ICED EARTH's JON SCHAFFER: 'We Are Kicking Serious Ass'

ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer has posted the following message on the band's official web site:

"Season's Greetings!

"First of all, please accept my apology for the delay in this posting. These last 3 months have been extremely busy and I've been pretty overwhelmed with the workload. However, everything came to a screeching halt a few weeks back when I had lower back surgery. Everything's going well and I'm healing just fine, so in another few weeks I'll be as good as new.

"Anyway, there is actually quite a lot to report, so let's get to it!

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"First, as you all know by now, the CD release has been delayed to early January. I know this has upset many fans and I wasn't happy about it myself, but when the label explained their reasons I couldn't argue with them. Because of the fact that we had to re-record the vocals and re-mix the record it pushed everything back and the label would have had to perform a miracle to do their job properly. It takes time and a lot of organization to release a priority record and they just wanted to do the best job possible, so as I said, I couldn't really argue the point. Believe me, we want you to hear the new tunes ASAP, but sometimes shit happens and we all have to live with it.

"It is an absolute pleasure to report that the response so far from journalists that have heard the CD has been very positive. We all expect big things for this record and that should make all I.E. fans proud. [Singer] Tim [Owens, ex-JUDAS PRIEST] and I did a 2-week whirlwind promo tour of Europe and it was a great time — very intense but very positive, and fun.

"The single was released a few days earlier in Europe than here at home due to a release snafu but it didn't seem to hurt us any. In Europe we sold out of the digi-pak edition, which was 40,000 units in one week, so now the slim case versions are being made and sold. As for the States we entered the Billboard U.S. single sales charts at #13, which is a great accomplishment for a metal band in this day and age. I thank you all for that. It's your loyalty and dedication that has made all of this possible.

"Other good news from Europe is that the 'Alive in Athens' CD has now been certified Platinum status in Greece. This actually happened several months ago but I forgot to post it. My label in Greece (Sound & Vision) has also informed me that 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' and 'Horror Show' along with others in the catalog will be certified Gold very soon. We also expect 'The Glorious Burden' to reach Gold very quickly there. Again, the fans make all of this possible and we thank you dearly.

"We've heard very positive things from the single release and it's doing amazingly well. If this is any indication as what's to come I see the band finally reaching that next level, which has proven a very difficult task. This is the first time I.E. has ever done a single and from what I've been told by industry insiders we are kicking serious ass with it, and it's just a small taste of what's to come. The full-length CD is far more dynamic, heavy, emotional, epic — all the ingredients necessary to make a classic metal album, so if you're happy with the single, you'll freak on the album! This is also the first time that we've done a 'real' music video, in fact we've done two and may do a third for the full-length release. We've never done any in the past because I felt it was too expensive for the result. I've seen many bands spend a lot of money on a video (most don't know they pay for it with their future royalties) and their sales never increased enough to warrant the expense. We never did one in the past, yet our sales always went up. The difference this time is that I feel we are with a company now that is looking at the big picture and will put the video to work for us. It's a whole different ballgame dealing with people that believe in my vision and have a vision themselves of where things can be if work and dedication are applied to the belief in the big picture.

"First, we did an awesome and very emotional video for 'When the Eagle Cries (Unplugged)' This video is better than I could have imagined and truly fits the song. Tragedy, solidarity, and retribution are all captured in this stirring video directed by Brian Smith. Second, we did 'The Reckoning (Don't Tread On Me)' to capture the traditional side of I.E. The setting for this is very raw and intense and is fitting for a track like 'The Reckoning'. This was also directed by Brian Smith. Both of these videos are cool, but my favorite hands down is 'Eagle', it brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw it and it continues to move me. We've also begun production on the 'Gettysburg (1863)' DVD that will be out in late spring or early summer next year. Mark Briody from JAG PANZER has started a new production company and will be producing the DVD. We've been friends for several years now and I'm very happy to have him involved in this project. We spent several days together in Gettysburg filming various things (as well as the documentary that will appear on disc 2) at the battlefield and this is something that I'm really looking forward to. I can tell you with all seriousness that Mark has captured some of the best shots of the battlefield that I've ever seen, proving that he's multi-talented. He was up at 4:30 every morning scouting the battlefield for the perfect shots of monuments and cannon at sunrise. Truly some of the best I've seen. Mark is bound to be successful with his new business, he's got all the right qualities and I wish him well!

"For those of you who don't have a home theater system I would suggest for you to start saving your money. This will be the ultimate way to experience the 'Gettysburg (1863)' 32-minute epic. There's never been anything like it before! There will of course be a stereo version on the DVD but the ultimate way to experience it is in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

"As for DEMONS & WIZARDS, Hansi [Kursch, BLIND GUARDIAN singer] just told me he's completed work on about 9 songs that I sent him earlier in the year and he's sending them my way very soon. He's been so busy that he just started working on them about 5 weeks ago. We do plan to get together after I've healed up and do some work in the 'Dungeon.' I'm really looking forward to it — we always have a great time together and the magic is sure to flow. I'm sure we will create an awesome record that will far surpass our debut, and it was pretty killer! I expect we will unleash the new one later next year.

" 'Spirit of 76 Collectibles' is now open and kicking ass! Come in and see us if you get a chance, it's truly a history buff's paradise!

"One more thing, I would appreciate it if you would let Neil know through the website if you have any trouble finding our single or the full length CD when it's released. If you can't find it please inform us of the city and the store that did not have it and we will try to rectify the situation. So far the reports have been pretty good but we need to know if a problem occurs…

"That's about it for now…

"Have a great holiday season!!!!!!!!"

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