Only two years after their Dystopia album, Iced Earth set their 11th studio releases with Plagues Of Babylon, planned to be on the market by 2014. This new album spanned more than 79 minutes long, quite an ambitious one. There is not much changes in formation except the drummer hot seat is done by Raphael Saini. Raphael recorded the drum parts but then later replaced by Iced Earth most current drummer, Jon Dette. Plagues Of Babylon feel exactly like the continuation of Dystopia. But I must admit this later rendition of new Iced Earth music is much feel at home by now. Additional vocals on the jamming song in Highwayman includes Russell Allen and many, while Blind Guardian singer Hansi Kurch is lead vocals in Among The Living Dead.
On the first track, Plagues Of Babylon, we got that catchy riffs bouncing here and there, the choruses resembling well Dystopia feel. Set in 10 minutes it is a good opener. Democide is also ambitious one, lengthy in the intro of drumming and guitar riffin', you can heard a very Metallica's Justice for All era riffs in the continuation of this song. The crunchy riff still continue in The Culling, heavier voices close to death metal is starting to plagues all over. Hansi Kurch in Among The Living Dead is a good one, we got to hear Hansi performing his unique vocals on more aggressive music, compared to his original 'power and epic' metal band. I can still recommended more tunes such as If I Could See You, which is a sudden ballad in the middle of storm. Also Cthulhu for a rather lengthy song with meaningful lyrics. Peacemaker and Spirit Of The Times for slow tempo intermezzo.
Overall just count the minutes spend, this album is worth it. Of course Iced Earth is in different leagues and Plagues Of Babylon is lift up the expectation. This is an improved material as we already heard in Dystopia. Stu Block more importantly blending even well with the music, sounds like his voices mixed well with Jon Schaffer backing voices. The album also featuring many guest vocalist, you can see from the list below. A great album to start 2014.
Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten
Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon (2014)
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1. Plagues Of Babylon
3. The Culling
4. Among The Living Dead
6. The End?
7. If I Could See You
11. Spirit Of The Times
Jon Schaffer - rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Highwayman"
Troy Seele - lead guitar
Stu Block - lead vocals, backing vocals
Luke Appleton - bass guitar
Raphael Saini - drums
Michael Poulsen - lead and backing vocals on "Highwayman"
Russell Allen - lead and backing vocals on "Highwayman"
Hansi Kursch - lead vocals on "Among the Living Dead", backing vocals
Thomas Hackmann - backing vocals
Andrew Peters - backing vocals
Matt O'Rourke - backing vocals
Bonna Ross Bernal - backing vocals
Iced Earth Plagues of Babylon album review