||ICED EARTH REACH BOILING POINT AND DELIVER A BURNING TIME AT ELECTRIC
Iced Earth: Electric, Brixton, London
Tuesday 6th December 2016
Words: Steve Göldby, Pictures: Ash Phoenix
The words of a fan were ringing around the room. "Iced Earth won't be able to follow that," he said after Finnish Folk Metallers Ensiferum had put in a blistering performance at The Headbanger's Ball and anticipation was high as the return of Jon Schaffer and his new line-up approached.
And follow Ensiferum they did, and then some, with a performance that can only be described as "astonishing".
Due to Jon requiring cervical fusion surgery to fix his shoulder, Iced Earth have undergone a lengthy lay-off but have returned stronger than ever and have clearly benefitted from this enforced period of inactivity as they absolutely demolished London tonight with one of the most remarkable shows seen in the capital this year.
New guitarist Jake Dreyer is a superb addition to the line-up and has instantly gelled with his new bandmates and new drummer Brent Smedley, in no less than his fourth spell with the band, has made the band up their game even more than they have done since Stu Block joined as vocalist.
"We had a few drinks last night and we're still sweating it out. Blame our English basss player. He's a bad influence," said Stu after the first four numbers, which were performed straight through, no gaps, no breather, just four straightforward six hitters and it was breathtaking.
That English bass player is of course Luke Appleton of Absolva who joined the band in 2012 at seventeen-years-old and they were always his favourite band as well. Just let that sink in for a moment... lesser people would not be able to handle a deal like that but Luke is revelling in his position and looks like he owns Iced Earth.
The first of those four songs was 'Incorruptible', a new song from the forthcoming new album, 'The Judas Goat', which will be Iced Earth's twelfth and with this line-up, expectation for a classic is extremely high.
A huge cheer went up when Stu introduced 'I Died For You' but with just an hour onstage it meant the likely exclusion of 'Melancholy (Holy Martyr)', 'A Question Of Heaven' and 'Watching Over Me' but with a band like Earth Earth there will always be omissions. We made a setlist of songs Iced Earth didn't play tonight which you can see below and it highlights just how impressive their back catalogue is and just how under-rated they have always been.
What we got tonight was an unexpected set of gems from throughout the years and it was all capped off by a moment in time that will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
The first moment of silence in the one hour set came right at the end, then Stu addressed the crowd and paid tribute to a fallen friend of the band, Adam Sagar, who had recently passed away. What was to follow was staggering.
"I don't know if I'll get through this without blubbing..." said Stu but he's a consummate professional and of course he did, depsite the (glorious) burden he was carrying. This particular performance of 'Watching Over Me' not only came as a surpise but it brought about an emotional response that was simply off the radar.
The outtro tape of Blind Guardian's 'The Bard's Song' sent a clear signal that Iced Earth would not be doing any encores but could they have followed 'Watching Over Me'? Well they followed Ensiferum against all the odds and moving forward it would be wise not to put anything past Iced Earth. Future major festival headliners, no doubt about it.
Plagues Of Babylon
I Died For You
Vengeance Is Mine
My Own Savior
Watching Over Me
Remaining tour dates:
10th December: DE Gießen Hessenhallen
11th December: BE Torhout De Mast
13th December: CH Pratteln Z-7
14th December: CH Pratteln Z-7
15th December: DE Stuttgart LKA
16th December: AT Wien Arena
17th December: DE München Backstage
18th December: CZ Zlin Euronics
Pseudo setlist of songs not played tonight:
Ten Thousand Strong
When The Eagle Cries
Ghost Of Freedom
Melancholy (Holy Martryr)
Blessed Are You
The Phantom Opera Ghost
Come What May
Steve Göldby's Heavy Metal Chronicles