ICED EARTH's forthcoming album, "The Glorious Burden", represents a ten-song musical enterprise honoring the valor and sacrifices that made the world what it is today. The band's ninth full-length album will be released through SPV Records on January 13, 2004.
Having only hinted at their infatuation with history in the past with "Ghost Of Freedom" (from 2001's "Horror Show") and "1776" (from 1998's "Something Wicked This Way Comes"), ICED EARTH felt it was time, in the wake of the last few years of international events, to remind the world where we originated. Guitarist and mastermind behind the ICED EARTH legacy, Jon Schaffer comments on the importance of this album, "In today's politically correct world, things aren't taught the way they should be, and the importance is not emphasized in the manner it should. So now you've got a bunch of people running around today who don't give a shit, and are spoiled brats who take for granted everything they have. It's quite disgusting sometimes when I see college students interviewed by Jay Leno who have no clue. It's very frightening. I'm hoping that somewhere we can inspire some of these kids and get them interested — if your history teacher sucks and makes history boring, go and read some books on your own because it's far from boring. The sacrifices these hundreds of thousands of men made over the past 200 years is the reason these little brats can sit around playing video games all day and live pretty safe lives. I hope we can do some good with this record."
The title "The Glorious Burden" is a metaphor for band's endurance as well as statement towards America as a world power. As to what brought on this idea for a concept album, Schaffer admits that it has been a long time coming. "I've been a military history buff all my life. The bicentennial was a great time for me as both a history buff and a young kid, because I was literally obsessed with reading about the founding fathers and the American Revolution. I've always read history books far more than any fiction, but I never really put it into music before, with these kinds of emotions."
Schaffer's adoration with history has impacted him not only as a musician, but as a merchant as well. He recently opened a historical collectibles shop in Columbus, Indiana, called Spirit of '76 Collectibles, where he hopes to educate and enthuse budding history buffs with a wide selection of art, miniatures, models, battlefield relics, etc. An official web site for the store is located at: www.spirit-of-76.com.
The track listing for "The Glorious Burden" is as follows:
01. The Star-Spangled Banner
02. Declaration Day
03. When The Eagle Cries
04. The Reckoning (Don't Tread On Me)
06. Valley Forge Mark
08. Hollow Man
09. Red Baron Blue Max
10. Gettysburg (1863)
11. Part I. The Devil To Pay
12. Part II. Hold At All Costs
13. Part III. High Water Mark
The album closer, "Gettysburg (1863)", is a 32-minute epic comprised of three sections that represent specific events that happened on each of the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg (from the struggle of General Buford, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's defending of Little Round Top, to Pickett's charge). Schaffer hired the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra to enhance the theatrical atmosphere of the project and give it a true epic sensation.
Joining Schaffer on this historic journey are former DEATH drummer Richard Christy, longtime bassist James MacDonough, guitarist Ralph Santolla, and the latest addition to the ICED EARTH family, former JUDAS PRIEST vocalist Tim Owens. Schaffer is especially excited about this acquisition, as he has been a fan of Tim's for some time. "When I first heard Tim on 'Jugulator', I said to myself, 'damn, THAT is the voice I hear when I write songs!' He brings an excellent sense of pitch, power and emotion. People are going to hear sides of Tim on this record that they didn't even know existed."
To whet the fans' appetites until the full album is released, ICED EARTH is releasing a special four-song single for "The Reckoning (Don't Tread On Me)" on October 21 (nearly three months prior to "The Glorious Burden"'s street date). The single will contain the aforementioned song, as well as "Valley Forge", "Hollow Man", and "When The Eagle Cries (Unplugged)". Adding to the "special" nature of this release, this version of "When The Eagle Cries" is exclusive to the single!
Shortly following the release of "The Glorious Burden", ICED EARTH plans to supplement the album with the band's first-ever DVD, simply titled "Gettysburg". The DVD is planned to contain footage of the recording sessions with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, a full documentary on the Gettysburg battlefield hosted by Jon Schaffer (who discusses important locations/details about the battle, as well as matches the song's themes to their actual locations in the historic battle), a fully animated video for "Gettysburg", and two special DVD-Audio mixes of the song (a "theatrical mix" and a "metal mix").