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Iced Earth: Alive in Athens (DVD)

Join me for a little Heavy Metal time travel as we go back to the year 1999 to find Iced Earth as they record their first concert performance ever. The album would be done in Athens, Greece in front of a comfortable but still sizable audience and be called Alive In Athens. If you are one of the many Metal bangers that own the triple CD set already, then you are well-aware about this concert and just how excellent it was in capturing the best songs that Iced Earth had to offer the world at that time. The recording found the band in tip-top shape and holding a solid footing in their quest for Heavy Metal dominance. Our return from this trip to 2006 will lead us to the news of an old archive being discovered and inside this would be a long forgotten filming of this concert. The footage would be raw and was shot by a three member video team present at the event. Conversion to a more reliable format using the technology available was a smart thought and the decision to share this with the legions of Iced Earth fans became an immediate one. The audio was given some remaster treatment and soon it was ready to be unleashed on the public. It was a great find for Metal as fans everywhere are scooping up bootlegs at conventions and people are posting their own recordings on mediums like MySpace or YouTube. As a concert itself there are moments in the film that make you feel as though you are watching from the balconies while others place you on the stage looking out to the crowd. There are no dynamic effects and instead it's just a sparsely decorated stage with the band members doling out the Metal in excellent fashion. The three cameras do a great job and while some might balk at the limited amount of videographers at least we got something from this monumental show. Recent interviews have found Schaffer himself displeased with the idea of this videos release but it is the only way to see a full concert with the former singer Matthew Barlow; a performer that a majority of the bands fan base misses very much. Sonically and visually I found nothing wrong with this release and totally recommend it for Iced Earth fans old and new. The amount of full concert footage from Iced Earth is currently limited to this release and if you find yourself wanting a show with this line up you need to look no further than here to get it. Twenty eight songs and running 2.5 hours you cannot go wrong with it. Iced Earth has had a number of lineup changes over the years and Schaffer as founder, remains the only constant of the musical vision. Everyone else in the band for this film has moved on to other pursuits in music and life by this time. This video finds the membership roster as Jon Schaffer (guitar), Matthew Barlow (vocals), James MacDonough (bass), Larry Tarnowski (lead guitar), Brent Smedley (drums) and Rick Risberg (keyboards). As a Metal fan that got into this band later than I should have I was happy to find this video released as it is a musical education in the bands back catalog. Favorite tunes are "Melancholy", "Burning Times", and "Travel In Stygian" among many others.

Bonus features include Jon in Athens and backstage footage. A booklet is included and loaded with photos, song lyrics and cool graphics that the group was known for. This is a must have for any Metal fan.

Song Listing
1. Intro
2. Burning Times
3. Vengeance Is Mine
4. Dark Saga
5. Last Laugh
6. Cast In Stone
7. Last December
8. Pure Evil
9. Desert Rain
10. Dante's Inferno
11. The Hunter
12. Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
13. Angels Holocaust
14. Stormrider
15. The Path I Choose
16. Watching Over Me
17. Diary
18. Blessed Are You
19. When The Night Falls
20. My Own Savior
21. Travel In Stygian
22. Violate
23. Stand Alone
24. Brainwashed
25. Disciples Of The Lie
26. I Died For You
27. Prophecy
28. Birth Of The Wicked
29. The Coming Curse
30. Epilogue

Added: December 10th 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Iced Earth Website
Hits: 5036
Language: english

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Iced Earth: Alive in Athens (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-10 08:22:18
My Score:

The world has been waiting for an Iced Earth concert film for some time, so, against the wishes of Jon Schaffer, Century Media has released the video portion of the beloved Alive in Athens three disc set from their landmark 1999 show in Greece. We all know how much Schaffer is a perfectionist, but after viewing this near three hour DVD, it's evident that Jon needs to take a chill pill, as this is one awesome document of the Iced Earth live show in the late 90's. Sure, some of the camera work is a little spotty, and I'm sure that many who have worshipped the live album for all these years will be a tad disappointed to know that this show was not filmed in front of a huge stadium or arena sized crowd. That always seemed to be the impression that most people had, and the legend is pretty much destroyed here as you see the band actually played in front of a small crowd of maybe 2000 or so in a very small venue, The Rodon, in Athens, Greece. Honestly though, after a few songs, it matters not, as it's evident that the band were so at the top of their game that night, delivering so many of their classic songs, over 30 to be exact (only 29 are included here on the DVD), making for one killer set for Iced Earth fanatics. The song list is a virtual treasure chest of selections from the Matt Barlow era, who quite frankly always was one hell of a singer as well as frontman. Expect all the favorites, like "Dark Saga", "Travel in Stygian", "I Died For You", "Dante's Inferno", "Melancholy (Holy Martyr)", "Last December", "Burning Times", and so on, and so on. Schaffer and Larry Tarnowski's guitar sound is SO crunchy here, you'd think these guys invented the term, making this one of the better sounding DVD's you will hear all year.

The word out of the Iced Earth camp is that the band is planning a live DVD in the near future featuring their current incarnation with Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals. That will be a fine addition to Alive in Athens, as fans will then have both eras of the band documented for a lifetime of viewing.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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