Iced Earth – The Glorious Burden Review

Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden
Iced Earth – The Glorious Burden

Iced Earth’s seventh full-length studio album; 2004’s The Glorious Burden, saw the US Power Metal band trading in long-time vocalist Matt Barlow for former Judas Priest singer Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, when Barlow felt the call of duty to serve as a law enforcement officer.

Though my personal favourite singer Iced Earth has ever had (they’ve had five over the years) is probably Matt Barlow because that’s who I heard first (usually how these things go), Tim Owens is a fine replacement with a wide range, a good attitude and some real power in those lungs. He’s clearly a very talented guy and fits the band well, matching the traditional high standard of Iced Earth singers.

The album was released via SPV records and was recorded in the famous Florida studio Morrisound, co-produced by Jim Morris and band–leader Tim Schaffer. Naturally, the album sounds fantastic. Crystal clear, grand, and yet still heavy.

The music itself on The Glorious Burden is fairly in line with what you would expect from Iced Earth, if perhaps focusing a little more on the mid-tempo aspects of their style. Mixing the sounds of Traditional Heavy Metal, early 80s US Prog Metal, USPM and a surprisingly high dose of Bay Area Thrash… Iced Earth have a definite identifiable, proudly Metallic sound and don’t deviate too far from it here. It you like melody, double kicks, guitar solos and a crunchy riffs its all here to be had.

The band do stretch their wings however on the fabulous, slightly progressive, three-part album closer “Gettysburg,” which is full of civil-war era music mixed with the band’s triumphant-sounding Metal music (even going so far as to make Metal versions of melodies from “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Dixie” and add them into the proceedings). This trilogy of songs is really worth checking out and practically worth the price of the album on their own.

In addition to that however, there are also an album’s worth of brief, well-written, masterfully executed Metal tracks on the disc too. Things like the memorable “Declaration Day,” “Valley Forge” and “Red Baron/Blue Max.” This is yet another consistent, filler-free effort from the band. If you are in the right mood, and give these songs the time to sink in, you can really grow to love this record.

Overall; The Glorious Burden is a strong and interesting album from the veteran band. Iced Earth fans should enjoy it. Tim Owens fans should enjoy it. Fans of a lot of Metal style should like it too (Heck; even if you have a prejudice about Power Metal due to the Keyboards, Goblins & Wizards stereotype, this should give you a new perspective on the possibilities). If you wonder whether this album is for you, take a listen to “Valley Forge” and judge for yourself.


  1. I was all about this album when it came out. I still only really like their stuff with Ripper. I’ve tried some Barlow albums but they just don’t do it for me (so far). But I guess it’s more cause I started off with the Ripper stuff than any problems with Barlow’s voice.


    • When I first got it I wasn’t keen, it wasn’t until I listened to Gettysburg separately that the whole thing finally clicked, then I really liked it from then on out…


      • Yeah that’s what I call the “smaller chunks” theory of listening. An Glorious Burden is a pretty hefty album. Listening to that part separately would help.

        I mostly focused on Ripper’s voice which I am a fan of.


      • See; That’s a very Podcast topic. “Smaller Chunks Theory” would be a good topic.

        I have “Boxset Lag” which is if I get five albums on five different days, I get into them faster than if I get five albums on the same day. Usually on a Birthday, or in a boxset, there’ll be on “loser” album that loses out and doesn’t get its fair share of listens.


      • My birthday is this Saturday. I don’t know if I’m getting any music, but that could be a timely tie-in.


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