Iced Earth – Plagues Of Babylon (2014 NN Promo)

Iced Earth - Plagues Of Babylon

“As for the disc, what’s most potent to me is the songwriting. Dystopia was catchy thrash, but that’s all it was. There wasn’t a whole lot of meat there, whereas the opener and title track “Plagues Of Babylon” blows all of their recent work away in one fell swoop. The nearly eight minute monster reminds me of why I got into Iced Earth in the first place, with such memorable albums as Burnt Offerings and Horror Show, which are all given nods to here. The lyrical content on the disc is interesting, as only the first six songs deal with the Something Wicked saga, which began with a three-part trilogy back in 1998. While those songs sort of touched upon the mythology of the antichrist, the new tracks focus on conspiracy and ideas brought forth from men like George Orwell, Ray Bradbury and Alex Jones. If you’ve seen the Zeitgeist films or frequent InfoWars then you’ll know what I’m talking about here. Yet I won’t deny that “something” is going on behind the scenes and the band certainly seem to be planting the seeds of thought, as we’ve always expected from heavy metal ever since the early days of thrash. The eye is watching you, after all.

Now as for the story based meat of the album, it’s only about thirty-five minutes, leaving roughly another half-hour of music for something that we just haven’t heard from the band in a while – songs that don’t revolve around any sort of concept. And it’s here that one of the best songs that I’ve ever heard from these guys lurks, deep beneath the ocean. Yes, I’m talking about the mighty “Cthulhu” which took me aback when I first noticed that they had written a song about his royal majesty. Immediately, I expected the song to be an over-hyped sort of thing – a weak track that could’ve been much better. But that’s not what I heard, after I let the song play all of the way through. I’ll admit that it snuck up on me, as the track begins like a ballad and scared me for just a bit (please, no ballads about Cthulhu) but that’s when the track begin to fire up with a sense of thrash that I just haven’t heard from this band since well… the early days. But not only that, they managed to combine this thrash with a chorus line that’s just as powerful as you’d expect for an Iced Earth song; making for a formidable beast and tribute to one of the best beloved characters in literary fiction. I almost feel that I can die happy after this one…”

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