When Matthew Barlow, -the very voice of Iced Earth decided to retired and being replaced by Ripper Owens I was very unhappy with the decision. Although, I still admired Jon Schaffer craftsmanship in guitars riffs and lyrical matters, to me Iced Earth is a dead world.
When Badril ( Thanatopsis Zine Ed ) told me, Iced Earth returned with a new vocalist and gave me this album. I am amazed with this guy called Stu Block. His previous band was Into Enternity. I means, his first album with Iced Earth is a sign that Iced Earth will reign again.
Dystopia is close comparable to “Something Wicked” fame, but with more heavy and killer productions. As we know, Jon Schaffer hates the government, and mostly this album conception was inspired by dystopian movies and books. And some of the songs based on very personal matters.
I see most webzines and magazine doubted Mr. Block capability and review this album as an average releases. Well, fuck them. This is absolutely Album Of The Year to me. Iced Earth finally meet a perfect guy to replace Matt Barlow. He is not Barlow or Ripper, but he sure can combine the uniqueness of both vocalists into one. The magical moments rise when he is delivering his powerful chorus in every song.
Maybe the whole album is a recycled composition from their past works, but this is Iced Earth we knew. Jon Schaffer we knew. To some people, they might be bored with the same formula especially in his ballad song. And Iced Earth playing safe with less Thrash Metal elements this time, but let give him a space, man! Allow Mr. Schaffer some time to discover something new with Mr. Block.
I don’t like the new cover artworks. It might suit the conception, but the illustration looks cheap and weak. Anyhow, In short, “Dystopia” is a MUST for all Iced Earth die-hard fans.