Melancholy EP, Import
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Originally released as a 5 track vinyl EP these tracks are now available with two more to make up this 7 song CDEP. Includes their cover versions of Bad Company' s 'Shooting Star', Black Sabbath's 'Electric Funeral', and Judas Priest's cover of 'The Ripper'.
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The last track, "Colors," was supposed to have been included on their live album, ALIVE IN ATHENS, but for some reason did not make the final cut (but thankfully it is available like this!). This is a great, uber-heavy thrasher, and their performance of it is pristine.
The other three songs, however, are excellently rendered covers. Two are classic metal songs, Black Sabbath's "Electric Funeral," and Judas Priest's "The Ripper." These bands are both obvious - and traditional - influences on Iced Earth, and let me tell you now, Iced Earth's renditions ROCK.
"Electric Funeral" is well-executed, with the same chugging rhythms that came naturally to Sabbath, only far heavier here with Jon Schaffer's ultra crunches. Not to knock the great Ozzy, but Matthew Barlow's snarling wails far outdo the original singer's performance. As well, session drummer Mark Prator is, as usual, perfect. Definitely one of the best Black Sabbath covers I've ever heard.
"The Ripper" is a rip-snorting thrash piece, even before the days of thrash. The guitars shred, the drums pound away, and Christ, Barlow's VOCALS - he could replace Rob Halford any day of the week. It is kind of funny now that Iced Earth covered that song; after Halford left Judas Priest, he was replaced by Tim "Ripper" Owens; later, when Barlow left Iced Earth, Tim Owens replaced HIM. It might be kind of interesting to hear Iced Earth cover this song in concert!
Much like the TRIBUTE TO THE GODS cover album, one of the songs here is a rather surprising selection. One would think that a metal band would have all metal songs for covers, but on that album there are covers of songs from AC/DC and Blue Öyster Cult! So here it is less of a surprise that there is a cover of a Bad Company song, "Shooting Star," a heartfelt ballad about the life of a rock star. Matthew Barlow makes an excellent vocal performance, and is one of the most emotional singers I've ever heard. Larry Tarnowski's solo shines, too.
This is a great little miscellaneous collection; songs not available elsewhere are here, and are excellent. Yes, I know it's a hard-to-find import, but this is not just another E.P. that you might want to toss after a few listens. For any REAL Iced Earth fan, this is a must.
1. Melancholy (Holy Martyr) - This originally appeared on Something Wicked This Way Comes.
2. Shooting Star - This is a cover of the Bad Company hit. It's a weird song for such a heavy and dark metal band to cover, but they do a good job with it.
3. Watching Over Me - Another track from Something Wicked This Way Comes.
4. Electric Funeral - This is a cover of the Black Sabbath classic. They do a good job, but something from a Dio-era Sabbath album would have been a much better fit for Iced Earth's style.
5. I Died For You - This originally appeared on the The Dark Saga album.
6. The Ripper - This is a cover of the Judas Priest classic. I found this one an ironic choice given that former Priest vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens joined Iced Earth (briefly) not long after this was released. Barlow absolutely kills on this song.
7. Colors (live) - This live song was recorded during the Alive in Athens shows, but for whatever reason wasn't included on that release.
Obviously the cover songs are the main attraction here, especially since none of the three were included on the Tribute to the Gods album. Since you can buy those songs individually in MP3 format, The Melancholy EP is really only a must-have for serious Iced Earth fans.