Iced Earth: 'Night of the Stormrider' Album Review

Iced Earth: 'Night of the Stormrider' Album Review

Iced Earth takes big strides on their second album thanks to improved vocals and stellar guitar work
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Lineup:

Jon Schaffer - Vocals, Lead Vocals on “Stormrider”, Rhythm Guitar

Randy Shawver - Lead Guitar

John Greely - Lead Vocals

Dave Abell - Bass Guitar

Richey Secchiari - Drums

Additional info:

Produced by Tom Morris and Jon Schaffer.

Recorded and Mixed at Morrisound Recording Studios, Tampa, Florida.

Mastered at Fullersound, Miami, Florida.

Year: 1992

Album Length: 46:06

Genre: Thrash Metal, Power Metal

Label: Century Media

Background:

Night of the Stormrider is the second album by American power metal band Iced Earth. The band has made some notable changes since their first release. After Gene Adam's poor vocal performance on the last album, the band decided to replace him with John Greely. The band also replaced Mike McGill on the drums with Richey Secchiari after his pedestrian performance on the band's debut album. This improved lineup would result in an album that showed immense improvement over the band's debut.


The Good:

The guitar work on this album is fantastic. Schaffer's terrific ability to write riffs that are both catchy and heavy continues to amaze me. Shawver's solos are fantastic as well.

Schaffer's songwriting on this album is fantastic. Night of the Stormrider is a concept album that follows the path of a man who is betrayed by religion and turns away from it in anger. The dark forces reach out to the man and use him as their vessel to bring death and destruction to Earth. Even after all of the horrific deeds he has done, he feels no remorse for his deeds, and when the end comes, he numbly accepts his fate of eternity in Hell. Concept albums are always difficult to write, but the fact that this is only the bands second effort makes this feat even more impressive.

The improvement in both the vocals and drumming is a welcome addition for the band. Although, John Greely is not a fantastic lead singer, he does give a solid performance on this record.

The Bad:

John Greely is a solid vocalist, but he does not quite match the unique music on display. The vocals are still the only thing keeping Iced Earth from being great in all musical aspects. John Greely is solid, but not great.


Favorite Tracks:

Track 1: Angels Holocaust

This epic opener begins with orchestration and big sounding guitar riffs. Then, the song completely changes its tone to a soft acoustic section with melodic vocals. The best thing about this track is the amount of heaviness and speed occurs throughout the rest of the track. Greely's vocals are very haunting and a huge improvement over his predecessor.

Track 2: Stormrider

I love this song thanks to its extremely catchy chorus and speed throughout the entire song. This is one of the more straightforward songs on the record, but it just happens to be one of the best. The lyrics are memorable and the "gallop" style riffing is very enjoyable. The guitar solos are also well executed.

Track 3: The Path I Choose

I love the speed and aggression that is on display during this song.The lead vocals are really memorable because of Greely's high pitched yell of the lyric "this is that path that I choose" during the chorus. I love the rhythm guitar work because of how instantly memorable most of the riffs are. The guitar solos are also fantastic.

Track 9: Travel In Stygian

This epic 9-minute closer is definitely a masterpiece and is among the band's best tracks. I love Greely's haunting high pitched vocals on this track when he is singing from the evil figure's perspective. The track does a great job of changing between the softer acoustic moments with the faster thrash oriented moments during the song. The vocals during the chorus are actually quite impressive and are probably Greely's best on the entire album. This track is definitely a haunting conclusion that ends this album on an extremely high note.


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:

Night of the Stormrider shows major improvement for Iced Earth. The album is full of fantastic songwriting that is creative, catchy, and memorable. The improvement in the lead vocals make this record far more appealing than the band's debut album. Iced Earth's sophomore effort is an excellent release that is very enjoyable from start to finish.

Rating:

Cover Image Credit: www.youtube.com

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

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The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

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Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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