Seeing that my favourite album of all time was missing from the database, I had only one choice. My first review would be about the greatest live album and greatest album in general in the history of recorded music – at least to me. The unbelievable piece of history that is Iced Earth´s Alive In Athens. I must warn you, I will use many grandiose words and be foolishly swaggering here, but if one album deserves it, it is this one.
I love live albums. I love to hear my favourite bands rip through their classics
in a live situation, when a band is most vulnerable. I don´t mind when
live albums have mistakes in them, it just shows that the bands making divine
music are only humans like us. But listening to Alive In Athens makes
one genuinely wonder if Matthew Barlow, Jon Schaffer, James MacDonough, Larry
Tarnowski, Brent Smedley and Rick Risberg are from this galaxy. Of course most
of the praise should go to the inhumanly awesome song writing abilities of Mr.
Schaffer (a personal idol and example in integrity, talent and faith to myself,
no matter what any of you might say about his character and ways of leading
his own band), but the performances on this album are frighteningly good.
That is a short quotation of Jon Schaffer´s message inside the sleeve of disc 1, and Jon could not have said it any better. The emotion, the intensity and the power on this record are unlike any other I have heard from any other band or artist. Recorded on January 23rd and 24th at The Rodon in Athens, Greece, this record truly makes you feel that you were among the 5000+ metalheads that were banging their heads and necks into oblivion and shouting their collective lungs out on those nights. The very special thing about those nights was that IE played completely different sets on both nights. This was made to of course please the extremely loyal Greek fans, but to make the live album a good overview of the bands entire career. This is one of the many facts that make this album so special and great.
From the early thrash-injected chunks of mayhem like Travel In Stygian,
Path I Choose and Cast In Stone, to the more peaceful, but equally
fist-raising half-ballads I Died For You and Blessed Are You,
the band and fans feed energy off each other to raise the atmosphere to heavenly
heights. IE´s complex mixture of old school metal, bombastic
power metal and nasty thrash is played with such precision that it must be heard
to be believed. The audience is simply put – rabid. From singing along
beautifully with my favourite “throatmaster” of all time, Matthew
“The Ultimate Vocal God” Barlow on the painfully beautiful masterpieces
Melancholy (Holy Martyr), A Question Of Heaven and Watching
Over Me, to shouting with seething rage and power on the “mastermoshers”
like Stormrider, Stand Alone and Violate, the listener
would have to be deaf and emotionless not to feel the strength and energy that
surrounded The Rodon on those nights. Every time the band holds a short break
between songs the audience begins chanting “Iced Earth, Iced Earth”
with crazed passion. They make 5000 people sound like 100000 with amazing ease.
That is simply what Iced Earth can do to their fans.
All of this could be ruined by the one trap that many live albums fall into
– poor sound quality. But not here, oh no. The sounds are crystal clear
and every instrument is balanced perfectly in the mix with the god-like vocals.
Even the “choirs from the depths of hell” chanting in the middle
of the gargantuan metal mastery of Dante´s Inferno cut through the music
and into your spinal cord causing major shivering.
Killing Songs :
Every single one of the Iced Earth masterpieces concealed within these 3 holy discs!
|Aleksie quoted CLASSIC|
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