced Earth had the best guitar work. Then it all slows down at one point, to have a pre-chorus. The chorus in this song is very melodic. Overall, 3.8/5
10. Desert Rain - Besides Stormrider, one of my other favorite Iced Earth songs. The intro is simple, and amazing, along with the first verse. And I love the 16th notes on the high hat to go along with it. I am not a big fan of Barlow's version, again, on this song, but overall, the song is amazing. Barlow does an outstanding job on this, but I'm still a bigger fan of the original. Great, great written solo in this song. Lyrics are very well done. This, in my opinion, is one of the highlights of Iced Earth's career. This is one of those songs that they should be known by. Chorus in this song is very memorable 5/5.
11. The Funeral - This is an instrumental Another older-sounding intro, like it came out of the wrong time. I love the intro/verse in this song. Also different than typical Iced Earth. Seems to have a type of a theme to it. But this song definately sounds like it came out of the wrong time. Parts of it sound like Maiden-Metallica fusion, in my opinion. Great song. 4.8/10
12. Cast in Stone - Probably my favorite track on this album. I don't know how good the original is, but this is definately another one of my favorite IE songs. Very awesome intro, with a guitar solo type thing. I heard Barlow changed all the lyrics on this album. Barlow also did an amazing job singing this. Sings a lot higher pitched than normal in this song. The verse is very thrash like, along with the pre-chorus. Lots of changes in tempo, and mood in this song. Definately awesome. 5/5
13. Reaching the End - The second to last song on NotS. Iced Earth's short songs are very well written and beautiful. This is more of an intro, but it doesn't lead into the next song. Very beautiful. 4.5/10, but only due to Barlow. His vocals are shaky, and just not as well done as the original.
14. Travel in Stygian - This song is often a favorite of hardcore Iced Earth songs. It is definately in my top 5 songs by Iced Earth. Very off sounding intro, but the first verse is amazing. Mixes power metal with thrash very very well. I do not, however, like Barlow's vocals on this song :-/. He changed it a bit, and it just doesn't fit as well as the original. Definately an awesome track, with the most beautiful closing piano outro you will ever hear. 4.8/10, because of Barlow's vocals again.
15. Iced Earth - The title track. This song is way, way, way different than all Iced Earth songs I've ever heard. Again, the intro sounds like it's out of the early 80's. This band was just out of place, but with their newer material, they do fine. Weirdest chorus I have ever heard, especially by Iced Earth. It's like a chant, with low toms in the background. The bass going back between two notes. I've never listened to this song a whole lot, don't know why. Backing vocals in this song are also neat. Definately a good song though. 4/5
Conclusion: I really like this album, even with how much I dislike Barlow on the NotS redo's. I am a one of a kind Iced Earth fan. I find that Dark Saga and Something Wicked This Way Comes are IE's most repetitive, and worst albums. Most fans seem to think they are the best. I am a fan of their older stuff. So much better written songs, guitar, and overall, just fun to listen to. Iced Earth is one of my favorite bands, and this album is not bad at all, being one of the Other albums, which includes IE's EP's and live album.
Overall Rating: A good solid 4/5
Thanks for all you guys who took the time to read my review. Haven't done one in ages