Jon Schaffer

Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon Review

Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon Review

“No one can begrudge you for being a little skeptical of a release by American power metal institution Iced Earth in 2014. Following the departure of Matt Barlow post-9/11, and the entry of one-trick-pony and professional Rob Halford impersonator Ripper Owens, the band has spit out terrible record after mediocre tripe. With the entry of Stu Block, formerly of Into EternityIced Earth was poised for a big comeback in the form of Dystopia — but even that fell short. The record was plodding, mediocre at best, and Block didn’t feel like part of the crew.” So, can our heroes right the ship with Plagues of Babylon? Or are they… plague ridden?

Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon (Vinyl Mix) Review

Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon (Vinyl Mix) Review

Iced Earth is a bonafide heavy metal institution, and part of their long staying power and general widespread appeal has got to be attributed to their fearless leader and head riff master Jon Schaffer, whose strong work ethic, unwavering live free or die attitude, and keen sense of aesthetics, has kept this machine rolling for over the last two decades. With his tried and true formula of power, thrash, and lyrical armageddon, Schaffer has churned out a number of genre leading staples, ranging from 1995’s Burnt Offerings, with all of its dark imagery and heavy riffing, to 1998’s Something Wicked this Way Comes, whose last three songs became the basis for the multi-record Something Wicked Saga, an epic fantasy about the rise and fall of man.

Megadeth – Th1rt3en Review

Megadeth – Th1rt3en Review

When Megadeth released Endgame in 2009, I was noticeably effected. This was Megadeth like we hadn’t really heard them since (arguably) Youthanasia, and for more fans, much earlier than that. It was a refreshed band with excellent writing and guitar work that matched the Marty Friedman days. The songs were well written, catchy and the record was tightly edited and honed down to perfect vinyl length. Honestly, Endgame was a record that I don’t think anyone but the most idealistic of Megadeth fans could even have been expecting. And though at the time I joked that we should make sure that Mustaine wasn’t stockpiling fertilizer, (I still hold firm to that belief) the record has aged pretty well. That, of course, means that there are some expectations for Th1rt3en. Expectations that this record, for example, will not suck.