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Jon Schaffer’s Purgatory – Purgatory Award winner

Jon Schaffer’s Purgatory
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 12 December 2018, 7:16 AM

Metal legends ICED EARTH were formed in 1985 by Jon Schaffer but they didn’t take that name until 1988—before that, they were known as PURGATORYSchaffer has reunited most of the line up from those days and released a five track EP, containing songs that were written in the mid 80s.  The album is dedicated to Richard Bateman, the band’s original bassist, who died before the EP went into production.  Modern ICED EARTH has grown and matured over the years but their first few albums were definitely heavy with Thrash Metal elements so this album is similar in style to those, especially their first album.

Gene Adam, who also sang on the first IE album, gives a stunning vocal performance—he has without a doubt grown as a singer over the years.  Hopefully, he decides to make some more music because he voice deserves to be heard.  Every element one would expect from Schaffer is present, including the heavy and tight rhythm guitar and melodic leads. “In Your Dreams,” is an in your face, immediate ride of galloping Thrash.  The melodic bridge featuring clean guitar and Adam's melodic, lower register voice is a great addition to the build up back to the heavier parts, especially combined with the horror themed lyrics.

Dracula,” is one of three songs that also share titles with IE songs but they have nothing to do with those, both in music and lyrics.  This “Dracula” is less Gothic and more direct in its approach to tackling the vampire lord’s mythos. The vocal patterns are extremely catchy and, as always, Schaffer's back up vocals add an extra layer of aggression and emotion. “In Jason’s Mind,” is a more melodic track, complete with whispered chanting in the song’s beginnings and melodic riffs and some impressive falsetto vocals. Adam's performance during the song’s mid section is very theatrical and helps set the song’s atmosphere.  The rhythm guitar during the solo is furious and just what I want in a song like this.

The shortest and most straight forward song is “Jack,” and Schaffer gets a bit more time in the spot light, sharing a lot of the vocal duties this time around.  The chorus is fun, as are the riffs which go with the lyrics very well, complimenting the mood. The final track, “Burning Oasis,” is my personal favorite; the slower (and thick) riffs in the beginning really create a desperate atmosphere.  The guitar soon shifts to what Schaffer does best: galloping rhythm riffs that roll and toss the song about while pushing it forward. I’m very thankful that Schaffer decided to do this project; it is a very rewarding listen and a great piece of ICED EARTH (and Metal) history.  It goes without saying but if you are a fan of IE, this isn’t a want but a definite need for your collection and listening pleasure.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. In Your Dreams
2. Dracula
3. In Jason’s Mind
4. Jack
5. Burning Oasis
Jon Schaffer – Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Vocals
Gene Adam – Lead Vocals
Bill Owen – Lead Guitars
Ruben Drake – Bass (Session)
Mark Prator – Drums (Session)
Record Label: Century Media


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