The Glorious Burden
Review by Jacobo on February 29, 2004.
The very first release I bought from the Century Media roster was the debut CD from Iced Earth. I got hooked immediately by its enchanting and catchy musical arrangements. Maybe the production was not the best, but the music compensated for all else lacking. Now, and with the release of "The Glorious Burden," things are quite the opposite; the production is as tight as ever, but the music doesn't show anything new that the band hasn't done before. In fact, this is somewhat of a regression.
"The Glorious Burden" opens with 'Star Spangled Banner', the US anthem played on electric guitar. From here you start to see that the story around "The Glorious Burden" has to do with American history. This will appeal to many fans, but to others, tiring of the US issues in global politics, it may be annoying (note: may be). This is reflected in the European version of the CD which doesn't have the US Hymn at all.
'Declaration Day' is the best song of the entire CD followed closely in quality by 'Valley Forge', 'Waterloo' and the amazing Gettysburg Trilogy that comes with a full orchestra. The Gettysburg Trilogy has amazing classical music arrangements that give the compositions a little something extra that grabs you and does not let you go. It is epic and in some ways takes you right to the battlefield. Maybe Iced Earth could have used more of these qualities for the rest of the songs.
Fillers in "The Glorious Burden" are many. For instance, 'When the Eagle Cries' is a pretty standard power ballad that could be done by any band. The problem here is that Iced Earth is not any band and fans deserve better. Another example is 'Hold at all Costs' which starts great but never picks up leaving us only a flat chorus.
Ripper's talented deliverance in "The Glorious Burden" is sharp as a razorblade and shows why Schaffer chose him for the vocal slot. But, taking nothing away from Ripper, I have to say that Matt Barlow's melancholic approach is missed.
In general the compositions in "The Glorious Burden" are good, not great, and just leave us with a back catalogue that is simply amazing. For the next CD, Iced Earth should retrace their own steps to see how to write amazing and enchanting pieces of music. In the end, this is a mediocre release from a band that once wrote such classics as "Night of the Stormrider" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes".
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.4 out of 10