FEBRUARY 14th 2012

Review By: Metal Mom
Photos By: Char Tupper and Peter Ruttan

Was I looking forward to this show? You bet I was, as I have not seen Iced Earth, or Symphony X before, and was curious to see both. Besides, in 2011 I had the honour of reviewing Iced Earth’s Dystopia, ever since listening, I have been hooked. Lets not forget that Warbringer was also on the bill.

First on the list of things to do was go to Iced Earths signing at Scrape Records in Vancouver at 4pm, got there around 3:45 and the guys all showed up about 3:55, they sat down and then prepared for the fans to come in with things to sign and to have photos taken. It was nice to see them, I also managed to snag a photo with the band. But I was disappointed that there wasn’t many fans that showed up, mind you, it made for a more personal experience for everyone. But, could it have been that it was Valentines Day, and the guys had to take their girlfriends/wives out somewhere, or was it the time of day, being 4pm, kids in school had to get home, grab what they wanted signed, and try to get down, and most adults were working. Not sure why such a low turnout, but I did like it this way. 


Then off for some dinner, then head off to the show, and spoiled once again, it was at the Commodore Ballroom, a great venue for lights and sound. After picking up my ticket, made a stop to see one of our favourite merch ladies (Robin), then headed over to stand in my usual spot right up front, the only way to get the full experience of a show. Plus maybe catch a guitar pic, which I did from Iced Earth.

So first up is Warbringer, now these guys, I am sure I have now seen them about 7 times, they are a thrash metal band out of California, and seems to me that they are forever out playing somewhere, but that’s the best way for people to know you. As most of you know by now, I am not big on thrash, but I will say, they played a great set, high energy, which I am sure brought a lot of people to the floor. Tonight I can say I enjoyed Warbringer, they had the sound, great for head banging, or horns high. They put on a great performance.

Now, I cant wait any longer, this is who I really wanted to see tonight, ICED EARTH, who are out of Florida, but singer Stu Block, is one of our own Vancouver boys, originally from Into Eternity, now joining the ranks of Iced Earth. I have to say once I reviewed their latest CD “Dystopia“, I couldn’t get enough of them. They have that awesome sound of old metal, with some touches of heavy/power and a pinch of thrash, their sound overall was well put together. They had my attention through their entire set, and looking around the room, everyone else felt the same. Their music is always in rhythm, always complementing each other, and well, the vocals cap it off . Classic icons like Iron Maiden(to name one) would be proud, Stu has a real range of exemplary vocals, which really adds uniqueness to their sound. Never boring to watch, they move around, they talk between songs, and now seeing them live, they have left an even better impression on me. Listening to a CD can be great, but when the band plays live, that’s where you get the feel for the band and what they do. ICED EARTH is a very talented, and I hope to see them again soon. But there was a sad part to their set, and to tell you the truth, I never in a million years expected to attend a metal show and cry. Why did I, well vocalist Stu explained how he wrote the song “End of Innocence” and how it was for his mom who was dying of cancer. As a mom it was so hard to watch him sing this tribute to her, but I also admired him for being able to accomplish it. It must have been a tough thing to do, but it shows that even metal has some deep emotions. I was happy though to be right up front and enjoying none other, then Iced Earth, who is sharing the headlining slot, with the next performance.

Now up next is SYMPHONY X, another band that is a first for me to see live, one that is a progressive metal band out of New Jersey. They are classified as a progressive, neo-classical and symphonic metal band. What’s great about SYMPHONY X is their ability to elevate classic power metal riffs with some texturing, until they have built majestic pieces that require listening to over and over again. For tonight they are the headliners, so a longer set is played. I enjoyed this band, and I could look around the room, and see that everyone else was having a blast, lots of crowd surfing, especially a guy with a Donald Duck hat. Disney meets Metal. They also had their songs down to perfection for all of us to enjoy. Vocalist Russell delivered the low to high ranges with such efficiency that people had their horns high showing their support.

It was definitely a great night to be had by all. This is one metal tour,you dont want to miss.