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Live album here! - 79%

UltraBoris, August 28th, 2002

This is pretty much the only album after Burnt Offerings worth getting by Iced Earth. The songs here are so much better than the studio versions. Even the "Stormrider" songs are quite decent, missing only Greely's hideous shrieks but compensated highly by the fact that all the riffs are definitely there.

Pretty much every indispensable Iced Earth song is here, with one exception. "Angels' Holocaust", "Pure Evil", check. "Burnt Offerings" - nooooo!!! Where is it?? Well, "Diary" and "Brainwashed" are here, and so is "Dante's Inferno". The live version sounds far more coherent than the studio version.

From their newer albums... we have the very good "Burning Times", also some of their crappier moments, like "Melancholy", "A Question of Heaven" (actually quite good live) and the unfixably grotesque "Watching Over Me". Sorry, guys - when you were a thrash band at one point, silly ballads are not going to cut it. But at least it is slightly bearable, unlike the studio version, which is complete crap.

Is it total overkill? Yes, at three albums long. But nothing really demands to be executed via skip button, and if you wait long enough, most everything good is here. Oh yeah, "Iced Earth" and "Path that I Choose" are here too... then all the random filler stuff that really doesn't stand out on any studio album is done quite nicely here.

Yes, live albums are very good in general for metal bands. This is no exception - even if you got sick of Schaffer's triplets halfway through The Dark Saga, this is still worth getting - the live performance raises the quality of the later-era songs to almost that of Stormrider and Burnt Offerings. And Barlow does a pretty damn good job, not resorting to the over-emoting that he is guilty of in the studio quite as often. Definitely worth getting.

Oh yes, get only the 3CD version. Fuck the rest.