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Iced Earth's live DVD, Alive in Athens features a great performance from the Power Metal/Thrash Metal band, Iced Earth. The DVD features two concerts from back to back nights which adds up to a 28 song set list. The set list is great featuring classics like the Something Wicked trilogy, the epic Dante's Inferno, Pure Evil, and Stormrider. The concert features one of the best performances I have ever seen on a live DVD, rivaling great live DVD’s by legendary bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
The performances by all of the musicians are flawless. Matt Barlow never misses a note singing and sounds better live than he does on the albums/. Barlow’s emotional performance on Watching Over Me takes an average ballad and makes it great, far superior than the album version. Another high point is Barlow’s epic vocals on the Something Wicked trilogy, the highlight of the concert. Brent Smeadley and James Macdonough hold down the rhythm section great while Jon Schaffer provides great rhythm guitar work. The rhythm section makes the songs seem twice as intense as they are on the albums, adding much to the songs. They take some average songs such as some of the material off The Dark Saga and make it much better than the studio album versions. Larry Tarnowski also provides some memorable lead guitar parts in the concert; however the production seems to focus more on Jon Schaffer’s rhythm guitar rather than the lead guitar, which is good, because Jon’s Rhythm guitar is what really drives Iced Earth songs.
The only flaw in this DVD is the production. While the sound quality is great, making you feel like you are at the show, the filming of the concert is not the best quality, and you can tell that it was a low budget for filming the concert and that there were only a few cameramen there to film, but they do an decent job of filming. Being a drummer myself, I would have liked to have seen more than just the occasional close up shot of the drumming, but the camera crew seemed more focused on Barlow and Schaffer mainly, which is okay, as it allows you to see Barlow putting on arguably the best live vocal performance of all time. These are just minor flaws however, and don’t really take much away from an outstanding performance by the band.
This is a top notch performance from a great metal band that I would recommend to any metal fan, regardless of what genres you like. It covers a lot of Iced Earth material, giving you a chance to see a lot of songs performed that aren't regularly played at Iced Earth shows. This is also a great DVD to get if you have never heard anything by Iced Earth, as it covers most of their best material.
Highlights: Barlow’s Vocal performance, Dante’s Inferno, Stormrider, Something Wicked Trilogy.
Well, everything about this is awesome, besides the editing, and direction... The music kicks the shit out of anything I've ever seen live, and the sound and picture quality is unbelievable...but...they cut out the track that IS Iced Earth...and it seems that the camera men (or the editors) wanted us to look at Jon, while Larry is playing a solo. And it doesn’t happen just once, but throughout. You don't even see him until the second song.
Jon himself said he didn't like the DVD, but I have to say, it is still not a waste of money.
You can tell there is a lot of passion going into this show. From the get-go the look in the eyes of the band when they kick off "Burning Times" is one of pure electricity. If my eyes don't deceive me, I can almost see a tear in Jon's eye while they played "Watching Over Me", a ballad about Schaffer’s life long friend, who was killed in an auto accident, as stated. It is hard to find a flaw in the stage show, you know, what you paid to see. Even Brent Smedly's Spider-Man hat made the band seem so cool and together.
James McDonough is a monster; flowing locks, bad ass tattoos, oh yeah and his amazing bass skills. And Matt Barlow...the man doesn't miss a single note; never did I find myself cringing with a flat note, unlike some of the Metal (lica) videos I own. The mass of red hair swinging around the stage give the set a powerful, and enchanting feel and it just draws you in and keeps you going.
The highlight of the DVD is the "Night of the Stormrider" block, where they play the first 3 songs of that epic practically in sync with the album, kind of makes me arm get tired watching. And when they busted out "Dante's Inferno" the crowd and the band gave it there all for 16 and a half minutes with unprecedented precision.
Although with the absence of the song "Iced Earth" it was a remarkable DVD his heart pounding adrenaline and force that make Iced Earth on of the best metal bands around today.
I bought this DVD on a whim. I had heard a couple Iced Earth songs, thought they were OK, etc. etc. I went into a record store and saw this, and thought: Hmmm, $20 (fairly cheap for a DVD) for 28 songs. Sounds like a deal.
I was blown out of the water when I watched it.
I had only heard rumours of Alive In Athen's awesomeness before I picked up the DVD, and I was very impressed by what I saw. I was not even an Iced Earth fan before I bought the DVD, and now I am a hardcore fan. The content is so worthwhile and gimmick free, it may be one of the best music DVDs of all time.
First of all: the production. It has been criticized (even by Jon Schaffer himself) of the lack of cameras, the low budget of it all, etc. While they do have a point, it's not poor quality. When Tarnowski solos, you often get camera shots of him; when Barlow's belts out a verse it focuses on him; when Schaffer sings backup it focuses on him. Simple? Yes. Still good? Yes. Too many DVDs, in my opinion, go overboard on the cameras and editing (Maiden's Death on the Road, anyone?) and causes the viewers mild headaches.
