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By Martin Popoff
"Well, those were a couple. The main reason I didn't do those and some of the other bigger epic stuff... God, I'm drawing a blank here. I had talked about doing just epics. And we may do that someday, just the big epic songs from some of our favourite bands. But if we do that, we have to spend more time than a week. This was just, go down, knock it out, and we literally spent just over a week for the mixing and everything. So it was definitely just get together and jam it out. And then I started thinking, well, if we're going to redo something like 'Another Brick In The Wall' or those Maiden songs, or 'The Sentinel' by Judas Priest - that was another one - some of the bigger epic songs, we really have to spend more time on these so we really do them justice. If you're going to try do something that is very atmospheric and huge, you don't want to half-ass it. It's one thing to do an in-your-face, rock 'n' roll heavy metal cover tune and make it raw and quick and have that feel, but to do that with an epic, I don't think it would have been the right thing."
"We really stayed true to the songs," notes Jon when asked what Iced Earth bring to the table to change these songs by Priest, Maiden, AC/DC, BOC, Kiss, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath. "The only thing I really changed anything on was in some parts, was like in 'God Of Thunder', I changed the rhythm section parts quite a bit. Everything else, we really stuck true to form with. It's just us with my guitar sound, the tones and the production. Like I say, we didn't spend a normal production on it, but were just throwing stuff up, miking it up and doing it; it's still is very much the Iced Earth sound. And then of course, there's Matt's voice and he's really good at sounding like other people when he tries, not that we did that specifically. We didn't want to take these songs and change them; they're great the way they are. We just wanted to jam them and put our own signature on there and see what happens with them. And that's really all we did. I know there are a couple ways of looking at recording cover tunes. You either do them spot-on like the original, or you change it drastically and those are usually the kind of rules that people go by. But for us, like I said before, we don't really care about rules. We just did the songs, we played them, and kind of put the Iced Earth touch on them. And I think one of the biggest things is the guitar sound, compared to a lot of the things that were recorded in the '70s and '80s. They just didn't have the monstrous guitar sounds back then. So it makes them sound a little more current or a little fresher, heavier, whatever. So we just really stayed true to them. The main thing I can think of off the top of my head, is for example, in AC/DC's 'It's A Long Way To The Top', we used an E-bow, and built the chords of the bagpipe; I used an E-bow, and played it on the electric guitar. It's not a bagpipe, it's not a sampled bagpipe, but it sounds like a bagpipe, kind of. And if you listen close, with that in mind that I used an E-bow, you'll hear that it's guitar parts now."
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