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Band Photo: Iced Earth (?)

Formed: 1985
From: Tampa, FL, United States
Last Known Status: Active

Latest Iced Earth News

Below is our complete Iced Earth news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Former Iced Earth Guitarist Sentenced To 33 Years

Esteban Parra of The News Journal reports that former ICED EARTH guitarist Ernie Carletti declined to show remorse this morning before being sentenced to 33 years in prison for kidnapping, raping and torturing a University of Delaware student in 2003.

"I feel, your honor, that anything I say is not going to be able to contribute," 32-year-old Carletti told Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden after she gave him a final opportunity to speak. Carletti mumbled some other words, which could not be understood.

The victim, a former University of Delaware student, testified in November that a stranger forced her into his car at gunpoint as she waited for a ride at the Burger King parking lot on South Chapel Street in Newark on May 22, 2003. He handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded her as he drove to his home in Elkton, Md., she said, then took her into his house and raped her.

The victim testified Carletti ordered her to call him "master," and she heard him playing with chains. He then put a gag in her mouth, wrapped a chain around her neck and shackled limbs and began lifting her off the table, she said.

After she nearly passed out, the woman said, the stranger returned her to the car and drove her back to Newark. On the way, she said, the stranger replaced the handcuffs with duct tape, apologized to her and told her not to tell anyone.

He then slowed the car and pushed her out, leaving her hogtied and blindfolded on West Main Street.

Carletti admitted at trial to abducting and shackling the woman, as well as taking her to his home, where he hogtied her.

But he insisted that he did not rape her, and continues to maintain his innocence on that charge.

"It was disappointing that he was not remorseful and did not, at least, apologize to the victim," prosecutor Donald R. Roberts said after the sentencing hearing.

When first interviewed by police, Carletti said he did not kidnap the woman. He later admitted to doing so when investigators found his fingerprints on duct tape recovered from the abduction.

Carletti, a guitarist who played with the bands NAUGHTY NAUGHTY and ICED EARTH, was charged last year in another sexual assault that occurred when he was in high school. That case will not be prosecuted.

Even though Roberts asked the judge for a life-in-prison term, he said the state and family were pleased with the sentence.

"The defendant will be, at a minimum, 64 years old when he gets out of jail," he said.

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Iced Earth To Headline ProgPower USA

The following announcement has been released on the 2008 edition of ProgPower USA:

At 4 PM today (January 14th) festival organizer Glenn Harveston announced ICED EARTH as the headliner of this year's event, to be held September 26th - 27th, at Center Stage, in Atlanta, GA. It will be a rare opportunity to see the band, now that they are restricted in the amount of touring they can undergo, due to the return of vocalist Matt Barlow. In other news, ASTRAL DOORS has been replaced by ROB ROCK.

Iced Earth founder, Jon Schaffer had the following to say regarding the festival: "Well, it's been a long time coming, but things have finally lined up right for usto be able to do Glenn's festival. It's truly an honor for Iced Earth to play theProgPower USA festival. I flew down several years ago to check it out and it isdefinitely a top notch operation. It's really a model for the way festivals shouldbe run, good people with integrity make all the difference in any organization, and Glenn and his crew are all that and more. This is something that we've wanted to do for a long time and it's finally going to work out perfectly for our plans in 2008. Part 2 of the Something Wicked epic will be out right around this time and it willbe a killer celebration! This will be very cool, and a good time will be had by all! We look forward to seeing you there!"

“I am beyond excited to have America’s premiere metal band on stage at America’s premiere metal festival”, said promoter Glenn Harveston. I may be the promoter, but I’m just as big a fanboy as everyone else in wanting to see them here in Atlanta. I want to personally thank Jon Schaffer for believing in me and the festival.

ProgPower USA IX marks the first confirmed show with returning vocalist Matt Barlow to the group.

Joining Iced Earth at the festival are Florida’s Jon Oliva’s Pain, Poland’s Riverside, Germany’s Iron Savior, Denmark’s Volbeat, Sweden’s Andromeda, Italy’s Elvenking, France’s Spheric Universe Experience, Austria’s Serenity, and Italy’s Pathosray.

