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By Martin Popoff
Jon Schaffer has seen the metal wars, but it looks like the next few years might comprise a turning point for the man and his dark traditional metal outfit. Likely around the million mark in total album sales, Iced Earth might be, and have been, called the godfathers of power metal, or more accurately, the first name of the current wave, having of course not been around for the '70s or the '80s, but pretty much commanding the '90s, at least in the hearts of serious followers of the form. But Schaffer is currently pretty disgusted with the scene, the man quite rightly understanding (as you will read) that what makes a good band in any genre, is originality and the force of personality.
"Whenever I'm writing a record, it reflects what's going on in my personal life," begins Jon from his Indiana home and studio. "That has a major, major effect on the songwriting because it's a very personal thing. And actually when I first started writing for this record I was just finalizing my divorce. It was quite a depressing down period and the music wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to. It was very depressive, and it just didn't have the right vibe. I was scared I was going to come out with Burnt Offerings Part 2. So I backed away from it a little bit and really had a talk with myself (laughs), let's put it that way. You know, you need to focus, you need to get your shit together and turn this depression into anger and intensity and it will work. So after a couple weeks I was back on track. But musically, the big difference is, with all these things going on in my life, I think Horror Show sounds like the culmination of what the first two or three records were except I'm a much better songwriter than I was then, as far as the arrangements or guitar melodies or vocal melodies go. You can hear that it is very much an Iced Earth record, but you can hear the earlier vibes as well as the later years in terms of the songwriting."
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