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Iced Earth – Enter The Realm (Reissue) Award winner

Iced Earth
Enter The Realm (Reissue)
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 25 March 2019, 4:23 AM

On April 12th 1989, American Metal legends ICED EARTH released their  “Enter The Realm,” demo.   Thirty years later, without having a bad album under their belt, ICED EARTH come full circle and gives back this piece of American Metal history to their fans.  It has been mastered from the original sound sources and sounds just as good, if not better, then a lot of their other releases.

At this point, they had already been running under the moniker PURGATORY since 1985 and even released several demos and an EP before switching to ICED EARTH in the late 80’s. If you’re a loyal IE fan, such as myself, you need this in your collection.  Considering I was just six when this came out I obviously missed it.  When it was released in their box set years ago, I was too late to order, and it was sold out forever.  After missing it twice, I jumped on the chance to review the promo.  Although things are arranged different, the songs themselves aren’t too far removed from what you would find on their self-titled debut.  However, the energy and atmosphere is quite a bit different.  It probably goes without saying but these versions are more raw and played with the fervor of a band hungry to succeeded.

Although they have always incorporated a variety of styles, the early days of ICED EARTH were decidedly drenched with Thrash Metal infused into their Traditional style.  Most of the tracks presented here are near unrelenting in their fury but ICED EARTH’s appeal has always been their keen sense of melody.  Even during these formative days, that was presented very well. The first track, “Enter The Realm,” is a sweet but very short intro.  It does a good job in introducing from the get go that IE aren’t your average Heavy Metal band.  The intro ends perfectly into the first proper track, “Colors.”  This has always been a classic IE song and here it is at its most powerful.  Adam’s vocals are often viewed as a required taste but I always found them to be more than adequate.  He is no Barlow or Block (who is?) but he is very capable and his style fits the band’s early sound like a glove. The song is a great representation of the band’s sound because the rhythm guitar from Jon is just…well, I’ve always thought he is one of the best rhythm guitar players ever, if not THE best.  His riffs on “Colors” confirm that over and over. That keen sense of melody I talked about earlier?  The middle part of the song is why I’m saying something like that—it is just a wonderful passage that displays everything so great about IE.

Nightmares,” is a speedy song with a vicious vocal attack that hooks you in, as do the intense riffs during the chorus. As far as the kinship between Jon’s rhythm and Shawver’s leads go, this song is the best on the album because their interplay together is so damn good.  “To Curse The Sky,” is a mini epic; a dynamic song with a lot of little different parts that add up to a much larger whole.  Quieter guitar passages bookends the song, with the middle being one part Thrash and another part perfect Metal with enough melody to keep things balanced on a very sharp edge.

Solitude,” is basically just an interlude although it is well done, especially the lead guitar.  It fades out quickly just before the uber classic “ICED EARTH” song rears up its monstrous head. Adam’s venom drenched high pitched wail pierces through the ravaging Metal.  There is a brief melodic part around the two-minute mark that works perfectly with another passage of Adam giving it his all.  The last half the song is Thrash Metal bliss, a nonstop barrage of guitars, bass, and drums that add quite the crescendo the song.

If you missed out on this the first couple times like I did, or you are just a huge IE fan like I am, this is an obvious next choice for your Metal collection.

Songwriting:9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enter The Realm
2. Colors
3. Nightmares
4. To Curse The Sky
5. Solitude
6. Iced Earth
Lineup:
Gene Adam – Vocals
Randy Shawver – Lead Guitars
Jon Schaffer – Rhythm Guitars, vocals
Dave Abell – Bass
Greg Seymour – Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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