Iced Earth - Night Of The Stormrider
There are a number of bands that have created a sound and style so unique that they eventually will be looked back on with a certain innovative consideration. To me Iced Earth is already what I would call a great classic Metal band, even though they have been around for a much shorter time than some of their own favourite childhood acts like AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, represented with the wonderful Tribute To The Gods album.

When taking Iced Earth's career into perspective I ended up choosing Night Of The Stormrider as their biggest classic album, I like some of their newer offerings just as much and some even better, but this monster album was much more close knit and expansive than the otherwise solid debut. I would go as far as to say that it created a whole new profile for the term Power Metal.

The album starts out with an explosion of epic symphonies as Angels Holocaust hits you off guard. A brilliant acoustic passage gives you time to breathe before the characteristic riff onslaught begins.just a perfect opener.

The Path I Choose ranks among the best Iced Earth songs in my book; the technical level is astounding, the structure breathtaking, the riffs completely ecstatic, the lead guitar melodies haunting, the drumming super tight, the guitar solo thunderous and the vocals expressive and full of determination, capturing the lyrical essence just right.

The most impressive single aspect of this album is Jon's insane guitar wizardry; I have honestly never heard a rhythm section as gritty and "in the flesh" heavy as is the case with Iced Earth.
When evaluating the album I somehow end up having the term intense on my lips, hearing songs like Stormrider and Desert Rain makes justice to this sentence, both being aggressive pieces of blistering Metal.

Another really strong point concerns the smooth flow, the way the story evolves in time with the musical atmospheres. The two short interludes Before The Vision and Reaching The End are some of my favourite spots on the album, working as buffer zones between all the wonderful madness.
Before The Vision has a fantastic mystical karma where hope is gathered; the harmonious vocal lines carrying the song forth are sublime, while
the melancholic mood of Reaching The End gets all the way to the bone.

My least favourite track is Mystical End, its path is too predictable and I don't really get up my feet apart from the mid-section guitar break, which by the way is brilliant. Bottom line: A fairly good song.

Pure Evil balances between a melodic guitar lick and an ultra heavy rhythm action. The bass performance and production is splendid throughout the album, as in the slower sections of this song where it creates a really dynamic flow.

The 9-minute opus entitled Travel In Stygian makes the difference between a very good album and a fantastic one; it simply contains all the elements we fans love about Iced Earth. The apocalyptical keyboards add an extra element of gloominess and I can't help but being amazed about just how well this song is put together.
The closing piano passage paints the perfect grave scenario before the final curtain falls, leaving everything in complete darkness.

John Greely handles the lead vocals and does a good job, a clearer expression could be wished for at times but generally he handles both the highs and lows in elaborate style. Seen as a whole the rhythm section could be described as a well oiled machine taking no prisoners in its endeavours, the drums not only smashes everything to pieces, it does it with a flair for ingenious execution, richly supported by massive bass lines. The lead guitar is a very important aspect and there are numerous outstanding passages to enjoy on this front as well.

When comparing the original version towards the 2001 one, a number of changes have occurred:

- The cover art has been graphically updated, the general image remaining the same.
- The remastered version sounds considerably better, clearer and more powerful, making it easier to detect all the great details.
- The remixing process has meant a more balanced and fluent recording, even though it's very true to the original.thankfully.

The concept deals with a person who seeks out his dark destiny, a fitting story that taken a bit out of context touches on interesting themes like social alienation and personal commitment.

For those that might think the Power Metal genre can't be nasty, aggressive and downright mean. just rest your case when it comes to this baby.
This will mess you up badly, making you wonder what ever hit you and before you know it you'll be crawling back for more.

Written by Tommy
Saturday, November 5, 2005
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Tommy: 8.5/10

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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Xose (Anonymous) - Saturday, November 5, 2005
Too right Tommy!
I'm a massive Iced Earth fan, owning all their works. My only regret is that I never saw them live when Matt Barlow was with them...
I like their earlier albums so much more, Stormrider being my favourite ... Even Horror Show represented a dip in form .. now with Owens at the helm I no longer see the group as Iced Earth .. whilst I enjoy Gettysburg as much as the next die-hard fan there is something missing!
Wish list:
-Matt Barlow to return [I know it won't happen]
-Next best thing, a DVD of Alive In Athens ... wouldn't that be amazing!!

Back to Night Of The Stormrider .. the album is a stroke of absolute genius! Iced Earth are so underated it's incredible. I rank this album up there with the best of Opeth [Most albums lol] or Metallica [MasterOfPuppets] or Iron Maiden [Somewhere in Time - how controversial is that!]

Buy this album! Worship Iced Earth when they had Barlow!!

Comment by Mike B (Anonymous) - Sunday, November 6, 2005
This is a real classic. I also like the songs as performed on Alive in Athens (some are even better).

That being said, I highly doubt IE will forge an album of this caliber again. All of their stuff is quality, bur Night of the Stormrider is perfect. I hope Jon can prove me wrong, I would be pleasantly surprised.

Comment by Pat (Anonymous) - Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Along with SWTWC, their must have album.

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Member) - Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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Comments: 166
Ratings: 46
This is without a doubt the most intence release from IE. Right from the opener to the very end.


Posted by Little Drummer Boy
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Comment by fossos (Anonymous) - Wednesday, March 8, 2006
You never mentioned the best - the dark saga. I really cannot get enough of it.

Review by Tommy

Released by
Century Media - 1992

1. Angels Holocaust
2. Stormrider
3. The Path I Choose
4. Before The Vision
5. Mystical End
6. Desert Rain
7. Pure Evil
8. Reaching The End
9. Travel In Stygian

Power Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Iced Earth - Official Website

Other articles
Horror Show - (Tommy)

Tribute To The Gods - (Michael)

Something Wicked This Way Comes - (Tommy)

The Glorious Burden - (Tommy)

Framing Armageddon, Something Wicked Pt. 1 - (Alanna)

Alive in Athens - (Stuart)

The Crucible of Man, Something Wicked Pt. 2 - (Alanna)

Horror Show - (Alanna)

Z supported shopping

1 - Horrifying
2 - Terrible
3 - Bad
4 - Below average
5 - Average
6 - Good
7 - Very good
8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

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