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FEATURES

ICED EARTH

Plagues Of Babylon Infect Cleveland

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 09:26:13

Nick Balazs

ICED EARTH has been on a roll since the addition of ex-INTO ETERNITY singer, Stu Block into the fold. The band has enjoyed a rebirth of sorts since 2011’s Dystopia and earlier this year, they unleashed Plagues Of Babylon. The long-running metallers stormed into Cleveland, OH this past Friday (April 14th) and brought the plagues along for the ride.



The plagues swarmed the Agora Ballroom early and often as the new album were well-represented with five new songs being played. The title track, ‘Democide’, and ‘Cthulu’ garnered the most positive reactions.



Mainman Jon Schaffer, guitarist Troy Seele, bassist Luke Appleton and the mercenary drummer Jon Dette were out for blood and a raucous crowd was foaming at the mouth, moshing at every opportunity and they were given the bait with thrashers like ‘My Own Savior’ and ‘Vengeance Is Mine’.



However, the boys made no qualms about slowing things down as four ballads, including one of the newer songs with ‘If I Could See You’, were thrown into the mix. ‘Blessed Are You’, ‘Watching Over Me’, and arguably the band’s best ballad ‘A Question Of Heaven’ all called for the lighters to be waved in the air. With such a voracious crowd, it might have been wiser to play two of the four, but obviously the band felt confident to play four ballads to a mad metal mass.



These different types of songs showed the versatility of Block. He brings the right depth of emotion and doesn’t go over the top with the ballads and he can also summon the demons with high-pitched screams as he nailed the vocal gymnastics of ‘Red Baron/Blue Max’, which would have made Tim “The Ripper” Owens proud.



In the setlist department, only one song was represented from the first three albums and that is the song that bears the band’s namesake. It was very dismaying that nothing was played from this writer’s favorite album, Burnt Offerings. Beggars can’t be choosers though as at least when the bell tolled to signal ‘Burning Times’ and when ‘The Hunter’ was played; things felt right with the world.



Before the opening notes of ‘Iced Earth’ hit, Block commanded the crowd to say “Iced motherfucking Earth” and the metalheads happily gave it back as it was clear that the audience was infected with the plagues and they were at the band’s mercy by the end of the night.



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