Iced Earth
Live in Ancient Kourion

Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Blind Guardian/Demons & Wizards/Wizard
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
DVD track list: (195 Min)
1. Intro
2. Dystopia
3. Burning Times
4. Angel`s Holocaust
5. Slave To The Dark
6. V
7. When The Night Falls
8. I Died For Y ou
9. Invasion / Motivation Of Man
10. Setian Massacre
11. Stormrider
12. Pure Evil
13. Wolf
14. Dark City
15. Dracula
16. Ten Thousand Strong
17. Anthem
18. Declaration Day
19. Days Of Rage
20. Melancholy
21. In Sacred Flames
22. Boiling Point
23. Damien
24. Watching Over Me
25. Dante`s Inferno
26. Iced Earth
27. The Hunter
Bonus Content
28. Making Of
29. World Tour
30. Photo Gallery

1. Intro
3. Burning Times
4. Angel’s Holocaust
5. Slave To The Dark
6. V
7. When The Night Falls
8. I Died For You
9. Invasion
10. Motivation Of Man
11. Setian Massacre
12. Stormrider
13. Pure Evil
15. Dark City
16. Dracula
17. Ten Thousand Strong

1. Anthem
2. Declaration Day
3. Days Of Rage
4. Melancholy
5. Encore intro
6. In Sacred Flames
7. Boiling Point
8. Damien
9.Watching Over Me
10. Dante’s Inferno
11. Iced Earth
12. The Hunter

Jon Schaffer - Rhythm & Lead Guitar, Vocals
Stu Block - Lead Vocals
Brent Smedley - Drums
Troy Seele - Lead Guitar
Luke Appleton - Bass Guitar

Iced Earth – 1990
Night of the Stormrider – 1991
Burnt Offerings – 1995
The Dark Saga – 1996
Something Wicked This Way Comes – 1998
Alive In Athens – 1999
Horror Show – 2001
The Glorious Burden – 2004
Framing Armageddon – 2007
The Crucible of Man – 2008
Dystopia – 2011


Mixed & Mastered By – Dirk Faehling (tracks: 27 & 28)
Mixed, Mastered & Recorded By – Jim Morris
Film Editor, Producer – Lukas Hambach
Recorded on August 19, 2012

Released 2013-04-15
Reviewed 2013-05-22

century media

I saw Iced Earth live back in 2007 while they still had "Rpper" Owens on the vocals. And Mr Schaffer also told me back then that he was happy with "Ripper" that he didn't expect Mat Barlow to even guest an anniversary album. Well, that was then, a few months later "Ripper" was out and Barlow was back in. However, since 2011 the vocalist is called Stu Block and he sung on the latest studio release by the band - with some impressing quality I might add - and now he's doing his first live release.

'Live In Ancient Kourion' was recorded in Cyprus on an ancient Greek-Roman theatre and I better mention it immediately that I haven't been able to see the live filming, just hear the live recordings so this is not a review of the DVD - it's a review of the 2CD release. With their impressing repertoire and new vocalist on the line, 'Live in Ancient Kourion' shows an Iced Earth that feels stronger than in a long time. We get 26 real songs and a few intro tracks, some of the songs are real classics like Watching Over Me, Iced Earth and Pure Evil while others are brand new like Dystopia, V and Dark City but I really can't tell the difference from just hearing them. I think Block makes a real good performance with both "his" and the old songs and the band too has merged the entire repertoire in to a unified sound that doesn't make the big differences in for example When The Night Falls (released in 1990 on the debut album) and Ten Thousand Strong (released on 'Framing Armageddon' in 2007, which probably is the most different Iced Earth album compared to their thrash metal debut) as big as it is on the studio albums. And I think it's a good thing they've managed to get one sound to the entire performance because had they fringed back and forth with different sounds that would have been pretty annoying.

It is pretty obvious that this is a live album considering the loud audience and the songs are a bit different compared to the studio versions as well with enlongered solos and a nice interplay between the band and audience but I don't think they've thumbed the quality of the sound while doing this live recording. The performance doing the songs, though, as live recordings often are is not flawless but I don't think you buy the live releases for getting that either - I'm pretty sure you want the live feel and that you definitely get here. I only wish that the band and audience had been this great on my last Iced Earth live experience because that was definitely not as entertaining as this one sounds.

However, there are a couple of issues and the first I'll bring up is probably expected if you're a returning reader - the length. 195 minutes… thats more than 2 1/2 hours of Iced Earth in one go. Now, before you start to think I'm a complete idiot I'm aware of that this was the full length of the show they did - they haven't pasted together different live shows like some bands do and like they them selves did back in 1999 on the 'Alive In Athens' album. They did a 2 1/2 hour set and also came up for a last onchore, so you do the maths - no cuts = 195 minutes. But… here comes the downside with making the songs the way I mentioned earlier (more similar than they used to be) after let's say one hour it starts to feel a bit same thing over the material. After two hours, it definitely feels a bit like it's the same thing going on… after 2 1/2 hours… well, you get it? It's not that the songs melt together or anything, but it feels a bit like enough's enough. We get it. It is Iced Earth being Iced Earth, nothing wrong with that, but I for one wouldn't feel like I'm robbed if I got half of these songs. I know I can listen to just half of these songs by not playing one of the discs when I play the other, but if I chose to play it all straight through then it feels a bit lengthy and I'm guessing it does so more than necessary because they've made all the songs in basically the same way.

When it comes to songs they've done I can't say I really miss any of the songs, but there are a few songs I wouldn't mind if they've swapped for some others. With that said, I think they do perform all songs well and I can't say the album would have been better had they done the old switcheroo. Maybe, maybe not. If there is something I miss then it's the presence of Jon Schaffer. I know he plays his guitars but as far as I could tell it could just as well have been someone else. That trademark sound of his isn't really that noticeable. But… once again, I don't really know if that's something I miss. I think it works fine the way it is. And the way it is it's Iced Earth being Iced Earth live. Heavy… metal… and wild!



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