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Iced Earth - Alive in Athens

1999 Century Media Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-09-04

Iced Earth pretty much epitomize power metal in the 90s. Having released album after album to a growing audience, the Florida based band has made a huge jump and relocated to the new metal capitol of the U.S., Chicago. In the interim before the next full length, we get this, an excellent live album which is by no means any filler for the masses. Over two hours in length, my only complaint about this may be that it's just so fucking LONG! But that's necessary, as most IE tracks are over the 8 minute mark, little epics all their own. And then all 16:23 of Dante's Inferno kicks in, and even Iron Maiden are awed by these usurpers of the throne. OK, I'm laying it on a bit thick, but that's my mood when I hear Iced Earth, it's meaty, powerful, metal music. Even the "ballads" are strong, putting a tear in everyone's eye (and more reminiscent of Caress of Steel era Rush than anything else to me!) and a million lighters in the air. They were smart to do this in Athens, as the crowd (yeah, I'm sure it's boosted) know every freakin' work in all the lyrics. And the band? They sound stronger than ever, with Matthew Barlow's vocals really working here, being perfect for the new material as well as his interpretations of the older stuff. The mix is Awesome, and those twin guitars work their magic everywhere. Brent Smedley also puts in a great job behind the set, and the drums sound just HUGE. Studio quality (and not to be cynical, but probably "fixed" with technology), Alive in Athens is worth it, just to hear the Iced Earth perform all their classics as they play them now with excellent clarity.