Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden

Year of Release: 2004
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: 2147483647
Format: CD
Total Time: 78:49:00

I don't spend much time with heavy metal these days, mostly because it tends not to change and I get bored with the same-old same-old, see. In the case of The Glorious Burden, that's pretty much the case for the first nine tracks. Then comes Jon Schaffer's historical epic, "Gettysburg (1863)" and my attitude gets completely adjusted.

Not that those other nine songs are bad; they aren't. They just don't interest me to any great degree; it's good old 80s-90's-style heavy metal that I've heard before and don't really care to hear again. Of course, the axe-powered rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" really gets my blood pumping, and "When The Eagle Cries" (Schaffer's homage to 9/11) and "Hollow Man" break up the heavy metal attack with acoustic guitars and thoughtful lyrics.

But it's "Gettysburg (1863)" that makes The Glorious Burden worth the price of admission and sets the progressive metal standard for 2004 (and, maybe, for some years to come). A huge three-part (comprised of "The Devil to Pay", "Hold at All Costs", and "High Water Mark") tour de force, "Gettysburg (1863)" depicts the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil and portrays some of its most remarkable characters, including defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Classic American themes of the Civil War era ("When Johnny Comes Marching Home", "Dixie"), orchestration, and battle soundtracks ? cannon and rifle fire, war cries of charging soldiers, fife and drum marches ? are skillfully woven together with the rock foundation to create vivid images of merciless war, death, and the emotions that only such terrible events could inspire. Especially effective are Schaffer's lyrics; literate and well-referenced, his words provide a personal perspective that permits the listener to glean some small insight into what the hapless combatants might have thought and felt during those three fateful days. The introduction to "The Devil To Pay," the conversation between Generals Lee and Chamberlain in "Hold At All Costs", and Lee's soliloquy that closes "High Water Mark" lend a truly human depth to the story, properly characterized and driven nicely home by Tim Owens' powerful vocals.

I guess, then, that what I've told you is that The Glorious Burden is a mixed bag, about half "take it or leave it" heavy metal and half glorious progressive metal epic. If Iced Earth had released "Gettysburg (1863)" as an album, I would've gladly rated it 5 out of 5. Instead, I say this: heavy metal heads will love every second of The Glorious Burden, and progressive rockers really should check it out, because "Gettysburg (1863)" is a true prog-metal classic in every way.

Star Spangled Banner (1:15) / Declaration Day (5:01) / When The Eagle Cries (4:09) / The Reckoning (Don't Tread On (4:58) / Greenface (3:04) / Attila (5:38) / Red Baron / Blue Max (4:06) / Hollow Man (4:27) / Valley Forge (4:48) / Waterloo (5:51) / When The Eagle Cries (Unplugge (3:36) / (Gettysburg 1863) The Devil To Pay (12:14) / (Gettysburg 1863) Hold At All Costs (7:08) / (Gettysburg 1863) High Water Mark (12:35)

Tim 'Ripper' Owens - vocals
Jon Schaffer ? guitars
Ralph Santolla ? guitars
James MacDonough ? bass
Richard Christy ? drums

Iced Earth (1991)
Night Of The Stormrider (1992)
Burnt Offerings (1995)
The Dark Saga (1996)
Days Of Purgatory (1997/2003)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1998)
The Melancholy EP (1999/2001)
Alive In Athens (1999)
Horror Show (2001)
Tribute To The Gods (2002)
The Reckoning (EP) (2004)
Glorious Burden (2004)
The Blessed And The Damned (2004)
Overture Of The Wicked (2007)
Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1) (2007)
The Crucible Of Man - Something Wicked Part 2 (2008)
The Plagues EP (2013)
Live In Ancient Kourion (2013)
Plagues Of Babylon (2014)
Incorruptible (2017)

Alive In Athens (DVD) (2007)
Gettysburg (1863) (DVD) (2005)
Live In Ancient Kourion (2013)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website:
Hits: 1374
Language: english


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