I’ve said before that Jon Schaffer is a conspiracy theorist and ego-maniacal prick but he’s also a musical genius in my opinion.
I was a little apprehensive to hear this album because I know nothing of new vocalist Stu Block. I was a huge fan of Matt Barlow and an even bigger fan of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Stu holds more than his own on this album and is a worthy successor. He even sounds like an amalgamation of Matt Barlow and Ripper. That’s a compliment by the way. Jon Schaffer has once again struck gold with his choice of vocalists.
This album is a theme album much like Horror Show was. In case you haven’t guessed the theme of the album is Dystopia. Schaffer’s writing here is excellent as always and continues to be the American Iron Maiden by writing a few songs about dystopian movies such as V for Vendetta, Soylent Green and a personal favorite of mine Dark City. Something that bugged me about this album though was it seemed like some of Schaffer’s other project, Sons of Liberty, bled into this album. Minor annoyance though as I actually liked Brush Fries of the Mind even though I didn’t agree with all of its subject matter.
Now I’ve been a fan of Iced Earth since Something Wicked This Way Comes and every album since then has had a personal anthem for me on it. This album is no different. It’s not the song Anthem as you might guess even though that is one of my favorite tracks on the album. My anthem from this album is End of Innocence that Stu Block wrote about his mother having terminal cancer. That really hit home for me as most of you know my mother passed away this year from cancer. Thanks to Stu and Schaffer I now have a definitive song to remember my mom by. And when I say thanks to them I really mean it. It is a personal thank you.
There’s not a bad song on this album but it’s not as epic as the two Something Wicked Saga albums.
4 1/2 out of 5.
Here’s End of Innocence. I miss you, mom.