JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

February 27, 2012
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano

Iced Earth - Iced Earth, Symphony X

Two of the best rock bands in the world joined forces this winter when power metal monsters, Iced Earth and progressive metal masters, Symphony X, decided two thrashing heads were better than one as the embarked on a monumental co-headline tour that came to the venerable Trees in Dallas recently.

New Jersey's Symphony X was the first band to explode the ear drums with a set that mainly featured songs from their latest opus, Iconoclast. Singer Russell Allen showed once again why many consider him to be one of the best vocalists in the business. Whether he was belting out the heavier material like "Bastards of the Machine" and "Serpent's Kiss," or a ballad like "When All Is Lost," Allen's vocal prowess was simply amazing.

Meanwhile, guitarist Michael Romeo shredded away with technical perfection. The virtuoso was dead on with his solos, even after a mischievous Allen went from fanning him with a towel to covering his head with it. Their 90-minute set came to an end with the crowd pleaser, "Set the World On Fire."

Led by founder / guitarist Jon Schaffer, Iced Earth came out on stage like a band with something to prove. This was the group's first tour featuring new vocalist Stu Block (Into Eternity), as well as material from their new album, Dystopia, which has been receiving rave reviews.

Block is an interesting replacement for former lead singer Tim "Ripper" Owens. He has the vocal prowess to reach the low end of the scale occupied by another former lead singer, Matt Barlow, and the obvious highs that were a trademark of Owens. Highlights included "V," "Anthem," "Watching Over Me," "Declaration Day" and the epic "Dante's Inferno." The Dallas crowd was so fired up that following their regular closing number, "Iced Earth," Schaffer rewarded them with an extra unplanned encore, "Burning Time."

By year's end, no 2012 Best of Concert reviews will be complete without mentioning this incredible performance. The Iced Earth / Symphony X tandem was a show not to be missed.