Second: The setlist. It's mindblowing. 28 of Iced Earth's greatest songs, performed immaculately. The only complaints here is that "A Question of Heaven" and "Burnt Offerings" are missing; however "A Question of Heaven" was supposedly omitted for technical reasons. A representative sampling of all of Iced Earth's albums to 1999; it's the best way to get into the band and appreciate their genius.
Third: The performances. Schaffer and Barlow are at their best, providing searing vocals and ripping rythym guitars. Macdonough is pounding his bass like crazy; unfortunately, the bass is not high in the mix to hear his wide range of styles in the different songs. Tarnowski plays most of the guitar solos well, with the exception of a ouple of solos from "Night of the Stormrider" and "Burnt Offerings". Smedley is grooving along like usual, and his dancing on the bass drums really gives a hard edge to the sound.
Fourth: The extras. Not much here, just 10 minutes of backstage and Jon Schaffer in Athens. But you have 160 minutes of performance; do you really need them anyways? They're mildly interesting.
In conclusion, a great DVD for the hardcore fans, as well as a great DVD for the casual fans. Simple production, great setlist and performances, and all the energy Iced Earth brings to the stage captured perfectly on this DVD. A must for all fans of metal.
Oh dear, I may act like a faggoty fanboy but Iced Earth is my favorite band and I have anticipated the release of an Iced Earth DVD for ages, and finally after there first major live gig taped and put out I was elated. But with every passing year I wondered if it would be released, and finally about 8 years later I heard the great news.
After I got it I put it in and looked in the list of songs and I was extremely excited about the songs, but when I realized that one of my favorites, "A Question of Heaven" was missing, my heart sank. It was due to technical problems with the (small) camera crew and/or video problems. Oh well moving on, I can't complain about the set list of songs, all the fan favorites, all the great sing-a-longs, headbangers, and classics were still there. Crowd favorites like Violate, Pure Evil, and my personal favorite Stand Alone all serve to be the highlights. But I cannot leave out the outstanding Something Wicked trilogy and the sorrowful display of Matt's vocals on Melancholy and I Died for You. This DVD really shows the wide array of Iced Earth's catalogue.
From the first moment I heard the intro to 'Burning Times' to the lovely piano intro in 'Coming Curse' I was not once disappointed by the performance of the band, rhythm guitarist god Jon Schaffer was on the top of his game and all his riffs were perfect as usual. Check his guitar out, it's possibly the most badass guitar I've ever seen! James MacDonough was present on stage with his wild hair and killer tattoos, and Brent Smedley made his presence known, he can be quite the madman on the kit, he shows his talent by keeping pace with everything well. Lead guitarist Larry Tarnowski I think is tied with Randall Shawver as Iced Earth's most talented leads, Larry really has a nice style of playing that molds perfectly with the dark style of Iced Earth and the quick even pacing of Jon's rhythm.
And of course the highlight of the band, vocalist Matthew Barlow. Wow, he displays such amazing stage prescense and really commands the crowd. Not only that, he has the perfect voice and really shows how versatile he is from the high shrieks to the low growls which all sound exactly like studio versions which really proves the talent of a musician. As a side note - I fucking wish I had his hair.
As a live DVD release, it might not compare up to the other big releases of other bands due to lack of Extras and lack of dynamics on the overall experience, but I got what I wanted. It gives you a band playing live, no bullshit, nothing that you have to watch before, it goes straight into the music with little ado and for those who care about extras there happens to be backstage setup and preparation and Jon Schaffer walking around Athens. Nothing special. The only reason preventing me giving this a 100 is due to the missing "A Question of Heaven" and for the overall lack of professional camera crew, but in the long run that's just being picky.
For Iced Earth fans, THIS.IS.A.MUST. For a fan of any form of metal and live concert DVDs, you should check this out as well.
After almost a decade of waiting, finaly some fortunate ones will be able to check on DVD the show that became a classic Iced Earth item, and that was release also in a triple CD. Before watch the DVD it is necessary to say that the american version of DVD has a booklet with the original coments of the triple CD and all lyrics of the 30 song from the show. I will not coment here track by track, because each one of us has our favorite songs and it would be a hypocrisy to try to change the opinion of somebody with some few lines.
In general the DVD has a good quality, in spite of the simplicity of the menu, extras (only eight minutes with Iced Earth backstage stuffs and Jon Schaffer in Atens showing some historical places) and except for the fact that the whole show was recorded with just one camera, the DVD worth for the almost 3 hours of Iced Earth in a excelent show. Mandatory material for the real Iced Earth fans.
The only thing that is unforgivable is that they, again, leave “Colors” out of the DVD. Is there a possibility of Melancholy DVD? There are things that are practically impossiable to be understood, but...