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Brilliance in Repackaging - 87%

Fear, July 16th, 2002

This is not a new album, but in fact, five albums, four of which are old material, remastered and repackaged. I bought it because I'm a big fan of Iced Earth, and wanted to get my hands on the cover album and the original demo.
The demo itself contains different versions of songs we all know and love, while the other three re-released albums are wonderfully remastered. I bought this thinking that it would have Matt Barlow replacing the original vocals. It doesn't. I was slightly saddened by this, but at the same time, glad they didn't just throw away their past.
For your information, the three remastered albums WILL be released individually, replacing the original versions. So, if you don't own the first three Iced Earth albums, get them now before they're gone. I'm not aware of the demo nor the cover album being sold individually, so if you want them, it would likely be best to go and buy this set.
The covers album ranges from okay to awesome. It has a couple bands repeated in it, so there isn't as much variety of bands covered as one would hope, but what is covered is done quite well. Songs like Kiss' "God of Thunder", Alice Cooper's "Dead Babies" and Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" have a difinitively new sound to them (though I still think the best version of Black Sabbath I've ever heard was Solstice of Suffering's). Other songs hold true to the original sound. The most suprising band I heard on the album was probably AC/DC. I was also hoping for a cover of a Metallica song, but to no avail.
All in all, a good boxed set, but a bit too much to pay for if you're not a big fan of Iced Earth.