As the Year In Metal 2013 draws to a thunderous close, heavy metal greats Iced Earth are sure to have fans up and rolling again in the new year with the January 21, 2014, U.S. release of Plagues Of Babylon. The new album – on the Century Media Records label – is the eleventh studio release for main songwriter and guitarist Jon Schaffer, with drummer Raphael Saini and bassist Luke Appleton making their first appearance in the studio for the band. Troy Steele plays lead guitar, and the vocals are provided by Stu Block. Plagues Of Babylon is the second album with the versatile Block as the singer. His debut with Iced Earth was on their 2011 release, Dystopia. Plagues had initially been set for release back in October, but with the band committed to touring throughout the fall the date was reset to January.
Iced Earth fans will find that thanks to a number of excellent new songs here like Among The Living Dead, The Culling, If I Could See You, Parasite, and Cthulhu, the wait was well worth it. Some of the songs are continuations of Schaffer’s “Something Wicked” theme, which first appeared in the band’s late 90s material. Another album highlight is Iced Earth’s version of the classic country song Highwayman.
Compelling cover art by Eliran Kantor depicts zombified plague victims being harnessed with chains by the malicious, fanged creature shown on previous Iced Earth releases. The hellish image is a good match for the world created by the ominous opening notes of the title track for Plagues Of Babylon – notes that will probably bring fans to their feet when Iced Earth tours this album in the States in Spring 2014.
Fans can hear the blistering Among The Living Dead and watch the lyric video for Plagues Of Babylon now on www.icedearth.com.