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REVIEW – ICED EARTH – PLAGUES OF BABYLON – Messianic and melodic agression.

REVIEW – ICED EARTH – PLAGUES OF BABYLON – Messianic and melodic agression.
REVIEW – ICED EARTH – PLAGUES OF BABYLONMessianic and melodic agression.

1. Plagues Of Babylon: This compilation begins with a misanthropic eponymous warning from the gods regarding the plagues of Babylon to welcome us to the eleventh album of the heavy metal band called Iced Earth whose font type and cover art in its similarities reminds us of previous efforts from acts such as Iron Maiden and Edguy . It’s an intense and melodic song that also takes us directly from the beginning of this musical trip to ancient Egypt.

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2. Democide: This selection that was released both January 6 and 21 of this year continues with the fictional story behind the Something Wicked concept in the songs that were placed in it’s first half in which this one talks about humans that are dead inside but act like they are alive as victims of an apparent genocide sponsored by the goverment. It keeps the classic sound of the band.

3. The Culling: The only track done with Raphael Saini as a guest artist on drums which follows up this trip by exposing arguments about the most adequate way to eliminate humanity while displaying the familiar shockwave that has become the signature sound of the group. The term is a reference to a method used to separate certain animals from the rest that form a specific group in a cattle with a determined criteria. It is use on breeding to segregate or conserve some qualities in the specimens. Its is a fast tune with a frenetic vibe mainly on guitars.

4. Among The Living Dead: The following theme has Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian doing background vocals as a collaborator while the lyrics retake some aspects of the previews song called Democide while refering to an army created by the hand of man full of living dead creatures. It’s quite rhythmic, speedy and has catchy versatile and melodic background choruses. It is surrounded by an evil and dark mood in it’s guitar riffs while the track goes as if they asked the Misfits if they could borrow something from their style for this one.

5. Resistance: It’s the only track where Luke Appleton write some lyrics in the entire release, in which he plays the bass for the first time with them. At this point of the conceptual plot humanity resists and fights the gods to avoid extinction. Is very epic the way the guitars and the drums complement each other here.

6. The End?: The battle for survival of human kind finishes without certainty about what will happen if the plague arrives on time or if humanity will be able to overcome it and survive to begin a new life. Is the climax of the entire disk and that’s it gives such a deep sensation at the beginning with those acoustic guitars and their emotional riffs that become later an unchained variety of rough power.

7. If I Could See You: This melody as the rest of the anthology was recorded since July 15 until Agust 8 of 2013 at Principal Studios in Senden, Germany, it is the point where the conpendium stops making references to the Something Wicked concept. The lyrics are about the loss of a loved one wishing it to return soon and falls directly into the sensitivity of a power ballad.

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8. Cthulhu: This record that has received only positive reviews from specialized media from magazines and the internet follows up with a hymn dedicated to that mythological creature created by H.P. Lovecraft in his novel known The Call Of Cthulhu. Misticism in the sound is felt everywhere from beginning to end.

9. Peacemaker: This theme portraits a bounty hunter seeking for sinners to make them pay for their actions and settle the score. The eerie country feeling it’s quite remarkable in the sound as well as the plot.

10. Parasite: This composition talks about the behavior of a parasite that feeds in the darkness. The power of the riffs from Schaffer make their entrance accompanied by the forceful but also melodic vocals of Stu Block and the amazing solos of Roy Steele.

11. Spirit of the Times: This song that Jon Schaffer originally composed fo this side project called Sons Of Liberty which was released on an eponymous cd on 2011 gets a second chance with Iced Earth to be adapted to their style so it can fit into the set as a cover. It’s a tune with political implications, protests and refleziones about injustice in the world in a deep emotional way with lots of power in their vocals and the rest of the instruments. This track was used in the original soundtrack of the movie known as Silver Circle in it’s original Sons Of Liberty version, where Jon Schafferalso made a cameo appearance on a scene.

While comparing and hearing both at the same tim, in essence the differecen strives in the acoustic arrangements that follow up the electric guitar and the changes in the voice of the original that gives quite a distinctvie impression that is worth the time to check it out.

12. Highwayman: It is a cover of a tune originally performed by Jimmy Webb where Michael Poulsen from Volbeat and Russell Allen from Symphony X and Adrenaline Mobshare their talents with the band. Those lyrics portrate a man that shares his memories on the highway and the rumors surrounding his apparently fake death although he claims his still alive.

While listening to the cover and comparing it to the original performance it’s very noticeable the drastic change from country and rock to metal that they did but at the end is an excellent adaption of a wonderful theme.

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13. Outro: This album that has had positive sales in Germany arrived to the 5th position in the Billboard hit lists of popularity in that country according to the Media Control entity responsible representing the best performance in the charts for a record in it’s entire career for this group end with a bang by recording a funny pirate dialog.

Veredicto: An intense compilation with a classic and eclectic sensation to the listener related to the variey of influences and inflexions laid down in each cut while fusing the talent of every collaborator with the basic formula managed by the band as their profane and fictional god who proclames in those heterodox and mythic sacred writtings nothing but heresy.

Final Score: 9

RIYL (Recommended If You Like): Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, Grave Digger, Primal Fear.

By the way, I invite you to check out this video I recorded to promote the opening theme in it’s instrumental version created for the third season of my radio show called Selfdestruction. Please like, follow, leave a comment or share by clicking here:

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Perros demonios desde que se me desprendieron las retinas ya no veo las cosas de la misma forma, a veces creo que me malviajo demasiado pero siempre encuentro mi punto de equilibrio en la alternancia.