The second festival headliner is scheduled to be announced within the next few weeks.

Harveston also has announced a roster change, “I’m afraid that Astral Doors will not be able to make their scheduled appearance. This is 100% my fault as I knew there was a risk involved with booking them so early. I appreciate the professionalism the band has shown and can now announce that they are the first band confirmed for ProgPower USA X. Florida’s Rob Rock has graciously stepped into their former slot.”

Tickets for ProgPower USA IX go on sale March 1st and limited to 900 tickets. Advance gold badges are sold-out for the seventh consecutive year. For further information including advertisement and sponsorship details, visit www.progpowerusa.com.

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"Ripper" Owens Speaks On New Beyond Fear Songs

Vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (BEYOND FEAR, ex-ICED EARTH, JUDAS PRIEST) has issued the following update:

"Things are good on this end. The new BEYOND FEAR songs are really sounding great. I really can't wait to get in the studio! Also, I have a really cool project that I will be working on real soon, the news will be released in due time, it should be a lot of fun. But this will not change the timing of BEYOND FEAR.

"A big thanks to the thousands of emails that have come in with nothing but support and kind words! I thank you all for that."

Owens was dismissed from ICED EARTH in December — three months after the release of the group's latest album, "Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part I".

ICED EARTH mainman/guitarist Jon Schaffer issued a press release last month announcing that the band was parting ways with Owens and was once again working with Tim's predecessor, Matt Barlow, who originally left ICED EARTH in 2003.

According to the Cleveland Scene, Owens is still being managed by Wendy Dio, wife of metal legend Ronnie James Dio. BEYOND FEAR remains signed to SPV Records, which also handles ICED EARTH's recorded output. The singer may move forward with a new WINTERS BANE album and tour, if the project generates label interest; BANE bassist Dennis Hayes was dismissed from ICED EARTH along with Owens.

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Pyramaze Comments On Matt Barlow's Departure

The following statement from Matt Barlow was recently posted on Pyramaze's website regarding his future status with the band:

"Brothers and Sisters,

"In light of recent events, it is rather apparent that I need to address what's going on in my life as it pertains to Pyramaze and Iced Earth. As I'm sure you're aware, last week, my wife gave birth to our second son. We are all doing well, but it has taken a little time to get my thoughts together following that and the announcement of my return to Iced Earth. After Michael's statement, it became very clear to me that I must come to terms with the fact that I can not be in all places at all times. Obviously, there are some of you who had the same concerns. It just took me a little longer to figure that out. Well, the point is, I contacted Michael and let him know that I very much wanted to perform on the record, but that I would not be able to continue on with the band in a full time position as planned. I pointed out to Michael that I was extremely grateful to him and the rest of the guys for bringing me on board and I felt obligated to be up front with him on this. I did not want to do the record and then back out, leaving things on bad terms. Understandably, Michael was disappointed but ultimately understanding of the situation. Pyramaze is an extremely talented group of musicians, who's work is well known in the progressive metal community and will be in high demand in a short time. I am happy to say that I will be working with them, if only in a limited term. The music that Michael has written is going to make for a kick ass heavy metal record (KAHMR) and I give you my word that I will give everything that I've got to insure that. Thanks for your time...you'll hear from us soon!"

Guitarist Michael Kammeyer has also posted his, and the band's, statement on the website:

"Hello friends,

"As you can all read in Matt's statement, the term of our cooperation has changed due to the fact that he's back in Iced Earth. When Matt approached me with his thoughts and decisions, we had the choice of A. Letting Matt go and finding another singer right away, or B. record this album as planned and with the singer for whom the music was written. Matt let us know that he was still very hooked on recording this album with us, but that he would understand and respect our final decision, should we wish to terminate our cooperation right away. After discussing this with my band brothers we came to the conclusion that we've started the journey of recording our new album together with Matt, and we will finish this album together with him. After we have completed this new album Matt is going to be concentrating solely on Iced Earth again. So this will be a onetime cooperation between Pyramaze and Matt, and this album will be one for the books. We all understand and respect Matt's decision, and there's no bad blood here at all. Matt is a genuinely nice guy with a honest heart, and we are proud to be working with him. I will also encourage you to read Matt's other statement at www.icedearth.com to give you some more insight in the situation. I guess now is a good time to reveal the cover for our new album which is called Immortal. Let me also take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas and a rocking new year. We thank you all for your support."

