THE GLORIOUS BURDEN
Released 2004 (Hunter Records)
01. The Star Spangled Banner
02. Declaration Day
03. When The Eagle Cries
04. The Reckoning (Don’t Tread On Me)
05. Green Face
06. Valley Forge
08. Hollow Man
09. Red Baron/Blue Max
10. The Devil To Pay
11. Hold At All Costs
12. High Water Mark
Tim Owens – lead vocals
Jon Schaffer – rhythm/lead guitars and backing vocals
James MacDonough – bass
Richard Christy – drums
Ralph Santolla – lead guitar
Jim Morris – lead guitars and backing vocals
Matt Barlow – backing vocals
Sam King – backing vocals
Jeff Day – backing vocals
Howard Helm – piano
Susan McQuinn – flute and piccolo
Michael LoBue – bagpipe
The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Produced by Jim Morris and Jon Schaffer.
This is an album Iron Maiden should have made in the late 1980s or early 90s, instead, solid rockers from central Florida released it in 2004. In what can only be described as a labor of love of the band’s driving force, Jon Schaffer, this CD blends heavy doses of history with a thoughtful mix of emotions brought on by the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
The CD starts with an electric version of the “Star Spangled Banner” and segues into “Declaration Day”, a look back at the birth of the United States and the sacrifice it took to create this country. The very next track, “When The Eagle Cries”, is a touching nod to 9/11. The rest of the CD leading up to the three parts of “Gettysburg” touches on various historical and military subjects such as the Special Forces in Greenface, the ruthless Hun leader “Attila”, dog-fighting in WWI with the “Red Baron/Blue Max”, and the disgust of the Colonial soldier at “Valley Forge” if he could see what this country has become since the days he and his brothers sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
However, all of that pales in comparison to the three-part epic “Gettysburg”. The three tracks total 31 minutes and 53 seconds and cover the three days of battle that saw over 50,000 men laid to rest. Here Tim Owens and Jon Schaffer share vocal duties to help bring to life the two sides of the conflict, the Blue and the Grey. A 55-piece orchestra was also incorporated to help suck the listener into the story and it does an incredible job. This is as moving a piece as I have ever heard put to music, let alone with a metal background. Though it may be a part of America’s history, it’s pertinent to everyone who calls this planet home. As John Schaffer notes inside the CD jacket, “History, in my mind, is the most important subject that we as human beings can learn from. For those who find it boring I suggest that you find a new teacher, or study it on your own, for it is anything but boring. It is a necessity in our world, for those who are ignorant to it, are doomed to repeat
If the new Iron Maiden release left you wanting, thinking there could have been more, this CD will cover all their misses and then some. It would be a shame for the world at large not to hear this offering by Iced Earth.
Reviewed by Brutus for Sleaze Roxx, October 2006.