Century Media CD
''Dystopia'' is the comeback of the year and the biggest surprise! To be complete honest I didn't experted such a great material. Before it can be said that i was aware how the upcoming album will sound...
Although that the previous record with Matt Barlow was quite ok, I think that ''Dystopia'' is the best Iced Earth album since ''Something Wicked This Way Comes'' (released 1998). I never liked ''Horror Show''so much, and the same goes for the previous issues as well. But, ''Dystopia'' is something completely different. It 's a step back in time!
It offers a very balanced musical style between aggressive and melodious way of composing. Once again Thrash Metal elements are playing the bigger role in Iced Earth's music. Of course, as a matter of fact, we are speaking here about more melodic side of Thrash Metal, but, yet I missed those 90s Thrashy parts of Iced Earth. So, it's to obvious that ''Dystopia'' could be easily compared with ''The Dark Saga'' and ''The Burnt Offerings''. I mean, it easily could stand a s the missing link between ''The Dark Saga'' and ''Something Wicked this Way Comes''! It has the power of ''Something Wicked'', but, yet it has the aggression of ''The Dark Saga''... From the opening title-track ''Dystopia'' an unbelievable strength will be unleashed! This particular track has the classical way of composing with pompous choruses, bombastic Schaffer's riffing and furious singing! Yeah, the new singer, which should be welcome warmly, has produce the album with one of the best vocal moments in the entire Iced Earth's discography. Of course, i know that Matt is ''the God'', but, from my humble point of view, Stu Block is the perfect and the best replacement to Barlow. His vocal capacity goes from high vocals to brutal screams! And, as a matter of fact, his vocals are perfectly suiting for the music! Just check out the track ''Building the point''. Although that this is the shortest one (only 2:47) it perfectly shows the new era, the new dawning! And Stu is the best part of it! i really like those two shorter tracks on the album. ''V'' is also one of the best moments at the entire album although it has only 3 minutes...with such a catchy per-chorus and refrain and such a bombastic way of riffing! i simply adore it !!! there are also some ballade moments on the album which were actually already well-known from previous Iced Earth's songs...
The final triumph of the entire issue comes with the last track ''Tragedy and Triumph''! it's such epic anthem! But, aside of ''good old'' influences here and there one could find some new pieces in the music. They are camouflaged but they are somewhere there...
So, time will tell, but I think that ''Dystopia'' will become one of the most important albums in Iced Earth's history! One thing is for sure, after the departing of Matt, and not so successful days with previous record, this is milestone! Recommended!
Marko Miranovic (10)
METAL SOUND #