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Tim Owens Issues Last Words About Iced Earth

Singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) issues the following statement:

"My last words on my departure from Iced Earth. Well, first off I would like to wish good luck to Jon (Schaffer) and the band. The news did come at a bad time (being two weeks before Christmas) and I really think it could have been handled in a much better way but I do completely agree that it needed to happen for IE and for myself. 'The Winds of change' really are upon me and that is exactly what I needed. With BEYOND FEAR being one of the best reviewed CD’s I have ever done, I'm really looking forward to getting the new CD recorded and released. The new one is sounding nice and heavy and it really is a step up from the last one, it's just straight forward metal. Myself, along with my manager Wendy Dio and all at Niji management are excited about the future. Once again, good luck to all the guy's that I've played with in IE over the last few years but let’s all just leave it alone now and end this chapter and close that book!"

"Thank you and keep it heavy,
Ripper"

"PS. I do think this attached poster says it all. Also, for all the WINTERS BANE fans, you can download the Heart Of A Killer CD on my MySpace page and also get the last Beyond Fear cd and a few other things as well!"

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Matt Barlow Issues Statement To Fans

Returning ICED EARTH singer Matt Barlow has issued the following statement:

"Brothers and sisters,"

"I'm sure that you are all well aware of things that are happening within ICED EARTH, and a statement from me is well overdue. To that, I can only say that I am sorry for the delay, but there is good reason. Last week, following Jon's [Schaffer, guitar] announcement, my wife gave birth to our second son. Everything is well, but of course, those of you who are parents know how taxing the first week can be. During that time, after all things had begun to settle, I realized that there are a lot of things on my plate. At this point, I needed to address them. As you know, family always comes first. Of course, Jon knows that and understands my decision to leave ICED EARTH four years ago. My wife and I wanting a family was a huge factor. Family is also the reason for my return. There is a kinship that goes beyond the obvious. I will speak of that later." More...

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Tim Owens Discusses Being Kicked Out of Iced Earth

Singer Tim "Ripper" Owens spoke exclusively to D.X. Ferris of the Cleveland Scene about his surprising departure from ICED EARTH three months after the release of the group's latest album, "Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part I."

ICED EARTH mainman/guitarist Jon Schaffer issued a statement last week announcing that the group was parting ways with Owens and was once again working with Tim's predecessor, Matt Barlow, who originally left ICED EARTH in 2003.

Speaking to the Cleveland Scene, Owens stated about his split with ICED EARTH, "I was told 30 seconds before the news hit Blabbermouth that I was let go — two weeks before Christmas. I don't think it was handled right. It's a shame it ended like that. With JUDAS PRIEST, at least the way it was handled, I'm still good friends with the band. The good thing is, I don't have to discuss ICED EARTH anymore. I can move on. I wish them luck. We're ready to go to the future." More...

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Matt Barlow Still In Pyramaze

Guitarist Michael Kammeyer of the Danish metallers PYRAMAZE has issued the following statement regarding the recent announcement that the group's lead vocalist Matt Barlow was returning to front his previous band ICED EARTH as the replacement for Tim "Ripper" Owens:

"As most of you know by now, Matt has joined forces with his old band ICED EARTH again. Like any other metal music lover, we in PYRAMAZE are excited about the prospect of Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH guitarist] and Matt working together again. But this reunion has created some speculations in the metal community towards Matt's future in PYRAMAZE, and I can put all the PYRA-fans at ease, and tell you that Matt is still a full member of PYRAMAZE, and the only change is that now you'll get Matt in a double dose.

