|Review: Iced Earth - Alive In Athens|
|Alive In Athens|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 1999
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 7, 2001
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
for:Alive In Athens
One of the most difficult things to do in Metal music is trying to pull off a live album. Let me explain myself. I believe it is hard to convey the feeling or emotion of a crowd through the recording and get the sounds of the music at the same time. I have seen quite a few live albums that fall short in either one of these two areas. Either the band comes shining through and the crowd sounds like there are only 5 or 10 of them there or the crowd is incredibly loud and the band sounds like they are playing drunk. Even through these problems bands in Heavy Metal have almost an obligation to put out a live album somewhere along the line.
With all that being said I can easily say that Iced Earth's "Alive in Athens" is one of the very best live recordings I have heard since Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" and Dire Straits "Alchemy Live". Yes, yes I know what you're thinking, "Dire Straits…what the fuck!! That's not Metal." It may not be Metal but it is one of the best live recordings of all time IMO (just check out the live version of "Sultans of Swing" on that album and you will see what I mean.)
Iced Earth is led by the absolute genius of rhythm guitar, Jon Shaffer. A great vocalist joins him in Matthew Barlow and the band is rounded out by James McDonough on bass and Larry Tarnowski on lead guitar. They are also joined on this disc by guest musicians Rick Risberg on keyboards and Brent Smedley on drums.
If you have never heard Iced Earth the easiest way to describe them to a new listener is mid eighties Iron Maiden meets mid eighties Metallica(back when Metallica played metal….hmmm I vaguely remember that). That may be an easy way to describe them but it doesn't really do them justice. Iced Earth is just one of the best Metal bands out there right now and they do have a very distinctive sound all their own.
Now, where was I…oh yeah the review of the album…sorry about the rambling. From the beginning of disc one's opener "Burning Times" to end of disc two's "Iced Earth" this album takes you on a live adventure Iced Earth style. This could almost be considered a greatest hits album as they do songs from every one of their albums and it would be a great place for a fan of metal that is new to Iced Earth to start. Now, how are the performances you may ask? Well I would expect nothing less from Iced Earth than perfection and they deliver that and more. Every member of the band sounds dead on and the production is top notch. I don't know how much studio overdubs were used but either way this album sounds crystal clear and it really brings through what this band is like live. As for the crowd, It's great to hear actual knowledgeable fans on a live recording that are just going nuts for a band. The crowd is with the band from beginning to end and really let their presence known (any crowd that chants along with a guitar melody is into the music) and they make me wish I was there partying with them.
TRACK BY TRACK
Vocals - 9
- The European version of this album has 3 CDs, while the North American version has 2.
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