Well folks, this is it, the first ever greatest hits package from this powerful and emotive band. Now, listen up people. In order to pump out a greatest hit package you should have these few things in mind; 1. This band has been around for almost twenty years. 2. Have a minimum of six releases. 3. You must deserve one. Since the beginning, ICED EARH has been on the Century label which makes it easy to put all of your favourites in one package. Disc I starts out with "Burning Times" which 99.9% of the time is how the guys open the show live. This song really gets the fans pumped out and with Matt Barlow, it doesn't get any better than this. Next to Rob Halford, Matt is the best male vocalist in Metal. Period! This portion of the CD has plenty of songs with Matt on them and it you are a die hard fan like me then you will notice which ones.
I always loved the self titled CD, but not with Gene Adam's on the mic. His voice was so nasally and wimpy. It never fit properly into the band. Listen to "Curse The Sky" and "Written On The Walls." The song that always manages to get a huge response live is "Melancholy." If you notice anything here, it's "I Died For You" from "The Dark Saga" except with different lyrics and a slight change in composition. It's a fantastic song nonetheless. After four jams with Matt, we get to vocalist number two John Greely. Wow! What a difference here. John just plain sucks compared to Matt. His voice is ok, but he has to try real hard to sound mean and aggressive. I still say that "Night Of The Stormrider" is my personal favourite. This was the CD that got me into the band back when it was released back in 1992. Another song from the "Stormrider" period is "Travel In Stygian", but this time it's live from the “Athens” CD and yes, it has Matt on it. Don't you just wish that IE could go back to the studio and redo the first two CDs with Matt? Oh well, that's what the live release is for, right?
Disc two continues to pump out the jams and a few more live tracks in there for good measure. The original version of "Melancholy.I Died For You" is on here. Listen to the two back to back and you will notice the similarities. CM did an awesome job at picking tracks from each release. Anyone who is a true fan will have all of the CDs, but if you have been living under a rock for the past 15 years and have no clue who they are, then get it. If you are a fan, get it anyway simply for the fact that this is a page in the ICED EARTH history camp and this is a keepsake. All of the old songs have been re-mastered here. I know, the first batch of releases were redone. It's over two hours long and the liner notes are well done here. Loana Valencia who was once the publicist for the label wrote them. Anyone who is a music writer will remember her unique and style and approach to each release that she worked on.
Lastly, the reason to get this is because of the cover. It's a flip cover. One side has devils in battle and the other is angels ready to attack. You can place the cover of your choice into the case. There you have it! This is the absolute perfect compilation that you need to have if you aren't familiar to the band otherwise, just put this into your IE collection. (Online October 31, 2004)