"I'm happy to tell you that last week Matt's wife [who is also Jon's half-sister — Ed.] gave birth to a healthy little boy. Because of this happy event sleep has become an 'elusive guest' for Matt and his wife, but as soon as the Barlow family regains some 'normality' and sleep is back on the menu, Matt will prepare a statement for you.

"The recording of our new album has not been delayed, and dates for our vocal recording and final mix/master session are still the same.

"That's it for now, and the next time we've got news, it will be Matt's statement."

PYRAMAZE entered the studio on October 1 in Haderslev, Denmark to begin recording the follow-up to to "Legend of the Bone Carver".

Barlow joined PYRAMAZE as the replacement for Lance King who left the band in November 2006.

The group's third album is tentatively due next spring.

PYRAMAZE's latest CD, "Legend of the Bone Carver", was released last year via Massacre Records (Europe) and Nightmare Records (USA and Canada).

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Iced Earth Mainman Explains Matt Barlow's Return

In a statement issued through SPV, ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer shines a little more light on the return of singer Matt Barlow:

"It will be sometime before I’m going to be doing press due to the holidays and the fact that I’m still deep in the final writing process of Part 2. I’m aware that the news of Matt coming back into to the band has taken many people by surprise so I’ll try to explain the situation a little better."

"I do love Tim’s ("Ripper" Owens - ex-JUDAS PRIEST) voice and it is the kind of voice I hear when I write, and he’s a really cool person. And I do not want an unnecessary war of words started because certain journalists like to create controversy to sell their magazines. I love Tim as a person, a friend and a musician, and I do not have negative feelings towards him at all. We would all appreciate it if the trash pedlars would respect the situation and keep their venomous speculations to themselves. An unlikely request I’m sure, but it would be nice." More...

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Headline News

Matt Barlow Rejoins Iced Earth

ICED EARTH mainman/guitarist Jon Schaffer has issued the following statement:

"Hello, dear friends!"

"Once again the winds of change are upon us, and this time I can say that I am very happy about the result."

"While out on the European tour I had several in depth discussions with many loyal ICED EARTH fans. A common theme of these discussions was how much Matt is missed. I agreed with the fans that things were not the same and that it was a very special period in ICED EARTH's history." More...

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Winters Bane Reform With Tim "Ripper" Owens?

Rumor has it that the creative forces behind the classic WINTERS BANE Heart Of A Killer album (1993) - vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (ICED EARTH, ex-JUDAS PRIEST) and guitarist Lou St. Paul (FIRES OF BABYLON) - have reunited and writing has commenced on a new Winters Bane record, with Wendy Dio of Niji Management currently soliciting offers from interested labels. Word also has it that Winters Bane would plan to tour extensively in support of this album. More news as it develops!

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Turisas Announce European Headlining Tour

After a support slot for ICED EARTH and ANNIHILATOR, Finnish warlords TURISAS will be on the road again in March and April 2008.

Commented Warlord Nygard: "The tour with ICED EARTH and ANNIHILATOR in October was great; we made a lot of new friends and fans, and both bands were great guys to be on the road with. The reactions were awesome, even if there was a lot of people in the crowd who had never heard of us before. However, we could easily understand that some of our fans weren't prepared to pay the tickets on some 30 euro for seeing us play for 30 minutes — that's one euro a minute if you were not too bothered about the other two bands! This is why we are now returning to play full headline sets in Europe for a reasonable ticket price. We are all very excited about getting back on the road and doing our first headlining European tour."

