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:: Iced Earth - Alive In Athens

Iced Earth’s 1999 album ‘Alive In Athens’ is without a doubt one of the best live recordings in the history of metal. Recorded at The Rodon in Athens (Greece) over two nights in January in support of their 1998 (and fifth) release ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, the triple album live recording was universally hailed as a landmark release for the band, and helped elevate Iced Earth beyond their previous cult like status.

Seven years after the release, the band’s former label Century Media Records (Iced Earth is currently signed to S.P.V./Steamhammer) have unearth the original visual footage from the said concert, and duly put together the band’s first live DVD.

Prior to the release of ‘Alive In Athens – The DVD’, Iced Earth’s founder/rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer publicly voiced his disappointment over the quality of the said footage, labelling the release as simply a grab for cash, rather than being released for artistic reasons, which has only fuelled the controversy (not to mention interest) surrounding the release.

Having viewed ‘Alive In Athens – The DVD’ a few times (which is no mean task considering it runs a shade under three hours!), I’ve honestly come to the conclusion that while it is far from a perfect representation of what was essentially a monumental night in the band's history, it’s far from a complete disaster as Schaffer has led many to believe.

First and foremost, the sound on ‘Alive In Athens – The DVD’ is every bit as amazing as it was on the live album and it’s duly reproduced here once again in DTS 5.1 sound. As for the footage of the show itself, it’s sometime shaky, missing some key close-up action moments (Keyboardist Rick Risberg and drummer Brent Smedley are virtually absent throughout) and lagging a little on the editing side of things. Some cleverly editing could have made the concert a little more exciting in the visual sense, but considering it's entirely caught over three cameras, and shot solely for television purposes (for German music television channel called Viva), the DVD on the whole is pretty good.

Extra content wise, there’s little of anything of note added here, with the seven minutes of extra footage solely consisting of some hand held footage of Iced Earth backstage, alongside footage of Schaffer showing off the sights of Athens (as well as introducing his family).

All up, if you happen to be an absolute diehard fan you’ll no doubt find something of value with the visual accompaniment of this DVD. As long as you don’t expect anything professional, big budget or stunning in the way of anything modern or in visual wizardry, you won’t feel let down by this release. If on the other hand you’re unsure whether or not to purchase ‘Alive In Athens – The DVD’, I suggest you wait until Iced Earth’s official live DVD is released, which according to Schaffer is due sometime in 2007.

For more information on Iced Earth, check out -

DVD Extras

Interview - Jon Schaffer

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