Alive In Athens review by Iced Earth

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  • Released: Jul 27, 1999
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (18 votes)
Iced Earth: Alive In Athens

Sound — 9
Iced Earth has always been one of the most impressive live bands around, and this album only serves to further their glory. The style can be described as a power/thrash combo, uniting the riff-driven, heavy crunch of thrash with the higher-pitched, melodic singing of power metal. The sound they had on this show was just right: the guitars had the right amount of volume to be heard and make an impact, the vocals soared smoothely overtop, while the drums and bass provided an appropriate beat beneath everything. Schaffer used B.C. Rich guitars and Marshall amps in this show. The tone he has achieved here heightens the musical experience to another level, providing more distortion and an all around "heavier" feeling, when compared to the album version of each track. The sheer amount of songs Iced Earth played during this performance is damn-near mind boggling: around the 30 mark. Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole show is the quality of Barlow's vocals right from the start. In many live shows, the singer takes a song or two to get warmed up (I noticed this with Dickinson in Maiden's "Live After Death"), but Barlow is at the top of his game straight from the opening line of "Burning Times". The clarity of each instrument is just right and sets the mood for an epic and memorable performance.

Lyrics — 10
By playing songs from across the Iced Earth library, this category earns a perfect 10. Combining tunes from Night of the Stormrider, Something Wicked, Dark Saga, Iced Earth, and Burnt Offerings, the lyrics are always just right and in your face. From thrashy, aggressive songs like "Stand Alone", to powerful numbers like "Melancholy", from passionate ballads such as "A Question Of Heaven" to the 16 minute monster-epic "Dante's Inferno", this show has it all. Once again, Barlow's voice handles each song with ease, bringing every chorus, verse, breakdown, interlude and shriek to life. For the most part, Barlow's live vocals are noticably better than their album brethren. He adds more shrieks, and switches keys quite frequently, keeping the songs fresh and intense. He hits some inhuman notes during this show (listen to the final chorus of "Blessed Are You"). The vocals are just what you would expect from a demon-esque singer like Barlow (thank god we have him back).

Overall Impression — 9
There isn't a lot to hate about this album. The intruments have the perfect tone and volume, the singing is awesome from start to finish, and the crowd is extremely enthusiastic (but that's a given, as Iced Earth has one of the most loyal followings in metal). This is quite possibly the most well put together live album I've heard to date. The entire album stands out as a whole, but the most ear-catching tunes are "Melancholy", "Dante's Inferno", "Blessed Are You", "When The Night Falls", "Travel In Stygian", The "Something Wicked" trilogy, "Angels Holocaust", "I Died For You", and "Watching Over Me". I strongly recommend this album to anyone, whether you be a die-hard fan or a curious newcomer to Iced Earth; and with the recent re-addition of Barlow to the band, we can expect more amazing concerts like this in the near-future.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bored to Tears
    I have this DVD. Haven't watched it yet for some reason.. perhaps I should go do that sometime.
    i saw em support heaven and hell... they were ok but not amazing... lamb of god put on a much better live show by miles...
    Haven't seen them live but Alive in Athens is one of the greatest metal live recordings. And MATT IS BACK!!
    hawk_kst wrote: i saw em support heaven and hell... they were ok but not amazing... lamb of god put on a much better live show by miles...
    yeah but that's when Iced Earth had Owens.
    first off, this is a great album. i got the 3 disc version for like 20 bucks, which is a great deal and second, i cant believe barlow is back. i like owens, but barlow fits the band so much more. All througout listening to The GLorious Burden and Something Wicked pt1 i oculdnt help but think to myself how much better it wouldve been with barlow.
    hawk_kst wrote: i saw em support heaven and hell... they were ok but not amazing... lamb of god put on a much better live show by miles...
    And Lamb of God almost always puts on an amazing show any way. I've seen them twice and both times it was awesome. Friends who have seen them other times have likewise said they were great. But just wait until we get some new material with Barlow. It's gonna pillage your ears.
    I am so happy that MATT has came back to the ICED EARTH, because he is the best singer in the world and ICED EARTH is number ONE.
    The cd is much better than the DVD, its really poorly edited. like during stormrider, jons shouting "hey hey hey!" but theres no one actually at the mic on the video =S But yeah awesome live cd, as good as live after death
    My favorite live CD of all time was Iron Maiden's "Rock in Rio" UNTIL I heard "Alive in Athens". It is the ultimate live album of all time! And yes the DVD blows because the last hand ful of songs get all ****ed up and out of sync due to the horrid editing of the 3 cameras. Jon Schaffer even said himself he thinks it's a sham by Century Media.