TURISAS European tour dates:

Mar. 01 - Northampton, UK @ Soundhouse
Mar. 02 - Sheffield, UK @ Corporation
Mar. 03 - Aberdeen, UK @ Moshulu
Mar. 04 - Edinburgh, UK @ Studio 24
Mar. 05 - Liverpool, UK @ Academy 2
Mar. 06 - Norwich, UK @ Waterfront
Mar. 07 - Peterborough, UK @ Park
Mar. 08 - Leeds, UK @ Cockpit
Mar. 10 - Exeter, UK @ Cavern
Mar. 11 - Cardiff Clwb, UK @ Ifor Bach
Mar. 12 - Southampton, UK @ The Brook
Mar. 13 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
Mar. 14 - Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2
Mar. 15 - Haarlem, Netherlands @ Patronaat
Mar. 16 - Nijmegen, Netherlands @ Doornroosje
Mar. 18 - Hamburg, Germany @ Marx
Mar. 19 - Karlsruhe, Germany @ Substage
Mar. 20 - Munich, Germany @ Metropolis
Mar. 21 - Winterthur, Switzerland @ Salzhaus
Mar. 22 - Bochum, Germany @ Matrix
Mar. 23 - Berlin, Germany @ Kato
Mar. 25 - Vienna, Austria @ Planet Music
Mar. 26 - Bratislava, Slovakia @ Randal
Mar. 27 - Prague, Czech Republic @ Rock Café
Mar. 28 - Lichtenfels, Germany @ Ragnarök Festival
Mar. 29 - Osnabrueck, Germany @ Tomahawk Festival
Mar. 31 - Malmö, Sweden @ KB
Apr. 01 - Gothenburg, Germany @ Musikens Hus
Apr. 02 - Copenhagen, Denmark @ The Rock
Apr. 03 - Oslo, Norway @ John Dee
Apr. 04 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Klubben More...

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Former Iced Earth Guitarist Convicted Of Rape

Esteban Parra of The News Journal reports that former ICED EARTH guitarist Ernie Carletti was convicted today (Monday, November 19) of kidnapping and rape in the abduction of a University of Delaware student in 2003.

A Superior Court jury found the 32-year-old musician guilty on two counts of first-degree rape and one count of first-degree kidnapping. The jury acquitted Carletti on a weapons charge.

Carletti admitted to abducting the student, shackling her arms and legs then hogtying her at his Maryland home until she began crying. He, however, testified he did not have a gun and he did not rape the woman.

"Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly," Carletti said about pulling the woman into his car May 22, 2003, then shackling her arms and legs and duct taping her eyes shut. "It was just part of the effect. I didn't say she wanted it, but she did not deny it."

Carletti — who joined ICED EARTH in June 2006 and didn't appear on any of the band's recordings or perform with the group before his September 2006 arrest — said he was driving to his Elkton, Md., home through Newark about 1:30 a.m. when he saw the woman at the South Chapel Street Burger King. Carletti testified the two started talking. When she approached the driver side of his car, Carletti said he pulled her into the vehicle.

The victim has testified that he had a gun, which he denied in court last week.

As he drove off, he asked the woman: "Mind if I handcuff you?"

"I'm not saying it was courtship, but it is something we discussed," he said.

After handcuffing her, Carletti said he shackled her legs and put duct tape over her eyes and drove to his home.

When asked why he would blindfold her, Carletti said it was done for "effect."

Prosecutor Donald R. Roberts said the pressure was so intense the victim's eye vessel burst and she nearly passed out.

Carletti said he then escorted the woman into his house and sat her on a couch, where there was a "little bit of talking, a little bit of caressing, a little bit of kissing."

Roberts asked if she kissed him back, to which Carletti said he only kissed her on the cheek.

After admiring her in that position, Carletti said he gagged her mouth, placed her on a table and hogtied her. But he said he did not hoist her off the ground as she has testified.

He said he released her from this position after 3 to 4 minutes because she signified she was uncomfortable.

When asked if he thought being hogtied was painful, Carletti said he has previously been in that position and disagreed it hurt.

"No. Actually it is not painful," he said.

Afterwards, the victim was placed in the car and returned to Newark where she was pushed out of the moving car onto West Main Street, Roberts said.

Carletti became a suspect in May 2006 and was arrested after police matched his fingerprints to a print found on the duct tape that had been placed over one of the victim's eyes.

Roberts said Carletti initially told police he had not taken the woman or hogtied her. Carletti later changed his story when told about the fingerprint, saying it was consensual bondage.

