Burnt Offerings is the third album by American power metal band Iced Earth. After a three year hiatus, Iced Earth comes back in full force. Iced Earth decided to adjust their lineup for the third time. Lead vocalist John Greely has been replaced by the legendary Matt Barlow and drummer Rick Secchiari has been replaced by Rodney Beasley. This makes the third vocalist and drummer in three albums for the band. These changes would prove to be the most important in the band's decision because it gave way for Matt Barlow to add his incredible vocal range on this record.
Schaffer takes his songwriting to a whole new level on this record. Iced Earth had gone through some difficulties over the past 3 years, regarding differences with their label and between some band members which resulted in the angriest, darkest, and heaviest songs that Schaffer has ever written. Schaffer still maintains the beautiful acoustic sections and melody within the music though demonstrating his songwriting abilities further.
When it comes to metal vocals there are arguably none better than Matt Barlow. He immediately gave Iced Earth power, emotion, range, and variation that many vocalists can only dream of having. His voice added a new dimension to Iced Earth that took them from being a great band to an incredible one.
The album is packed full of classics, but the one that I wanted to mainly focus on is "Dante's Inferno.” It is the band's most well-written song that they have ever composed. The song takes us through the Nine Planes of Hell for sixteen minutes, each plane has something new and demonic in store for the listener. Not only does this track contain terrific lyricism, it also contains an immense amount of well-written music. The song has a very unique song structure, contains many tempo changes, and has twists and turns at every corner. Schaffer proved that he is one of the greatest songwriters in metal history thanks to this terrific masterpiece. This is still the band's greatest composition to this day.
Burnt Offerings displays a large amount of heaviness, power, and emotion that many metal albums would be hard-pressed to achieve. The songwriting is as good as it gets in both the thrash and power metal genres and the performances from the members of the band are spectacular. Burnt Offerings is a true masterpiece that is basically perfect from beginning to end.