Iced Earth

Metaldays - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It’d been a long time since we saw Iced Earth, so noticing them as a semi headliner (under Marilyn Mason) here at the Metaldays festival was definitely a plus for us.
They in turn had just released their latest album, Incorruptible, and were happy to be on the road promoting it, it seemed.

“Alright brothers and sisters of metal, do you still have energy out there? Let me hear it!”
- Stuart ‘Stu’ Block (vocals)

The show was delayed some 15-20 minutes due to very heavy winds and rain, but choosing that over total cancellation was fine by me. The weather wasn’t going to steal this opportunity away from us!
Not surprisingly though, the weather, and the resulting lack of music and general festival atmosphere, had had an impact on the Metaldays crowd. Things were going slow, and even though the Iced Earth show was fairly well attended, the band had its work cut out for it in getting people back in the party mood.
Kicking off with the new song The Great Heathen Army, opener of the Incorruptible album, was good, but when the classic Burning Times came on as second song, things really began to move!
The band members worked hard at breaking the standstill the festival had gone into, with all four in the front getting completely into it, rocking out with headbanging, posing together or by themselves, and seldom staying in one spot for too long. I didn’t instantly recognise Luke Appleton on the bass, probably because it’s been a while since we saw the band last, and Jake Dreyer on lead guitar was completely new to me, having only joined the band last year. Brent Smedley was apparently back behind the drums once again, but from my position I could hardly see him – his playing sounded good and tight though, so I have no complaints there. Jon Schaffer delivered the riffing backbone as always, walking around a bit as well at given times, but it was Block who put in the greatest effort of all in getting the show, and the crowd, on the road, as it were. Nothing strange in that, he is the frontman of the band, even though it is Schaffer’s baby in many respects, and he fills the role perfectly. Block gave a lively performance, and was quick to command involvement from the crowd, as well as commending them for their efforts.

“Are you feeling a little evil tonight?!”
- Block (vocals)

As mentioned, it was the classics that garnered the loudest response from the audience, but the band has consistently put out as a minimum at least one or two lasting classics per album, so we were well covered from beginning to end. I’m sad nothing from Horror Show made the cut, but hey, you can’t have it all, can you? I suspect the band had to cut something from their setlist due to the delay though, as they held a quick, huddled band-meeting close to the end of the show.
Burning Times did put the audience into gear, but it was Pure Evil that saw the first real sing along sessions coming on, as Block led us into a well-participated chant after the first solo, and later that same song had the audience applauding along, again expertly led by Block.
I Died For You hit the bulls-eye, as evident by the now loudly cheering audience, and after this, things were looking more and more up. The crowdsurfers got up to their place on top of the rest of us, while we tried to carry them of merely by the power of our voices as we sang along to one fan favourite after the other.

I’ve mentioned this in many reviews in the past, as well as in this review – I think Stu Block is an excellent fit for Iced Earth. He compliments the band perfectly, has a great voice, and an even better stage presence. That being said, I did miss Matt Barlow just a bit during the finale with Watching Over Me. This one song wasn’t handled quite as well by Block, as it has been in the past by Barlow, I’m sad to say. Still, all the other songs, including those of the Barlow era, went down just as they should, and overall, I’m very happy with the concert. Iced Earth turned out to be just the band for the job of opening this festival back up, after the weather had temporarily closed it down. Well done guys, well done.


Great Heathen Army
Burning Times
Pure Evil
Vengeance Is Mine
Seven Headed Whore
I Died For You
Dark Saga
My Own Savior
The Hunter
Watching Over Me

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