Hurley told jurors Carletti did not rape the woman. Instead he stood at the other end of his basement and masturbated to the constrained woman.

Roberts said it "defied logic" that the victim would consent to bondage.

Carletti, who was in the bands NAUGHTY NAUGHTY and ICED EARTH, was charged earlier this year in another sexual assault that occurred when he was in high school.

In that case, the victim said the two cut class and went to his parents' apartment for a party. When they entered the apartment, he threw her to the floor and bound her hands behind her back with a neck tie that was on a living room couch.

According to court documents, Carletti made her sit on a wooden chair in his room and bound her legs to the legs of the chair with duct tape. He then pushed the chair into his bedroom closet and left her there for about 20 minutes.

When he took her out, Carletti freed her from the chair, but allegedly forced her to undress, then tied her to his bed and raped her. After he was finished he again tied her to the chair and returned her to the closet for about 30 minutes, according to court documents.

She returned to school when he released her.

That case is pending.

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Former Iced Earth Guitarist Denies Rape Charge

Esteban Parra of The News Journal reports: A 32-year-old heavy metal musician on Friday (November 16) admitted to abducting a University of Delaware student in 2003, shackling her arms and legs then hogtying her at his Maryland home until she began crying.

Ernie Carletti, however, testified he did not have a gun and he did not rape the woman.

"Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly," Carletti said about pulling the woman into his car May 22, 2003, then shackling her arms and legs and duct taping her eyes shut. "It was just part of the effect. I didn't say she wanted it, but she did not deny it."

Carletti, who is charged with rape, kidnapping and possession of a deadly weapon during a felony, testified in Superior Court in Wilmington, Delaware. He was calm throughout his 30-minute testimony.

Carletti — who joined ICED EARTH in June 2006 and didn't appear on any of the band's recordings or perform with the group before his September 2006 arrest — said he was driving to his Elkton, Md., home through Newark about 1:30 a.m. when he saw the woman at the South Chapel Street Burger King. Carletti testified the two started talking. When she approached the driver side of his car, Carletti said he pulled her into the vehicle.

The victim has testified that he had a gun, which he denied in court today.

As he drove off, he asked the woman: "Mind if I handcuff you?"

"I'm not saying it was courtship, but it is something we discussed," he said.

After handcuffing her, Carletti said he shackled her legs and put duct tape over her eyes and drove to his home.

When asked why he would blindfold her, Carletti said it was done for "effect."

Carletti said he then escorted the woman into his house and sat her on a couch, where there was a "little bit of talking, a little bit of caressing, a little bit of kissing."

Prosecutor Donald R. Roberts asked if she kissed him back, to which Carletti said he only kissed her on the cheek.

After admiring her in that position, Carletti said he gagged her mouth, placed her on a table and hogtied her. But he said he did not hoist her off the ground as she has testified.

He said he released her from this position after 3 to 4 minutes because she signified she was uncomfortable.

When asked if he thought being hogtied was painful, Carletti said he has previously been in that position and disagreed it hurt.

"No. Actually it is not painful," he said.

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Iced Earth To Appear On Bruce Dickinson Radio Show

IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson will be joined on his BBC 6 Music Rock Show radio program by ICED EARTH on November 30th.

According to a recent update, Iced Earth plan to hit the USA in March/April of 2008, and will then be on the road worldwide for the rest of 2008, including stops in Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, and other countries. Iced Earth's new CD, Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part I, is out now via SPV.

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Iced Earth Drummer Posts Tour Report

ICED EARTH drummer Brent Smedley has checked in with the sixth installment of his European tour diary. All of Brent's diary entries can be read at the official Iced Earth website.

"Hello once again for the 6th installment of the road rage report from The Worldwide Wicked Tour Chapter 1: Europe.

After the Scandanavian gigs we traveled back to Hamburg, Germany to play The Markthalle. This venue holds a very special and historic signifigance for the band as it was the very first place for Iced Earth to play in Europe. The band has played there on every tour with the shows always being amazing.This night was no different… the show was absolutely amazing. The band was in top form and the crowd was intense and enthusiastic for every note. There were some record company people and some old friends in attendance as well. All opinions were that the show was totally awesome. The Markthalle is located in a neat area of town, just a short walk from a massive indoor/outdoor train station which I was able to visit.

