Saturday, 1 February 2014

CD Review: Burnt Offerings, by Iced Earth (1995)

After a three hiatus, Florida's Iced Earth release their third studio album, featuring new vocalist Matthew Barlow and new drummer Rodney Beasley. Burnt Offerings is heavy but stuck in the general malaise of traditional 1990s metal, recycling the ideas of the 1980s with notably less fresh energy.

The main Iced Earth problem on Burnt Offerings is a lack of identity. Sometimes the album sounds like Judas Priest, often the band sounds like Iron Maiden, but Iced Earth are never as good as these bands, and there is a pervasive sense of derivative, second tier quality.

Opener Burnt Offerings is a reasonably ambitious track, combining heavy riffing with plenty of verve, plugging into a Maiden spirit updated for the decade. But pretty much all of the rest of the album settles into competent but forgettable territory, music that, by 1995, has been mostly heard elsewhere, delivered by better bands on more enjoyable albums. The chunky chords are basic, the pace is studiously deliberate, the signature manic riffing is repetitive, the melodies offer limited inspiration, and Barlow's vocals carry a fake intensity that soon aggravates.

Most of the tracks are longer than they need to be, and the album ends with Dante's Inferno clocking in at more than 16 minutes. Indicative of the rest of the record, Dante's Inferno tries a lot of things, but never delivers much that hasn't already been heard. Burnt or not, the offerings are simply undistinguished.


Jon Schaffer - Guitars
Matthew Barlow - Vocals
Dave Abell - Bass
Randy Shawver - Guitars
Rodney Beasley - Drums

Keyboards by Howard Helm

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Burnt Offerings - 8
2. Last December - 7
3. Diary - 7
4. Brainwashed - 7
5. Burning Oasis - 7
6. Creator Failure - 7
7. The Pierced Spirit - 7
8. Dante's Inferno - 7

Average: 7.13

Produced by Jon Schaffer and Tom Morris.
Engineered by Tom Morris.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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