Quite possibly America's greatest hope for a heavy metal revival in the United States, ICED EARTH have without a doubt carved their name in the genre's ever-aging and progressing stone, and throughout their career have paved the way for countless numbers of traditional, thrash and power metal bands to become visible and successful. Possessing the technical tools to dazzle any skilled musician along with the songwriting knack and creativity to win over even the most particular of music fans, this band have taken their infectious sound and charisma all over the world and have built one of the most loyal followings of this decade.
ICED EARTH are a metal institution, built by the band's constant conviction towards their craft and their fans' ever-growing, maniacal support. This is what metal is supposed to be. After six splendid studio releases throughout this decade, the time has come for the world to hear ICED EARTH in their most dominating and viable form, LIVE ON STAGE! Although ICED EARTH have worked hard the last 14 years to make their name a highly-respected one on the metal forefront, only a stout core of listeners can recount much of the group's early days on the Florida scene (although the band re-located to Indiana in 1997).
Their 1991 self-titled debut, and the ‘92 follow-up Night Of The Stormrider quickly established the band as an underground metal powerhouse, but it wasn't until guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer added able-throated vocalist Matthew Barlow to the band's nucleus that the attention and quality of the material exploded. Indeed Barlow earned high praise for his work on the band's third studio album, 1995's Burnt Offerings, though it was only a hint of things to come. 1996's The Dark Saga (graced with cover art from Spawn comic creator, Todd McFarlane) heralded the band's breakthrough, as Schaffer continued to steadily hone his craft as a masterful songwriter, combining fluid vocal melodies with intense metallic riffs and elements that often verged on orchestral.
A nonstop slate of touring helped to solidify their reputation as one of the best live bands on the circuit, winning over crowds as part of the Summer Metal Meetings tour in Europe. All along, sales of the group's back catalog picked up with each newfound fan, and all too often the members faced inquiries about their demo recordings and unreleased rarities. Spending several months in Morrisound Studios with chief producer Jim Morris, ICED EARTH meticulously reworked songs from their earliest days together, along with all of the material from their infamous Enter The Realm demo tape, and select songs from their first two classics. This way, fans would be able hear some classic songs with the line-up and technology at their strongest. Thus, Days Of Purgatory was born (the name refers to the group's original moniker, Purgatory). 1998 saw the rearing of ICED EARTH's sixth album, the bold and diversely-written, Something Wicked This Way Comes. With a similar approach and framework as its predecessor The Dark Saga, Something Wicked... pushed the band over the edge of dominance (while also debuting on the German pop charts at #19) and solidified them as true innovators and leaders of the ‘90s metal movement.
Iced Earth Metal Band
Again scanning a good portion of the globe ICED EARTH toured in support of Something Wicked... for the next year, and it was during this period that Jon Schaffer's long-time vision of a live album for the band began to take shape. Recorded in the fall of 1998 in Greece along with 5,000 of the band's closest fans, Alive In Athens is the culmination of 10 years worth of hard work and dedication for the band, and is the reward that true ICED EARTH fans have been waiting for. This double CD release spans the entire career of the band from the early days ("Iced Earth", "Stormrider", "Travel In Stygian") to the present ("Burning Times", "The Hunter", "Melancholy (Holy Martyr)"), and shows just how good heavy metal can be when done properly with no restrictions. As the popular music community leans towards the heavy end of the musical spectrum once again, it's nice to know that ICED EARTH have never really cared about what was popular, and their fans have stuck by their side since day one. This is for the fans of ICED EARTH, the best metal fans in the world...