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Iced Earth: Live In Ancient Kourion

When I think of exceptional live metal recordings those that come to mind are Iron Maiden's legendary Live After Death and Iced Earth's much admired Alive In Athens. Alive In Athens is three CDs of stellar metal performances and an essential purchase for any Iced Earth fan. The last Iced Earth live release was Festivals Of The Wicked which included performances with the bands former vocalists Mat Barlow and Tim "Ripper" Owens. So now they have another such release Live In Ancient Kourion this time with Stu Block who made his striking debut as Iced Earth's vocalist on Dystopia their most recent studio recording. Stu's varied vocals are somewhat like a mixture of those two prior members mentioned above and then some.

All three vocalists have made their impressive marks with the band the proof is on their respective albums, and it's really cool listening to Stu put his vocals to those pre Dystopia era songs in a live situation. The remainder of the line-up featured on this release is Jon Schaffer on rhythm, lead guitar and vocals, drummer Brent Smedley, Troy Seele is on lead guitars and Luke Appleton looks after the bass guitar, all are kept very active propelling Iced Earth's demanding heavy music.

Captured at the ancient Kourion Theater in Limassol, Cyprus and with great cover artwork to suit Live In Ancient Kourion has Iced Earth taking their eager audience through the past and present, with a vast collection of songs going back in time to their debut album Iced Earth unleashing it's awesome title track and up till more recent material including 2011's Dystopia. Iced Earth confirms once again why they are one of the best live metal acts as they never fail to impress. With so much power and precision in their performances ensuring that this imposing collection of Iced Earth tracks sound as good as ever.

2CD, DVD,Vinyl or a Blu-Ray combo pack the choice is yours, so get a copy of Live In Ancient Kourion and brace yourself for the almighty metal of Iced Earth.

Track listing
CD 1
1) Intro
2) Dystopia
3) Burning Times
4) Angel's Holocaust
5) Slave To The Dark
6) V
7) When The Night Falls
8) I Died For You
9) Invasion
10) Motivation Of Man
11) Setian Massacre
12) Stormrider
13) Pure Evil
14) Wolf
15) Dark City
16) Dracula
17) Ten Thousand Strong

CD 2
1) Anthem
2) Declaration Day
3) Days Of Rage
4) Melancholy
5) Encore Intro
6) In Sacred Flames
7) Boiling Point
8) Damien
9) Watching Over Me
10) Dante's Inferno
11) Iced Earth
12) The Hunter

Added: April 10th 2013
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3705
Language: english

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Iced Earth: Live In Ancient Kourion
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-04-09 18:45:04
My Score:

Very few bands manage to release one truly classic live album, so for Iced Earth, Live In Ancient Kourion (which is the band's first DVD/BluRay release and also available as the double CD set I've been lucky enough to review) is a real landmark, being not their first, but second phenomenal live offering. That first release, 1999's Alive In Athens was a triple disc set of truly epic metal and while ...Kourion, which was recorded in Cyprus in 2012 does unsurprisingly duplicate some of those tracks, the sets are, thanks to a barrow-load of excellent releases in between, remarkably different. The other main change since then has been the introduction of singer Stu Block, who sang on the 2011 Dystopia album, with his versatile voice adding bite and flair, not just to the Iced Earth sound, but also their attitude and enthusiasm. Since his introduction the band have played countless live shows, being almost constantly on the road and visiting territories that had for a long time been ignored. On the strength of this double disc set of rollicking Heavy Metal, it is easy to hear why.

Live In Ancient Kourion is 27 tracks of brutal riffage, howled vocals and pummelling beats that is so infectious you'll need to be fumigated after every listen. The band are on imperious form, founder and leader Jon Schaffer hammering out a barrage of guitars fit to rival the revered leaders of this genre Maiden and Priest while adding that American crunch that leaves them as far from copyists as it is possible to be in the tight Metal constraints. Add to that powerful displays from second guitarist Troy Seele, drummer Brent Smedley and recently added bassist Luke Appleton and all that is required is a passionate hammer-hitting vocalist to make this current line-up of Iced Earth the strongest yet. Block is just that vocalist, powering through the Dystopia material with real authority, but equally importantly never being overshadowed by the tough acts (Matt Barlow and Tim "Ripper" Owens) he has to follow, handling the likes of "I Died For You" or "Burning Times" as expertly as he does "Dystopia" itself. Whether through his full throated roar, guttural howl, or piercing scream, Block never puts a foot wrong. The set list happily dances through the Iced Earth catalogue, picking out classics and newer tracks alike, although it is the eighteen minute "Dante's Inferno" and the ever young "Iced Earth" that really bring the crowd to a rabid fervour. Unlike many live albums, the crowd noise is expertly mixed, with that truly live feel captured beautifully, crowd chants, sing alongs and cheers being enthusiastically loud, while never becoming obtrusive or overbearing.

Live In Ancient Kourion is a rare thing in 2013, a live release that has real potency and power, never reeking of cash-in or contract obligation. Making this an essential purchase for both Iced Earth fanatics and lovers of all things Metal, as well as being a stunning introduction (if you need it) to one of the undersung heroes of this genre.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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