Released By : Century Media Records
Genre : Heavy Metal
Link : http://www.icedearth.com/
3. Boiling Point
4. Anguish of Youth
6. Dark City
8. Days Of Rage
9. End Of Innocence
10. Soylent Green (Bonus Track)
11. Iron Will (Bonus Track)
12. Tragedy And Triumph
13. Anthem (String Mix)
It seems like for years now that every time talks begin about an upcoming new release from ICED EARTH that the main conversation points leading up to it about yet another new member or two. My counting has the tally up to nearly thirty different musicians being involved in this band since their formation which is probably enough to rival just about any other metal band in existence. Oddly enough though they have still always been able to retain somewhat of a consistent overall style and have managed to release mostly great albums with the exception of a couple that are little less respected in general terms.
When the band first announced their latest vocalist Stu Block I must admit I thought it was the wrong move. Sure the band were very unfortunate to once again lose a talent like Matt Barlow but there seemed to be so many good singers to choose from and I hadn’t previously been very impressed by Block’s efforts in INTO ETERNITY. Obviously Jon Schafer and his cohorts new what they were doing though because Block has proven to be a perfect fit and probably the best thing to happen to the band in almost a decade. On DYSTOPIA the band sound re-energized and while it’s not going to be remembered as the band’s best ever effort it sure should be looked at as their most exciting. Seriously, how long has it been since you have actually been excited about a new ICED EARTH album rather than nervous…… Well, after hearing this one I’m already chomping at the bit to see if they can do it all again!
Over the years ICED EARTH have managed to craft a pretty unique sound that mixes all of the best parts of Power Metal, Traditional Metal and Power Metal and while things are no different this time around it’s one of the best examples of a cross-genre album the metal world has had in quite a while. The Power Metal influence is slightly less than usual but there’s still a really epic feel to the whole album. I’d say the overall vibe here is a bit of mix between METALLICA circa AND JUSTICE FOR ALL and TESTAMENT circa LOW with some IRON MAIDEN thrown in for good measure. Schafer’s lead guitar work is at least as good as ever if not a bit better and Block’s mixture of lower-end vocals and classic metal shrieks is perfect, and throughout most of this album he sounds tough as all hell.
Highlights for me personally were V, TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH, ANTHEM and the totally awesome title track DYSTOPIA, which is for me is one of the best songs the band has ever written. But the best part about the album is there isn’t one single track that I didn’t like and they’re all keepers, a real rarity these days in the metal world. Those coming into this album expecting it to topple SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES or the mighty DAYS OF PURGATORY may feel a little short-changed with DYSTOPIA, but hey, it’s a different era now and there’s no reason not to get right behind this album. Well done ICED EARTH, this album is a true testament to your constant attempt to keep the band in the upper tier of modern day old-school inspired metal acts!
Written By ZeeZee
Rating : 9/10