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Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden

Label: Steamhammer
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Starting off with the instrumental “Star Spangled Banner” to the last page of the booklet showing a picture of Jon Schaffer’s store “Spirit of 76” collectables, this release showcases one of Jon’s greatest passions, American history. Throughout the listener gets a lesson in various wars that lead to the building of our States and country. “Gettysburg” is the epic closing things with accompaniment by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and definitely Jon’s most ambitious composition yet with strife and patriotism felt through every note and sword and musket heard.

“Declaration Day” follows our National Anthem with the tragic events that occurred on 9/11 addressed in the touching “When the Eagle Cries”. I think including such a song like “When the Eagle Cries” so early on brings down the mood and should have been further in the selections. “The Reckoning” and “Greenface” have the bite and attack Iced Earth are known for and I think would have been better choices to kick things off. Songs use galloping rhythms but not as many most would think opting for mood and melody as well.

Tim Owens sounds great behind the voice and has adapted to his environment. The backing vocals are still obvious and even include the voice of their former lead singer Mat Barlow. Tim still has many qualities that are Halfordish which is hard to avoid and thankfully don’t hinder his performance. There is a wicked scream he unleashes in “Greenface” and guitars leads are equally tasteful.

Mastermind Jon Schaffer has obviously put a lot of thought and research into this album and stands as a history lesson as well. If you listen to the Iced Earth catalogue no two albums sound the same while staying very true to the namesake.
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