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Artist of the Week: Iced Earth

Heavy metal music has no shortage of acts that have a massive global following; yet fail to garner the same respect from the TMZ-craving, Bieber and Miley "music" fans of the United States. Iced Earth is one of those metal bands that doesn't get their just due here in America.

Iced Earth album cover for Plagues of Babylon
Iced Earth album cover for Plagues of BabylonIced Earth

The band was founded in 1985 in Tampa, Florida by the lone original member still in the band, guitarist Jon Schaffer, and original drummer Greg Seymour. Initially, they called themselves Purgatory before eventually settling on Iced Earth. In the almost thirty years since then, the band has endured lineup changes at a seemingly record pace, relying on the songs to be the backbone of the band instead of certain musicians.

Even so, the band has managed to put out eleven studio albums. Like Iron Maiden before them, they've built a catalog of songs and a loyal following that allows them to tour with virtually no radio support. Passing up on "hits", they've taken the approach of writing complete albums that don't contain much in the way of filler material. Schaffer, as the bands chief songwriter, has actually shown an affinity for writing concept albums throughout the lifetime of the band. Most notably, the "Something Wicked" story line has surfaced on numerous albums.

Iced Earth just recently finished up a tour with Volbeat and just now kicked off a headlining tour of the U.S. with Sabaton. While the lineups have changed, the heavy metal charge hasn't. The current version of the band, comprised of Schaffer, guitarist Troy Seele, vocalist Stu Block, bassist Luke Appleton, and drummer Jon Dette will be hitting Columbus this Thursday; April 10 at The Newport Music Hall in support of their most current album; 2014's Plagues of Babylon.

The following list is comprised of my 25 Most Essential Iced Earth tracks. Let me know what you think, and if you like what you've read, please subscribe for free at the link at the top of this page. Thank you!

1. Reflections/Ten Thousand Strong (2007)

2. Funeral (1990)

3. 1776 (1998)

4. The End? (2014)

5. The Phantom Opera Ghost (2001)

6. Highwayman (The Highwaymen cover) (2014)

7. Plagues of Babylon (2014)

8. Execution/Order of the Rose (2007)

9. Among the Living Dead (2014)

10. The Star Spangled Banner/Declaration Day (2004)

11. Crucify the King (2008)

12. The Reckoning (2004)

13. Anthem (2011)

14. Harbinger of Fate (2008)

15. Cataclysm/The Clouding (2007)

16. End of Innocence (2011)

17. Burning Times (1998)

18. When the Eagle Cries (2004)

19. The Coming Curse (1998)

20. Iced Earth (1990)

21. Enter the Realm/Colors (1989)

22. Gettysburg (1863) (2004)

23. Scarred (1996)

24. Stormrider (1991)

25. Burnt Offerings (1995)