It's a bit coincidental that I'm reviewing Iced Earth in the dead of winter again. Right now the wind-chill temperature in my neck of the woods is about -20 to -30 F. Maybe I'll make a tradition out of it? Here's how I came by my newest Iced Earth addition to my music collection.
On my last shopping trip for myself before I began the holiday shopping rush this year, I happened to find another great deal at Half-Price Books; Iced Earth's 2-disc live album Alive In Athens. What an excellent find this one was, indeed. I had heard a few of the songs from this album on Iced Earth's best-of collection: The Blessed and the Damned. The quality of sound on these live recordings had set my hopes high for the full effect of the double-live album (unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to find the version with a 3rd bonus disc).
The album starts off with "Burning Times" the classic track from the Something Wicked This Way Comes album. This live album was recorded during the supporting tour. Throughout the entire 2-disc set, the band plays a very tight performance of Iced Earth's best songs. Many of the performances are so close to the versions recorded on the studio albums that if it weren't for the crowd noise and participation I might not have noticed it was a live recording. For me, this has always been an issue with live albums, where either the recording quality or lack-luster performance makes the listening experience less enjoyable. With Alive In Athens, this is not a problem. If you've ever wished live albums to sound closer to the original recordings, then this is a great album to listen to.
If you're a fan of Iced Earth, I hope you track this one down & add it to your collection. For the short-term here are some of my favorite tracks:
- Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
-Travel In Stygian