‘Plagues of Babylon’ is Iced Earth’s eleventh studio album and dropped in the states on January 21, 2014. Iced Earth is a staple in any heavy metal lovers music catalog (this metalhead anyway) and this album is f’ing amazing (especially with earbuds in!).
John Shaffer, the only original member of Iced Earth, produced the album on Century Media. ‘Plagues of Babylon’ is well-produced with each instrument and vocals complimenting each other instead of competing for the spotlight.
I have always been a firm believer that if the title track is the first track on the album that means there was little effort put into the recording and the whole thing is garbage. Iced Earth made a liar out of me.
Let’s break it down.
The album begins with a killer hook (a beginning hook – go figure) roughly about two minutes long complete with drums reminiscent of some cult-like ceremony on an island brimming with fire. It is the longest song on the album and just sets the listener up for more badassery. Yeah… badass. There is singing and some great vocal harmonies (thanks, Stu).
While I know at this point in the music world it is increasingly difficult to come up with a riff that is unlike any other riff, there are many moments in ‘Demoncide’ that are reminiscent of Metallica and Slayer. One part of the song eerily mirrors ‘Battery’ off ‘Master of Puppets.’ I won’t say where, but you should be able to figure it out yourself. Still, the song kicks major ass.
‘Spirit of the Times’ and ‘If I Could Only See You’ sound similar in many aspects. They are both ballad-esque in essence which is unusual on a heavy metal album. The quota of ballads is usually one song; if there is a downtempo song at all. Still, the songs are poignant and break up the album for a much needed breather from headbanging in the car so close to the steering wheel.
This is a great album in its entirety. I didn’t much care for the ballads (even though they broke the album up nicely) and a couple of the songs sound like each other. Still, an impressive release from a band that started in the early 80’s.
1. Plagues of Babylon
3. The Culling
4. Among The Living Dead
6. The End
7. If I Could See You
11. Spirit Of The Times