Review: Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon

No matter how hard I try some times, I can never get myself to dislike Iced Earth. "Why the hell would you TRY to dislike Iced Earth, Casper?!". Well, that is because just about every good song they have is written with a formula. For fun, try singing "I see the sadness in their eyes, melancholy in their cries" over just about any song they have and you'll notice how well it fits. This put aside though (even though it is yet again the case with Plagues of Babylon), this album is one of the first good albums released this year and the lads of Iced Earth have done their magic yet again.

The thing is that there is little to be said about Iced Earth that hasn't been clear already since 1990. If you've ever heard any Iced Earth track then Plagues of Babylon won't be anything new. Possibly being both the band's strength and weakness, their consistency is once again proven. I'm saying it like this because to me it's true. No matter how refreshing Iced Earth's personal style is, from album to album there's not much difference, and when tracks like The End? or Cthulhu are playing I almost feel like they're lost tracks from The Glorious Burden (or any other album if it wasn't for the recording quality). This is a weird aspect for a band that has had so many line up changes that by now they could start a complete orchestra of ex-members, but hey, I'm sure Jon Schaffer has picked all members for the specific reason of always sounding the same.

Something that stood out to me is how much Stu Block sounds like Barlow from time to time. This definitely contributes to that whole "lost tracks of The Glorious Burden" statement just now and I really did enjoy hearing him adapt to Iced Earth more and more (even though his own vocals as heard on Dystopia and the more clean-oriented songs are great as well)

Possibly the biggest disappointment on the album was the lack of aggression. The more aggressive songs like Resistance and Among The Living Dead are way too often intermittent by a moment of "slow the fuck down", something I guess I should be used to by now of Iced Earth, but still something I always keep hoping for. I'm just always hoping for a new Red Baron/Blue Max.

In short, if you've ever enjoyed any Iced Earth song, you'll definitely enjoy this album as well, but don't expect to be blown away with anything new. It's Iced Earth with the solid, safe quality it's always had.

 Rating: 3.7 - ‎Review by Casper Leijen - ‎Jan 20, 2014

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