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.
Performance CreditsIced 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 CreditsJim 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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Glorious Burden based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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.
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.
At one point in time there was an era in which it was considered a good thing to love your country and to do what you can to ensure that it perseveres and grows. It used to be encouraged to support your country and to be proud of where you live. It seems as if those days are almost over, as people seem to condemn others for expressing pride that they hold for their nation; this happens so much regarding the U.S. that it isn't even funny. It seems one can't be proud of their country anymore because maybe that country has a rocky past, or is even more rigid in the present. I have a feeling many people see patriotism as being egotistical and fat headed, and thus many people cry their eyes out because Iced Earth made an album with a slight patriotic edge and a historical theme. You know what? Those people can go ahead and bleed their hearts out until they die, because despite people believing that patriotism is a bad thing, this isn't a bad album. The Glorious Burden is far blown out of proportion when people say it's all about patriotism. This album deals more with historical figures and telling the story of occurrences throughout history rather than just the simple theme of national pride. Having maybe two or three tracks, which are even remotely patriotic, doesn't qualify for mindless and arrogant patriotism. The only songs that are even remotely patriotic that I can think of are "The Reckoning," "Star Spangled Banner," and "When The Eagle Cries." This entire album is packed with one giant passionate performance, which surely makes this one of the best albums of 2004. The album is also fairly diverse; you've got your thrasher songs, heavy set, and the in between which shares both the thrash and heavy characteristics. Ripper's vocal implementation is pretty ardent, but I still think Barlow is, and forever will be, the real voice of Iced Earth. Ripper has a sound quite similar to Rob Halford, and you can hear some vocal melodies and tones similar to Judas Priest's "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Painkiller" albums ("Greenface" and "The Reckoning" are good examples of this). What I'm referring to for some songs are the high pitched singing style and the well placed shrieks that Owens dishes out, sounding very much like the middle-class man's Rob Halford. Yes, yes, we all know of Jon's recursive riff style, but even though it's not incredibly diverse it still sounds different. The way I look at it is, if you can tell the difference between all of the songs, then the composer has done a good job. That's the thing - none of the songs sound exactly the same...and no matter how parallel the riffing style is to previous works, it won't change the fact that the tempo and rhythm are different. One can argue that some of the songs may be simplistic, but even the most well-liked songs aren't the most complex in construction - you have to hear the music for what it is, not see it as it's contrived in order to fully appreciate it. Yet again, Jon demonstrates his hand agility and stamina on songs like the thrashing "The Reckoning," which only induces the will to bang your head until your spine snaps in half. This album certainly keeps the thrash elements which made Iced Earth one of the more well-known power metal bands, with songs that ride in on the heavy metal cavalry and completely sever your head with one swift swing of the melody axe. Songs such as "Red Baron/Blue Max" really let Richard Christy show off his incredible drumming skills with enough speed to punch you in the face, run away, and you'd never know what hit you. On songs like "Attila" and "Red Baron/Blue Max" the rhythm guitar goes into some seriously fast palm muting, quickly come out to reveal some melody, then falls back into it's tight formation with lead guitar, over and over again to make them scream with blistering thrash power. There is only one song
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.
This album, which is Iced Earth's first venture after Barlow left, is an amazing album thats worthy of any metal fan's library space. The second disk, Gettysburg, is in fact worth the purchase in it's own right. The music conveyed the point that Jon Schaffer tried to get across in a beautiful way, with orchestra in the background and great vocals by Ripper. The main disk is excellent as well, with highlights including "The Reckoning", "Greenface", and "Attila". I dont see why people dont like Tim "Ripper" Owens, even after listening to this cd. Hes not Barlow, but he is an amazing vocalist in his own way.
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. ;)