ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer has sent the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the upcoming release of the band's "Alive in Athens" DVD via their former record label, Century Media Records:
"I've been asked recently about the release of the 'Alive in Athens' DVD and I want my position on this to be very clear to all of the ICED EARTH fans out there. In my opinion, this is purely a money grab on behalf of Century Media Records. The reason that it was never released before is because the footage is substandard. This was only a three-camera shoot that was done for a German music television channel called Viva. I hosted the show as a guest VJ and played videos from different bands as well as a few tunes from the 'Alive in Athens' concert.
"About a year ago, Century Media contacted me and asked if I'd like to be involved in doing this. I said that I did not think it was a good idea based on my memory of the footage, but to go ahead and send me some of the camera angles on DVD so I could think about it. After viewing the footage I felt that it would be extremely difficult to make a release that would live up to the standards that we have set for ICED EARTH over the years. So I turned the project down.
"Several weeks ago, I learned that they were determined to release this DVD anyway. When I found this out I asked to see the edit and they obliged. After viewing it and seeing how weak it is I asked if they would be willing to fly me over and rework some of the edits. The answer was no, they did not think it could be done better. That translates into, 'We don't want to spend the money to make it the best it can be.'
"So here's the deal: I want you all to be aware of what it is that they are releasing. This is a very low-budget, badly edited video of an amazing concert and an awesome period in the history of ICED EARTH. They promised me that they are going to keep the price down and that they are not going to market it as something it's not. But I feel it's my responsibility to let you know the reality of the situation.
"I've often regretted that there was never a high-quality filming of the band during that period but it was something that we could never persuade the label to do. And it's not cheap if you do it right.
"ICED EARTH will be filming a real DVD on the next world tour. This will be what the fans have been waiting for. It will consist of a 16-camera crew with cranes and a real stage show and all of the things necessary to finally bring to the fans a state-of-the-art DVD that will really give you the feeling of being at an ICED EARTH show.
"The decision to purchase the 'Alive in Athens' DVD is up to you. I just want you to be aware of what it is you're getting should you choose to do so.
"I don't want to make it sound like it's some horrible bootleg, because it's not — it's just not up to the standards that you've come to expect from us."
Schaffer is currently working on a concept album based on the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" story that first appeared on ICED EARTH's 1998 album of the same name. The band is tentatively expected to begin tracking the effort in December/January for a 2007 release via SPV Records.
ICED EARTH's last release was the "Gettysburg (1863)" DVD, which came out in June 2005. The main program, a CGI-rendered video presentation of the epic "Gettysburg" trilogy from 2004's acclaimed album "The Glorious Burden", drew praise from fans and media alike. The DVD was also reportedly being used as a teaching tool in several high schools across the country.