“Alive In Athens – The DVD” by Iced Earth

Artist: Iced Earth
Title: “Alive In Athens – The DVD”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 10/31/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Join me for a little Heavy Metal time travel as we go back to the year 1999 to find Iced Earth as they record their first concert performance ever. The album would be done in Athens, Greece in front of a comfortable but still sizable audience and be called “Alive In Athens”. If you are one of the many Metal bangers that own the triple CD set already, then you are well-aware about this concert and just how excellent it was in capturing the best songs that Iced Earth had to offer the world at that time. The recording found the band in tip-top shape and holding a solid footing in their quest for Heavy Metal dominance. Our return from this trip to 2006 will lead us to the news of an old archive being discovered and inside this would be a long forgotten filming of this concert. The footage would be raw and was shot by a three member video team present at the event. Conversion to a more reliable format using the technology available was a smart thought and the decision to share this with the legions of Iced Earth fans became an immediate one. The audio was given some remaster treatment and soon it was ready to be unleashed on the public. It was a great find for Metal as fans everywhere are scooping up bootlegs at conventions and people are posting their own recordings on mediums like MySpace or YouTube. As a concert itself there are moments in the film that make you feel as though you are watching from the balconies while others place you on the stage looking out to the crowd. There are no dynamic effects and instead it’s just a sparsely decorated stage with the band members doling out the Metal in excellent fashion. The three cameras do a great job and while some might balk at the limited amount of videographers at least we got something from this monumental show.

Recent interviews have found Schaffer himself displeased with the idea of this videos release but it is the only way to see a full concert with the former singer Matthew Barlow; a performer that a majority of the bands fan base misses very much. Sonically and visually I found nothing wrong with this release and totally recommend it for Iced Earth fans old and new. The amount of full concert footage from Iced Earth is currently limited to this release and if you find yourself wanting a show with this line up you need to look no further than here to get it. Twenty eight songs and running 2.5 hours you cannot go wrong with it. Iced Earth has had a number of lineup changes over the years and Schaffer as founder, remains the only constant of the musical vision. Everyone else in the band for this film has moved on to other pursuits in music and life by this time. This video finds the membership roster as Jon Schaffer (guitar), Matthew Barlow (vocals), James MacDonough (bass), Larry Tarnowski (lead guitar), Brent Smedley (drums) and Rick Risberg (keyboards). As a Metal fan that got into this band later than I should have I was happy to find this video released as it is a musical education in the bands back catalog. Favorite tunes are “Melancholy”, “Burning Times”, and “Walking In Stygian” among many others.

Bonus features include Jon in Athens and backstage footage. A booklet is included and loaded with photos, song lyrics and cool graphics that the group was known for. This is a must have for any Metal fan.

Song Listing:
1. Intro
2. Burning Times
3. Vengeance Is Mine
4. Dark Saga
5. Last Laugh
6. Cast In Stone
7. Last December
8. Pure Evil
9. Desert Rain
10. Dante’s Inferno
11. The Hunter
12. Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
13. Angels Holocaust
14. Stormrider
15. The Path I Choose
16. Watching Over Me
17. Diary
18. Blessed Are You
19. When The Night Falls
20. My Own Savior
21. Travel In Stygian
22. Violate
23. Stand Alone
24. Brainwashed
25. Disciples Of The Lie
26. I Died For You
27. Prophecy
28. Birth Of The Wicked
29. The Coming Curse
30. Epilogue

Official Web site: www.icedearth.com

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