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ChildClownOutlet, January 2nd, 2012

Jon Schaffer, you talentless bastard. What a way to start off a review, but he is, there's no denying that. Iced Earth could have been a fantastic band if Schaffer would get his head out of his ass and make some competent riffs and better songwriting(nothing to do with his personality people, I'm all for AMERICA FUCK YEAH). I could forgive him for "The Glorious Burden" solely for the fact that Tim Owens sang, but other than that, the last 3 albums have been mediocre. It's a good thing their newest album "Dystopia" brought them to their former, actually, it didn't, it was a step up from the shitfest I call "The Crucible Of Man." Ahem, I do enjoy Iced Earth. Their s/t album was fantastic, I loved Gene Adam's vocals(yes, I am telling the truth), and of course, Matt Barlow is one of my favorite vocalists. So what of the "Night Of The Stormrider?" Well, it can cause anal bleeding that's for sure. The good kind.

For this album, we have Jon Greely, who was fired for stealing cash from the bassist, and apparently, for insulting a Jewish man praying during a concert. Why, in all of God's shining glory, would you pray during a metal concert? Who knows, but Greely's voice is 2x better than Adam's. He's able to pull of banshee shrieks and low growls that send shivers down my spine. He does this extremely well in "The Path I Choose," a song that rips with Schaffers trademark CHUG CHUG CHUG, and then out of nowhere, "During the last rays of....THE SACRED MAAAWWN" That's how he pronounces moon apparently. Randy Shawver is a very talented guitarist, hitting the solos beautifully, especially on "Mystical End," where he and Schaffer are able to spit out some Maiden style riffs and with a touch of the Middle East. Dave Abell get's the job done on bass, and Secchiari is a competent drummer, infusing the double bass during the masterpiece that is "Travel In Stygian."

We also have some other exceptional tracks, my favorite being "Pure Evil." I cannot tell you how many years that opening riff has been in my head, and when they played this song live during the House Of Blues concert, gdgsfgfgs, orgasm. This could've been a higher score, but I felt "Angels Holocaust" was much better with Matt Barlow on the mic. So basically, this, Burnt Offerings, Horror Show, the S/T album, and the Dark Saga are the only albums worth getting. Sure, get Something Wicked This Way Comes, it's a fun album I guess, but stick to the classics, unless you like hearing recycled riffs being used over and OVER again. Schaffer. Stop it.