Iced Earth

Alive in Athens (Century Media)
Enslain Magazine Issue #7
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I don't think it can be debated that Iced Earth belongs in a live setting for optimal listening pleasure. Their studio sound replaces a good deal of their energy and anger with calculated precision, which is important to an extent, however usually over done in the cases of most power metal releases. This live release blends their primal rawness with enough production to display it, and not too much to destroy it. One aspect that I'm not thrilled with, though unavoidable and expected, is that each of the songs retains a certain guitar sound and general vibe, making it almost impossible to sit through all 22 songs. The song selection and perfect timing throughout each song makes it worth trying though. If you listen to the insanely fast and precise musicianship and the heartfelt conviction in Matt Barlow's vocals, you will understand why the crowd sounds as enthused as they are. If you are unable to catch Iced Earth in action, "Alive in Athens" definitely comes in for a close second. -- Lady Enslain