Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Live: Iced Earth + White Wizzard – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham – 05/11/2011

Monday, November 7, 2011, 18:05
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With the venue already at near capacity, I managed to catch the end of FURY UK‘s set with ‘Call To Arms’ and the superb ‘Death By Lightning’ coming across very well live. I have seen these guys a few times live before and always enjoyed their sets. They have some quality material and always get the crowd going too. Definitely a band to check out if you ever get the chance.

Although WHITE WIZZARD have some good tunes, I have often found their live shows somewhat lackluster. I wish I could say something different from that based on tonight’s performance, but unfortunately I can’t. They seemed to lack an on stage presence, and albeit, the stage isn’t the biggest in this venue, their use of it was non-existent to say the least and very static. The likes of ‘Over The Top’, ’40 Deuces’ and ‘Iron Goddess of Vengeance’ got a rousing reception from the fans, and they were performed very well, but they were just lacking that certain something that would make me go and see them on their own headline tour.

With the sublime new album, ‘Dystopia’ in tow and new vocalist Stu Block at the helm, ICED EARTH took to the stage and delivered an excellent set that absolutely flew by, and definitely left the crowd wanting more. There was no surprise that the new album featured heavily throughout the set, with the likes of opening number and title track ‘Dystopia’ getting things rolling nicely, whilst ‘V’ (complete with Guy Fawkes mask getting a showing courtesy of an audience member), ‘Dark City’, ‘Anthem’ and ‘Tragedy And Triumph’ all sounded fantastic live.

It was apparent very early on that you could tell what Jon Schaffer was on about when he mentioned that Stu had that look in his eye. His on stage presence is excellent, whether it being his antics, banter with the crowd, or conducting the fist pumps or singing, and you can’t help but keep your eyes on him. Stu has fitted straight into ICED EARTH with so much ease, and really delivered also on the Barlow and Ripper era material too in the form of ‘Stand Alone’, ‘Slave To The Dark’ and ‘Declaration Day’, which were on offer tonight.

One highlight of the set was seeing the duo of ‘Angels Holocaust’ and ‘When The Night Falls’ getting a dusting off and being played on this tour. These have definitely not aged with time and went down a storm with the crowd, whilst the extremely atmospheric and evil ‘Damien’ got a great reception too. It was the song that everyone in attendance was waiting to hear tonight, and as Stu introduced it with ‘Let’s take a trip to Hell’, the epic ‘Dante’s Inferno’ was upon us and was delivered in all its glory to note perfection by every member of the band, who were all on outstanding form tonight.

All that was left to cap of an awesome set was, as usual, the self titled ‘Iced Earth’ which sent the crowd into headbanging frenzy one last time for the night. It rounded off an awe-inspiring display from ICED EARTH, with everybody showing their appreciation with horns raised and applause aplenty. Overall, I can’t fault the set at all as it was great to hear some of the early material, especially ‘Dante’s Inferno’. This is one November 5th I’m sure everyone in attendance will remember!

Ratings:

ICED EARTH: 5.0/5.0

WHITE WIZZARD: 3.2/5.0

Review By Adam Fredericks

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