ICED EARTH – Dystopia

ICED EARTH - Dystopia
  • 9/10
    ICED EARTH - Dystopia - 9/10


Century Media
Release date: October 17, 2011

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Normal human beings usually don’t like living under nightmarish dystopia. However, taking interest in that same dystopia turns out to be suitable ground on which to write Metal songs. Dystopian themes have been usually ignored by other musical genres; nevertheless, through Metal creations those themes receive the right expression they so much deserve. After three years, Iced Earth returns with a new album that once again pays tribute to literature and movies new and old. Is it a cause for celebration? Sure it is. But that’s not the only reason.

Six months ago something happened in the Iced Earth venture. Favored vocalist Matthew Barlow, who made an impressive comeback to the band almost three years ago, decided to leave the band for personal reasons that engulfed his family. Barlow, with his legacy as Iced Earth’s long time singer, left a gap and big steely shoes to fill. So who was going to fill that so crucial role? Jon Schaffer found the right guy for the job as he recruited the young Stu Block of Canadian Into Eternity fame. If you have strong recollections of Barlow’s voice pattern, just wait until you hear this guy. He sounds as if the tough low tones of Barlow were never gone, plus he can hit those ferocious, banshee high pitchers germane to Ripper Owens. You may call Schaffer’s choice a mimic, and you can criticize it day and night, but the bottom line is Block was the best possible alternative. Is this another cause for celebration? Bet your ass it is.

Dystopia reminds quite a bit, when it comes down to the overall feel, of the Horror Show meets Dark Saga meets Something Wicked This Way Comes. Those three albums are considered some of the top releases by Iced Earth, therefore merging between them surely brings good fortune and indeed Dystopia turned out to be one of Iced Earth’s most exciting releases. Production-wise, nothing has truly changed. Iced Earth, along with their hefty and chunky sound, is still one of the heaviest acts in US Power Metal. High profile sound work has always been an undeniable quality that tagged this group, especially when Schaffer is running the show. The best example that can be given is the vocal production that entices the songs’ choruses and seems to have become Iced Earth’s signature.

The 10 tracks offered show the band’s diversity, ranging from ultimate Metal anthems, emotive ballads, and violent-like, pounding assault blitzes. “Anthem” along with being one of greatest mid-tempo Metal anthems, provides some hope against the powers of tyranny. Its lyrics were touching and well written. That is a true Iced Earth heavy classic. “Equilibrium” and in some ways “Dystopia”, demolished everything on their path with a tough and heavy main riff that raised the addiction level. Block’s banshee qualities saw light once again on “Equilibrium” with some amazing verses (and chorus) while “Dystopia” showcased intelligent rhythms. “Dark City” showed the same qualities of Maiden yet rapidly changed into a Helloween kind of fast-paced, harmonious riffs. It will be a hell of a soiree for Melodic Metal fans. This dark shaped song continues with an amazing lead guitar section and an awesome solo. “Boiling Point”, along with its brother on the album, “Days Of Rage”, were reminders of Iced Earth’s past as followers of US Power / Thrash. Both were short endeavors, yet shared iron fist violence and head-banging moments that struck hard like a hammer.

Iced Earth returns with a new voice and fresh themes that will cause some heads to roll. If you missed the old Iced Earth you will probably find it on Dystopia because there is nothing more soothing than some tyranny to let the monster out.


  1. Dystopia
  2. Anthem
  3. Boiling Point
  4. Anguish of Youth
  5. V
  6. Dark City
  7. Equilibrium
  8. Days of Rage
  9. End of Innocence
  10. Tragedy & Triumph


Jon Schaffer – Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Vocals
Troy Seele – Lead Guitar
Brent Smedley – Drums
Freddie Vidales – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Stu Block – Lead Vocals


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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