Glorious Burden

The Glorious Burden

5.0 4
by Iced Earth

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Earth indulge guitarist and principal songwriter Jon Schaeffer's passion -- some would say obsession -- for history. On the bonus-disc edition, there are 11 tracks on the first disc, and on Disc Two, a three-part suite entitled "Gettysburg." Disc One begins, appropriately enough, with "The Star-Spangled Banner," played in overdrive with plenty of crunch, but


Earth indulge guitarist and principal songwriter Jon Schaeffer's passion -- some would say obsession -- for history. On the bonus-disc edition, there are 11 tracks on the first disc, and on Disc Two, a three-part suite entitled "Gettysburg." Disc One begins, appropriately enough, with "The Star-Spangled Banner," played in overdrive with plenty of crunch, but nonetheless reverently. That statement aside, the album truly begins with "Declaration Day," an examination of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the beginning of the American Revolution. Singer Tim Owens steps into the fray and relates, amid the bone-crushing riffing and half-time drum thud. But interestingly, it's a track that gets juxtaposed with the one that follows it, "When the Eagle Cries." Together they comprise a kind of view across the historical battlefield, from the tyranny of the British Empire to the tyranny of terrorism. The latter cut, with its haunting acoustic guitars in the front line before it breaks wide open, sort of looks back at "Declaration Day" and notes its inspiration. A truly majestic song full of plodding, jarring chords and a hooky chorus, it is part funeral hymn, and part a call-to-arms. Indeed, as the careening bombast of "The Reckoning (Don't Tread on Me)," comes into sharp focus, one can see that Schaeffer's intent is to very clearly showcase the various difficult, and even horrifying, moments confronting America since its inception -- one can read double meanings in all the songs that have American lore at their core. America isn't the mythical and/or archetypal muse here: on tracks such as "Attila," and "Red Baron/Blue Max," the metaphors are extended to two more figures from the dust of the past. At last, here is a record about patriotism that contains no jingoism; it offers its perceptions honestly and without compromise, but instead of going along for the ride, it offers a place to argue from, as well as to enjoy. Highly recommended.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Iced Earth   Primary Artist
Tim Owens   Vocals,Group Member
Jeff Day   Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Howard Helm   Piano,Musician,Guest Appearance
Jim Morris   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Soloist
Sam King   Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Jon Schaffer   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Background Vocals,Guitar (12 String Acoustic),Group Member
Matthew Barlow   Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Ralph Santolla   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist,Musician,Guest Appearance
James Macdonough   Bass,Bass Guitar,Group Member
Roger Stephens   Track Performer,Group Member
Richard Christy   Drums,Group Member
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra   Track Performer
Michael LoBue   Bagpipes,Musician,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Jim Morris   Producer,Engineer,Orchestral Arrangements
Robert Wilding   Orchestra Transcription,Score Transcription
John Stafford Smith   Composer
Jon Schaffer   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Orchestral Arrangements
Matthew Barlow   Composer
Francis Scott Key   Composer
Public Domain   Composer
Adrian Morris   Engineer
Todd Brown   Artwork
Leo Hao   Illustrations

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The Glorious Burden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
RobbieBobby44 More than 1 year ago
So Barlow is gone and he will be sorely missed because he was a phenomenal vocalist with range, power and an uncanny ability to draw you into the subject no matter what he sang about. But Tim Owens is also a first-class musician. I know this because he was on stage the first time I saw them, in Dallas, touring for this CD - and he was so amazing I can't fully describe it. So here's a concept album about a few great figures in history (loved and hated/feared in equal measure, depending on whose side you were on) such as Attila, Napoleon and the ace fighter pilots Red Baron & Blue Max, as well as unnamed figures: Greenface is named after a friend of the band, a special forces soldier, while Valley Forge shows us the Continental Army soldier struggling through starvation, bitter cold and disease in Gen. Washington's camp and makes us realize how easy our lives are compared to such times. The rest of the album makes plain Jon Schaffer's love for his country as it begins with the national anthem and moves into Declaration Day, remembering our freedom from the British. Next, one of this country's saddest days is recalled in "When the Eagle Cries." But to say those few songs are jingoistic or overly patriotic is a load of bull, because Jon IS the American Dream. This is a guy who left home as a teenager and had NOTHING but heart and determination to do what he wanted to do with his life. A couple decades and several astounding albums later, he's still at it. Any questions? Moving on, now I must pay tribute to this release's crowning glory: the 30-minute trilogy concerning the battle of Gettysburg. If you've read Civil War material e.g. The Killer Angels and seen corresponding films like Gettysburg, then you'll know Jon did a flawless job telling the story from both points of view. Including an orchestra shows a master's touch, but there's one aspect of the lyrics I want to focus on: when the fight is over, Gen. Lee, one of the most revered men in U.S. history, is crestfallen not just by the realization that nearly 15,000 men have been lost in a matter of hours but by the fact that he's compelled to question the justice of the Confederate cause. Given his certainty of God's existence, all along Lee has been convinced that the South is in the right and the good Lord is on their side, that the Almighty will provide victory for him and his army. His spiritual faith was badly shaken by what happened on 3 July 1863, but, like a true leader, Lee shouldered the blame for the defeat that signaled the beginning of the end. Jon - and Tim - conveyed such emotions and thoughts in the most superb way. This is extraordinary proof that heavy metal is one of the most liberated forms of modern music, able to draw on myriad ideas, cultures and musical styles to enlighten and excite people if they can just accept the higher volumes and faster tempos.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I found Glorious Burden in the CD Store, I was excited to get it home and pop it in my CD player. I, like many others, was unsure for what this album would be like. The departure of vocalist, Matt Barlow, was a sad awakening for this band. Tim Owens, former Judas Priest vocalist, joined Iced Earth as many of you know. I must say, he does a fabulous job on this album. The first time I listening to Glorious Burden, I had mixed feelings. I didn't know what to think. In some songs, it seems as if Owens and Schaffer have 10 backing vocalists (which I'm sure is true). I was a bit upset when I was finished listening to the album. I feel that overall, (it is hard to say this) the album was TOO harmonized. A few hours later, I decided to listen to the CD again, and I was no longer upset. This album is definately one of those albums that seems to get better every time you listen to it. I had all the song reviews here, but I had to limit my character length. :( Conclusion: At first, I didn't like it as much as other Iced Earth albums, (I also own Burnt Offerings and Night of the Stormrider) but now, I like it just as much. You also get a good history lesson. ;)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally a metal band (and album) that is not angry at their country and wanting to destroy it. What a relief that a metal band can use its brains and provoke thought from the listener. This is one of the best metal releases to come out in 10 years or more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough about this album. It's refreshing to hear a metal band in the year 2006 where you can actually hear and understand the lyrics, where in today's ugly metal scene most lead singers can do nothing but growl and roar. Iced Earth's album is patriotic and beautifully written. Instrumentally, this, for me personally, is just as good as Iron Maidens latest release, which was also very good. "The Devil to Pay" is an awesome track that once you listen to it, you'll want to hear it over and over again.