Iced Earth haven’t really switched it up too much since 2011’s ‘Dystopia’ refreshed their sound with newbie Stu Block‘s insanely ranged vocals. They still play pure power metal tunes with gut punching riffs, so you know what to expect from Iced Earth to a degree. ‘Plagues Of Babylon’, the band’s latest offering attempts to unleash more power metal madness upon the world.
One thing that certainly hasn’t changed with Iced Earth is that they still write huge, brilliant and conceptual ripping metal. From the thudding intro of the title-track opener to the low-tuned and gritty ‘The Culling’, to the rock ‘n’ roll-y rifforamma album closer, ‘Highwayman’. Even the softer (call it a ballad if you wish, it’s not too far off) ‘If I Could See You’ is a bit of a cheesefest, but still catchy and powerful. Iced Earth‘s songwriting and riff delivery remains consistent throughout, which is surprising for a band’s eleventh album.
However, whilst ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is a decent and consistent album, it lacks a certain kick in the nads that ‘Dystopia’ had. Firstly, Stu Block‘s vocal range was shown off more on the previous album; his Rob Halford-esque high notes were contrasted with his epic low pipes, but on ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ he seems to have picked one vocal tone and stuck with it.
Another thing that slightly dampens this record is that soundwise they’ve gone a lot darker. Whilst ‘Dystopia’ sounded like Judas Priest‘s ‘Painkiller’, this album sounds more like Metallica‘s own ‘Black Album’; still huge sounding, just a little more dark and ploddy, which is a dull affair after the frantic experience that is ‘Dystopia’.
Overall, ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ is a great album that delivers more of what we want from Iced Earth and, whilst it’s a little more tame than their previous albums, it’s still pretty decent and has a heap load of power metal tunes from one the best bands in that business. For brilliant power metal, you still head to Iced Earth.
Written by Jack King (@Jackingy)