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Iced Earth - I Walk Among You

Produced by Jim Morris

This is the moment Iced Earth fans have been waiting for since 2001. The return of vocal hero Matt Barlow, replacing his replacement Tim "Ripper" Owens. Iced Earth recorded two albums with Owens, including the first part of the new two-part opus 'Something Wicked'. Barlow will complete the second half of the concept.

Although this will make the two halves a little disjointed, given the two very different singers, fans will still welcome Barlow back without argument. It is very unfair to suggest that this is because Ripper wasn't good enough. Ripper is an outstanding heavy metal vocalist, but simply doesn't suit Iced Earth's style of metal as well as Barlow.

I Walk Among You itself sounds musically nothing like Iced Earth, which should please most of main-man John Schaffer's detractors, who have long been upset by very similar riffs and songs. It's heavy, but more mid-paced than usual, and Barlow sings like he's never been away. Perhaps not as aggressively as on some of the older material, but the very nature of this material is a lot more considered than some of the older songs, so that's not really a criticism, just an observation.

As they did with Ripper on the Ten Thousand Strong EP, the b-sides here are re-recordings of songs originally tracked with the other singer. On Ten Thousand Strong Ripper re-recorded the 'Something Wicked' trilogy originally recorded with Barlow on the Something Wicked This Way Comes album. This time Barlow has put his mark on Setian Massacre and The Clouding, two tracks from Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part I.

Setian Massacre, an aggressive, fast track, sounds a lot better with Barlow, but The Clouding, with a lot more mellow elements early on, strangely doesn't. Both tracks were written with Ripper as the vocalist in mind, and The Clouding suits his style rather well. These are interesting to hear as it gives fans an idea of how the Ripper material is going to sound live with Barlow back in the band.

I Walk Among You is of course the main focus here, and it offers a promising glimpse of the new album, suggesting that perhaps Schaffer has taken more risks with his song-writing this time around. It will certainly be a more highly anticipated record than the first one, especially as the Pyramaze album with Barlow on vocals is already out, and this single won't have done that anticipation any harm.

“ like he's never been away ”

Tracklist: I Walk Among You / Setian Massacre (Re-recorded/re-mixed) / The Clouding (Re-recorded/re-mixed)

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2008, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Singles,

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