Iced Earth – Festivals of the Wicked

By Rob Kachluba

Finally, Iced Earth has released a dvd worthy of watching. After that huge debacle of the Alive in Athens video that was put out with John Shaefer showing his digust about it in public, we have this two-dvd set consisting of three festival shows, featuring vocalist Matt Barlow on two of them and Ripper Owens on the third. Before those there is a decent documentary about the current band and the early beginnings of Iced Earth as well as their huge popularity in Greece etc. Now after watching this thing twice I’ll bet anyone who would argue that Matt Barlow is not the one and only true vocalist for this band. His performance on the Metal Camp festival show is flawless. Such emotion and passion in his delivery, it will have you punching your fist in the air. Highlights are “Declaration Day” and “Dracula”. He hits the highs effortlessly and really knows how to command the stage. The band sounds as tight as hell and really proves that they are the premier power metal band in North America bar none. The timelessness and quality of the songs are undeniable.

Now comes the sad part. The Ripper footage from Wacken does not hold up to the Barlow stuff at all. He has a lot of trouble hitting the highs and almost looks like he’s struggling on some of them which I find strange as he’s a sceamer and should be hitting these notes with ease. The Barlow material he just does no justice to and his own songs like “10 Thousand Strong” and “Declaration Day” sound flat and emotionless. I don’t know if he was sick or something but it was not a good outing. Other then that the dvd is a great watch with a great song selection from all the albums minus Burnt Offerings and both sets with Barlow and Ripper are the same other than Ripper’s set having “Charge to Keep”, “The Hunter” and the whole Birth of the Wicked trilogy too.

(Century Media)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.