Thanks to Dave Mustaine, Iced Earth had the opportunity to finally visit Pittsburgh and attempt to conquer the cavernous pit of sound known as M. A dying dance club, M offers sound techs the task of making a great band sound like they are playing in a sewer. Iced Earth of course was bit by the sound gremlins, but the band bit right back with a tight set that saw them cover their impressive catalog in 7 songs. “Burning Times” lead off the set that was greeted by a strange occurrence beforehand. The crowd was chanting “Iced Earth, Iced Earth” just like the people do in Europe at concerts. This is the first time I can remember an opening band getting such great treatment in this town. “Vengeance Is Mine” (from Dark Saga) ripped through the crowd that was eager to respond to vocalist Matthew Barlow’s hand gestures for the chorus.
As I have mentioned in the CD review for “Horror Show”, Iced Earth has ascended to top of the United States heavy metal throne and cast the wretched carcass of the once mighty Metallica to the Nu Metal crowd. No better example of this is apparent than the haunting “Ghost Of Freedom” which promises to become their own “Fade To Black”. “Vengeance Is Mine” and “Ghost Of Freedom” (dedicated to those in service to America) are certainly relevant in these troubled times. Also from “Horror Show”, the crowd was treated to the sinister tracks “Damien” and “Dracula”. Reaching back to their 2nd CD, “Night Of The Stormrider”, Iced Earth took us on a journey along the river Styx with “Travel In Stygian” which was met with boisterous approval. Finishing up with “Coming Curse”, Iced Earth certainly won over some Megadeth fans who were not familiar with the bands material.
A 35 minute set surely did not seem long enough (especially if you own the “Alive In Athens” 2 or 3 CD set) but Mr. Schaffer and company will be most welcome in the area once they headline their own tour across the United States.