Lineup:

Jon Schaffer - Rhythm Guitar / Vocals

Randall Shawver - Lead Guitar

Matthew Barlow - Lead Vocals

Dave Abell - Bass Guitar

Rodney Beasley - Drums

Additional info:

Recorded at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida.

Produced by Jon Schaffer and Tom Morris.

Year: 1995

Album Length: 52:39

Genre: Thrash Metal, Power Metal

Label: Century Media

Background:

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 Lead vocalist John Greely has been replaced by the legendary Matt Barlow and drummer Rick Secchiari has been replaced by Rodney Beasley.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.


The Good:

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, the darkest and the heaviest songs that Schaffer has ever composed. Schaffer still maintains the beautiful acoustic sections and melody within the music though demonstrating his composing abilities further.

Matt Barlow is one of the best metal vocalists of all time. 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 good band to an incredible one.

This is definitely the heaviest album in Iced Earth's discography. Burnt Offerings is a thrash metal album with some power metal tendencies. The amount of speed and aggression on this record is simply unmatched by other Iced Earth records.

The Bad:

There are no major weaknesses with this record.


Favorite Tracks:

Track 1: Burnt Offerings

I love the dark atmosphere of the track. It really sets the mood of the entire record. It begins with a slow and eerie opening, but soon completely changes tempo to a very thrash oriented sound. The vocals immediately stand out from previous albums with lower growl-like vocals and Barlow's powerful vocals. The riffs are fast paced when they need to be and slower during the more melodic parts. The track also utilizes acoustic passages to balance between the band's heaviness and melodious sound. The guitar solo is a welcome addition that only adds to an already brilliant opener.

Track 3: Diary

I love the heavy opening with its slow chugging guitar. It sets the dark tone of the entire track. The atmospheric element of this album is really what helps it stand out from other albums within the genre and there is no shortage of atmosphere on this track. I love the drumming on this track as well. Barlow's vocals are absolutely fantastic thanks to his utilization of different styles of vocals delivery. "Diary" is another standout from this fantastic record.

Track 6: Creator Failure

Barlow's voice is fantastic thanks to the power behind his brilliant delivery. The track changes pace and tone throughout its run-time. I love many of the different riffs that are utilized during the track as well as the fantastic guitar solos within the song. The song has such a fantastic mix of emotions between somber emotion and darker moods within its different sections. This is certainly one of Iced Earth's most unique tracks that they have ever written.

Track 8: Dante’s Inferno

"Dante's Inferno" 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 time 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.


Rating Scale:

1: Garbage

1.5: Awful

2: Bad

2.5: Mixed

3: Decent

3.5: Good

4: Great

4.5: Excellent

5: Perfect

Verdict:

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.

Rating: