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Show Review: Iced Earth & Symphony X

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Conor Fynes View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 1:56am
Especially when it comes to the bravado-filled world of American power metal, there is no better place to experience the music than in a live setting, although that can probably be said for just about any style. Regardless, adrenaline-fuelled excitement was heavy at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, on Valentine's Day. Not because anyone was looking particularly forward to an expensive restaurant bill or cheesy card exchanges; no, this Valentine's Day, the excitement was built around the arrival of Symphony X and Iced Earth, and getting to experience two of the best American metal bands with a bunch of other sweaty metalheads.


After a decent, but unremarkable opening performance in Warbringer, Iced Earth takes the stage. The lights go out, and tensions are high. As expected, the band sticks to songs from their newest album Dystopia, and while the band most eagerly anticipates the classic songs, there is just as great a force to the new offerings. 

In the weeks following up to the show, the biggest question in my mind was in regards to the new singer, Stu Block, and his replacement of the most canonical Iced Earth vocalist, Matt Barlow. Although I was already well aware of his talent and range through Into Eternity, his vocal style there did not seem to fit Iced Earth, but I was pleasantly amazed by how Stu was able to tweak his style to fit the band. Although certainly distinguishable from each other, Stu Block sounds plenty like Barlow, and there was no disappointment. Although Barlow does have a stronger 'mid range' to his voice, Block easily competes with some insane falsettos that are bound to give concertgoers chills.

Iced Earth's performance was very strong, with 'Damien' being my arguable highlight of their set. A single ballad track the band plays towards the dusk of their set felt a bit out of place and even formulaic to the 'power ballad' structure, and I found that while Iced Earth did not have a great variety to the music they played during the night, most of the songs were distinguishable and memorable unto their own. 

Despite a longer-than-desirable intermission, Symphony X came on to massive cheers, and even those viewers who came to see Iced Earth seemed brought into the excitement by the end of Symphony X's first song. Michael Romeo absolutely amazed with his guitar work, and although I have rarely been a fan of Russell Allen's voice on record, he changed my impression seeing him perform live. 



Like Iced Earth, they played mostly material from their new album 'Iconoclast' (as well as the preceding work 'Paradise Lost'). However, unlike Iced Earth, I felt a little disappointed by this move. Although Symphony X's more to-the-point recent style was very exciting for the first few songs, I did feel a sense of deja vu by the fourth and fifth. Symphony X played only a smattering of their more technical, 'progressive' riffs, and for what little I heard of that side, I was blown away. I can't say it happens much, but I ultimately felt both impressed and disappointed with Symphony X's performance. Although they sported excellent musicianship and showmanship, I was left wanting to hear even one more of their more classic tunes. The eruption of cheers that ensued when 'Inferno' started playing makes me think I am not the only one who wanted this.



Regardless, a great show from both acts. A very memorable night!

Photos taken by Kevin Zecchel
Commodore Ballroom Feb 14th, Vancouver BC 2012


Edited by Conor Fynes - 14 Aug 2012 at 1:04am
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Pekka View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pekka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 2:07am
Saw Iced Earth a few months ago, a brilliant show that made me buy many of their albums Thumbs Up
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UMUR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 2:09am
Sounds like a great show to me. I understand your d isappointment that the bandīs didnīt play more of their older material. Both bands have released several albums and existed for many years, so including quite a few tracks from their back catalogue would only be natural.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KevinZed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 3:13am
Interno and Of Sin and Shadows were undoubtedly the highlight of SymX's set that night. As much as I enjoyed the encore of Eve of Seduction, Serpents Kiss, and Set the World On Fire, it was the older material that seemed to bring the most energy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2012 at 5:55pm
Good job! Approve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2012 at 1:13pm
I saw them when they were here, too.  It was the fullest that particular venue has ever been, basically.

Highlight - Iced Earth closing out with Dante's Inferno and then their self-titled song.
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