ICED EARTH - Boogie With Stu
by Martin Popoff

Stu Bock, that is, new Canuck frontman for Jon Schaffer's vision of traditional metal iciness, a starkly steely metal that aligns nicely and quite alone in the world - top of the food chain, really - with the original definition of power metal as it existed as something purely American in the mid to late '80s.

The latest record is called Dystopia, and the band has been firing on all sixes, taking it to metalheads across North America.

"I think it's focused," says the tattooed and richly grey-maned Schaffer, these days as much an "awakened" political freedom fighter as he is the man with the razor-sharp, riffing right hand. "The band is back, the spirit of Iced Earth is back - which resides in me obviously - but the last decade was really difficult. A lot of shit, man, going on, and a lot of instability - and behind the scenes more so than what was obvious to people. But the band is back, and with really good energy behind this record."

"I think it's just more straight-ahead," agrees guitarist Troy Seele. "There are touches on the storyline, a little bit, Something Wicked This Way Comes, but it's not about that, and so a lot of the large production and everything is stripped down, and it's just a straight-ahead metal album - and it was recorded that way, in a sense. And so I just really like the raw feel of it."

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