Iced Earth
I Walk Among You EP (1st review)

“The fans have spoken and we delivered it.” – Jon Schaffer, Iced Earth guitarist.

Since the December return of Matt Barlow to the Iced Earth fold, fans and critics have speculated the ‘classic Iced Earth’ vocalist’s ability to bring back both the noise and the funk of previous releases, perhaps moreso one than the other. I, for one, freely welcomed Matt’s return, though I have a great amount of respect for Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens and his tenure over two albums and an EP; much as I enjoy the bejesus out of Glorious Burden, it is decidedly not quite as awesome as Horror Show or Dark Saga, perhaps because Burden lacked the visceral bite in Owens’ performance that had made Barlow the shining star in Iced Earth.

“Please, satiate our appetites, Jon Schaffer; let us hear but a shred of new material featuring the magical vocal chords of Matt Barlow that we might ejaculate our collective metal wads at your majesty.”

Jon Schaffer has probably never heard the above phrase, but I’m sure the demand for a new Matt track was fairly high (if not mandatory). Consequently, we are presented with three tracks (in physical copy, anyways…), two of which were featured in Framing Armageddon,  so without being waylaid by further jackassery, my review of the new track ‘I Walk Alone’ is a resounding “average.”

It’s not that Barlow sounds bad on the track. It’s just one of those songs in the Iced Earth catalogue that I don’t reckon will get a whole lot of playtime in the long run. It’s a pedestrian performance from a band that’s pretty good at wowing its target audience (lest we forget the inevitable comparing Iced Earth’s entire catalogue to Dante’s Inferno), featuring no truly dynamic highs and lows. Can’t say I can blame him for the lack of high notes – there’s really not a whole lot to play with riff-wise on this track – and it reflects in how the vocal parts were written.

The two rewrites, ‘Setian Massacre’ and ‘The Clouding’ are both well done, ‘Setian Massacre’ alone being worth the price of admission for this EP, but I can’t help but wonder what ‘A Charge to Keep’ (an iTunes exclusive track, thank you very much) sounds like with Barlow. Who does this kinda shit? I mean, I’m not against re-releasing or re-recording old material (‘Days of Purgatory’ is pretty awesome), but why make some of the tracks exclusive to one type of medium? I want a physical copy of my music so I can take in the whole of the work – artwork and lyrics included, the former admittedly being the reason I got into Iced Earth in the first place. Where’s the weight of an mp3?

Anyways, if you don’t mind having a copy of the album in either form, get the iTunes version since I’m sure ‘A Charge to Keep’ rules (but what would I know?). If you’re a stickler for the copy of the CD, you’re probably going to feel like me: like you’re getting gypped for not succumbing to the age of the computer, violently resistant technophobes that we are.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kris Yancey
June 5th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Alex

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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