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Iced Earth - The Reckoning EP - 2003 - Reviewed by Nailer

Track Listing
1. Sookie Sookie
2. Game of Love
3. Shakin' All Over
The events of Sept. 11 had a large effect on the band Iced Earth. Longtime vocalist Matt Barlow decided during the making of the latest record, "The Glorious Burden", to quit the band for other career interests. This left the band's founding guitarist Jon Schaffer at ground zero without a vocalist and the potential backlash of the fervent IE fan base. Enter recently replaced vocalist-- Ripper Owens of Judas Priest fame.

With an obvious nod to the classic, British "Trooper" image of Iron Maiden, IE's EP "The Reckoning" features their mascot in American Revolutionary War-era uniform carrying the "Don't Tread On Me" flag over the dead opposition soldiers. It a gorgeous cover by Leo Hao that could have just as well represented Schaffer proudly carrying the flag for American power metal. He's been doing it for years.

Given past recordings of songs like "1776" and "Ghost Of Freedom", Jon's patriotism needn't be questioned. The Sept 11 events though, fueled his energy into the equally historical and topical military themes of the latest record. I found all the songs on the EP to be high caliber metal.

The Reckoning (Don't Tread On Me) opens the EP with Jon's familiar staccato, galloping guitar work. Nothing inventive here, but it's a style that I think has been sadly missing from metal for a while. Ripper has nothing to prove with top-notch vocals and I love the chorus with its inspiring vocal chants similar to the German speed bands. "When the Eagle Cries" is an unplugged power ballad about the aftermath of the twin towers destruction that you'll either write it off as more maudlin patriotic sentiment or it'll give you goose bumps.

"Valley Forge" is a searing lamentation that juxtaposes the hardships of the Revolutionary War soldier with the modern individuals that take their freedom for granted. As Jon has said before, "youíve got a bunch of people running around today who donít give a shit, and are spoiled brats who take for granted everything they have." "Hollow Man", about struggling with inner demons, is definite IE and a good closing number.

I don't think the new record deal with Steamhammer (SPV) had any affect on the sound or personalities of the band, but I do feel that with the addition of Ripper Owens, Iced Earth will be even more accessible to metalheads. Here's looking forward to "The Glorious Burden" and the 32-minute epic Gettysburg (1863).


--Nailer 11.21.03
About this Writer:
Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Days of PurgatoryIced Earth
1997
Frank Hill9/30/2003
DystopiaIced Earth
2011
Greg Watson10/23/2011
Festivals of the WickedIced Earth
2011
Greg Watson8/5/2011
Framing ArmageddonIced Earth
2007
Etiam2/8/2008
Gettysburg DVDIced Earth
2005
Ken Pierce6/9/2005
Live In Ancient KourionIced Earth
2013
Eric Compton5/10/2013
Plagues of BabylonIced Earth
2014
Greg Watson2/21/2014
The Crucible of ManIced Earth
2008
Etiam2/8/2010
The Crucible of ManIced Earth
2008
Raising Iron1/13/2009
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2004
Ken Pierce6/16/2004
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2004
Eric Compton1/21/2004
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2003
Anthony Burke12/11/2003
The Reckoning EPIced Earth
2003
Frank Hill11/21/2003


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
The Plagues EPIced Earth
2013
Greg Watson1/6/2014


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Jon SchafferIced EarthGreg Watson2/7/2012
Jon SchafferIced EarthKen Pierce9/14/2005
Stu BlockIced EarthEric Compton and Greg Watson6/22/2017


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