I am not a very big fan of when bands do a CDs worth of cover songs, but goddamn, this is just too good to resist. When will these guys put out a bad record?
What you have here are bands that inspired Jon Schaffer such as SABBATH/PRIEST/KISS and more. He is just doing what he always wanted and that's paying tribute to his idols. What makes this disc so killer is the fact that he doesn't go for the typical cover choices i.e. "Rock N'Roll All Night", "Paranoid", "Livin' After Midnight" and such. He actually puts in some time and effort and digs deep. What you have here is an awesome collection of covers. We all know that the originals are top notch. So, what do you do to spice them up?
Well, Jon just puts the ICED EARTH feel to them and makes them just a little heavier and with Matt Barlow singing on them, they are just GODLY! This is one band that should be put in the upper echelons of Metal such as PRIEST, MAIDEN, SABBATH and the like. The only problem that I have with this is that songs like "Black Sabbath" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" are shorter than the original, but the meat and potatoes of the song structure are still there.
"Creatures" which opens the disc is just as heavy as the original, if not heavier. A nice surprise to see here is Jon's choice of picking Alice Cooper's "Dead Babies". A dark and classic song which still send chills up and down your spine. This is what also makes ICED EARTH such a killer band. They not only pick songs that just rock, but they can be dark, but yet remain true to themselves and their sound. A great example here is the title track of BLACK SABBATH. This is just plain eerie and creepy much like the original and it's pulled off flawlessly.
One song here that has described Jon's life as he puts it is "It's A Long Way To The Top" and he has lived by that motto ever since he created PURGATORY. This one disc you will play forward and backwards without skipping any tracks. May ICED EARTH get they props that they rightly deserve and continue to put out great music for many more years to come. (Online November 7, 2002)