Iced Earth – Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings was Iced Earth’s third album, released April 18, 1995, by Century Media Records. This album marked the introduction of legendary metal vocalist Matt Barlow. This album is incredible. Why? This album is pure evil ( pardon the pun ) and I will explain you why.

The album starts with a haunting keyboard intro to set the mood. You will hear a spoken line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the atmosphere created by the keyboard gets smashed by a aggressive riff. As it builds up, you will feel that something’s coming, and when it comes, it will knock you of your chair. Schaffer does some insane riffing and you will hear him sing, and after that you will hear Barlow. They switch with singing during the song as the riffing continues throughout the song. And I didn’t even mention the lyrics. According to interviews with Jon Schaffer, the title track is about the band’s struggles with Century Media. Well, Jon was probably very pissed at them when you hear those lyrics. ( ‘’True vengeance is on the rise The traitors shall be damned Cast their bodies to the flames ‘’ ). I didn’t even mention the crazy guitar solo after the softer part. This song is fantastic, one of the best Iced Earth songs.

Matt Barlow’s voice really stands out at the beginning of the following track called Last December. This song starts off with a nice acoustic intro, but after a while it gets a bit more heavy with some riffs and Matt’s voice gets a bit more aggressive. This song has a catchy chorus and great melodies. Matt Barlow’s scream halfway through makes this song even better. Diary kicks in with a slow and heavy chugging riff and gets interrupted by a creepy melodic section after a minute. When the first verse ends, a great drum fill introduces a much faster part, where Matt performs one of the highlights of this song with a primal scream. This faster part is once again driven forward by Schaffer’s riffing as the song continues to go uphill. Shawver plays a blistering solo during this track and a slow passage follows shortly after that, only to be followed by another fast part ending the song. This song is very catchy ( I will have her she’s mine! ) and is one of my favorites of the album.

The next song called Brainwashed is one of the slower songs of the album and starts with a eerie intro. After the intro the riffs enter the scene ( how surprising ) and Barlow starts singing. This song deals with the fallacies and hypocrisy of religion. Matt delivers a solid vocal performance on this song, he sounds pissed (“Do as I say or burn in Hell!” )and Jon does a good job with some backup vocals as well. The song has an acoustic break and it really fits in this song, this break is a great build-up to the last chorus.

“Burning Oasis” is probably the most underrated song on Burnt Offerings and I can’t say that I disagree. Don’t get me wrong, this song is killer, but not as good as the other stuff. Matt performs some high pitched screams during this song, he really shows his vocal range in this track. This song gets really good near the end with amazing vocals, cool lyrics and good riffing. The next song Creator Failure explodes right from the beginning ( there is even an explosion sample during the beginning ) and is another underrated song. The song has some enjoyable riff changes and Matt’s vocal performance is once again solid. The guitar work is once again very good and Matt delivers a demonic good performance near the end ( ‘’ Come to me my demon brother ‘’, I gotta say that part is a bit cheesy though. ).

Just like the previous album, Night of the Stormrider, the final track has an interlude. The interlude on this album is called The Pierced Spirit. This is the shortest song on the album, and plain brilliant. Barlow sings with plenty of emotion and sadness during this slow song. Jon Schaffer’s acoustic guitar adds to the atmosphere, accompanied by a piano. This is the perfect introduction for the grand finale of this album.

The final track of this album, Dante’s Inferno, is based on the famous epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. This song, is the best Iced Earth song, EVER. Seriously, Schaffer will never top this demonic, epic, brilliant song. This song has everything from the entire album, the evil, the hate, the anger, the sadness and of course fantastic riffs and manic soloing sections. The demonic nature of the album increases tenfold with this track as well, which is very good. This song grabs you by the neck and refuses to let go. And did I mention that this song is 16+ minutes long? Damn, this song is plain perfect. Each verse covers one of Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell as Schaffer does some grinding, thrashy riffing. The drumming is very good in this track as well, just as, like always, the vocals. The song even has some slow acoustic/melodic parts, only adding to the amazing atmosphere. The song gets even more evil near the end. Somewhere around 13 minutes the song starts building up towards the final layer of hell, the one with Lucifer. You will hear chants as the song continues a bit slower, with Matt describing the horror. The song reaches its most epic moment at around 14.40 with the LUCIFER part with both Matt and Schaffer singing. This part is the final section of the song and the eerie keyboard intro from the first track makes a re-appearance.

Conclusion – It’s been said that Jon Schaffer hates Burnt Offerings, but why!? This album is one of the best things he ever did, there is only one Iced Earth album that beats this one, and that is Night Of The Stormrider. My rating for this album shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only songs that don’t interest me that much are Burning Oasis and Last December, the rest is plain fantastic.

Rating – 92/100

Review by JustinMetal88

Original 1995 Cover

Remixed and Remastered 2002 Cover


~ by Justin on April 10, 2008.

2 Responses to “Iced Earth – Burnt Offerings”

  1. This is my favorite Iced Earth CD. Such a great record – how does the remastered version sound?

  2. It’s pretty good. This remaster is really clear & crisp but unfortunately the bass is toned down a bit. So yeah, it depends on what you like more. Some people prefer the ” old ” original version, and others like the remaster for it’s clear & crisp sound. I for one like this version.

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