Friday, January 24, 2014

Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon (2014)
Having regained their stride with Stu Block's entrance in the band on "Dystopia," metal legends Iced Earth's 11th album is a very worthy successor even if it doesn't quite live up to the expectations set by its predecessor. On "Plagues of Babylon," the band seem to have focused on accessibility in terms of very catchy choruses, simplified song structures, and less screaming. This results in a somewhat more generic sound, but one that eventually grew on me. There are some really strong songs on this album including the title track, "If I Could See You," "Cthulhu" and "Democide." The rest of the songs are very good even if some of them (especially "Highwayman" and "Peacemaker") feel out of place. In terms of innovation, there are guest vocals for the first time (I think) from such metal celebrities as Russell Allen and Hansi Kursch and the songs "Highwayman" and "Peacemaker" have a distinct country sound to them. Otherwise, it's the same Iced Earth sound you know and love. And I can't really fault them for that. At the end of the day, it's just a fun album with some really cool riffs and excellent choruses. I'm not gonna complain too much about that.

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