The Plagues of Babylon, the long awaited new release from power metallers Iced Earth is here. This album, for me a long time fan, was a make or break for this band and I can safely say that the band has exceeded my expectations with this album.
The sound on this Plagues is incredible and Schaeffer and second guitarist Troy Seele sound angry, pissed off and have perfected their partnership. The guitar work on this album is fantastic and shows that the band is moving forward and harnessing some of their old sound again.
Yet another concept album, Plagues focuses on a world infested by a zombie virus outbreak. With this concept, the band delivers great songs like "Democide", "The Culling" and "The End?". From start to finish, Plagues of Babylon is their best release since 2001's "Horror Show". The opening, epic, self-titled track kicks the album off at an amazing clip. The backing choral vocals on the second half of the chorus send chills through my spine. "Democide" is the track I've been looking for since Stu Block joined the band. It's a perfect vocal performance for showcasing his range. The scream at the end of the song is what metal vocals are all about. The track "Spirit of the Times" may be my favorite song on the album. Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian does lead vocals on "Among the Living Dead". A highlight is the cover version of "Highwayman". Schaeffer, Stu, Russell Allen of Symphony-X and Adrenaline Mob, and Michael Poulsen of Volbeat make up the metal version of country's Highwaymen. A great song in and of itself, hearing it given the metal makeover makes it even better. Russell Allen steals the vocal show. This is a great bonus end to the album. And if that weren't enough, stay tuned after that song goes off for a hilarious little blip at at the end.
Iced Earth has returned with a vengeance and are poised to storm to the top of the metal world once again. Become infected by the Plagues of Babylon and make sure you snag this album.
"You may take me but you'll never break my will. My soul is not for sale." --Lyrics from "Spirit of the Times" originally performed by Sons of Liberty.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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