The next gig was the last show in Germany in the town of Stuttgart. The venue we played is called The Longhorn, a very peculiar place. The walls are adorned with massive paintings in the style of Michelangelo meets Heavy Metal. There is also a small internet cafe area upstairs in the backstage which was most appreciatted by myself and many other members of our touring party. This day held special signifigance for Iced Earth and our crew. Today (October 30, 2007) the bus driver Guido proposed to his girlfriend Ute (who is on tour as well and in training to be a bus driver herself) after soundcheck. He came on stage and asked her to be his wife over the microphone and in front of all of us and Ute’s mother and friend. She came to the stage and gladly accepted a rose and Guido’s hand and of course said YES. Afterwards a champagne toast was shared to celebrate this momentous occasion. We were most honored to be a part of this.

So onto the gig… the crowd was massive and very intot he show and the band played very well once again. Larry Grohman, the creator of the Larry amp, was also in attendance. He brought Jon a newly modified guitar head, as they are working on a Jon Schaffer signature model which will be available in the near future. The next day we traveled to Paris, France to play a show at The Elysee Montmarte. Happy Halloween! This is somewhat of a pain in the ass gig for the crew as it is a “drop and go” gig, which means when we arrive after the equipment is unloaded (as fast as possible) the bus must leave and not return until we are ready to depart. The traffic in Paris is horrible and that is the reason for this situation. This was a rather large venue and we were blessed/cursed with some of the smallest dressing rooms on the tour complete with a broken toilet and a shower which leaked through the wall (a first for the tour).

We did a photo shoot right before we hit the stage. The crowd here was absolutely phenomenal. This venue was in a very vibrant part of town with all kinds of shops and stores lining the roads.The next show was in Tilburg, Holland at a place simply called 013. This was an extremely nice venue with spacious dressing rooms, great catering, and even a free foosball table in the backstage area. This was definitely one of the best crowds on the tour so far. It was a massive hall and was packed to the back and on all the balconies. This show was another great one for the band.

I must say that the people in Holland are some of the nicest in Europe. We were able to visit with some of them after the show and were thankful for their hospitality. There were some nice statues and a gothic cathedral within walking distance of the club, I was very grateful for the chance to get some pictures of these things as well of some great shots of the crowd. The show was another absolutely amazing one with the crowd simply eating up every note and begging for more.

The next night we played the final show of the headlining portion of the tour in Antwerp, Belgium. It was another packed house, a great way to finish this portion of the tour. The band played exceptionally well. The crowd was amazing also. I dedicated my performance to my father (Jack Richard Smedley) who passed away on this day November 2 in the year 1975. It was like I could feel his presence watching over me during the show - several times I felt chills running down my spine. It was sad to part ways with the opening bands – Turisas and Annihalator and their crews as well. We had a couple of departures as well; Udo the physical therapist, stony the Merchandise guy, and Paul the light man. Best of luck to all of them.

So now it is off to the UK for 11 shows in support of Heaven and Hell and also with Lamb of God. Stay tuned for exciting news and updates from the road… the tour should proveto have a monumental finish. I am happy to say that Jon’s ribs have pretty much healed and the bronchitishe has been battling with seems tobe on the mend as well.

METAL LIVES - Brent."

Iced Earth is currently on tour in support of HEAVEN AND HELL in the UK. Remaining dates include:

November:
9 - Manchester, England - Evening News Arena
10 - London, England - Wembley Arena
11 - Brighton, England - Centre
13 - Birmingham, England - NEC
14 - Cardiff, England - International Arena
15 - Nottingham, England - Arena
17 - Plymouth, England - Pavilions
18 - Bournemouth, England - BIC

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Obituary Guitarist Checks In

OBITUARY guitarist Ralph Santolla (also ex-DEICIDE, DEATH, ICED EARTH) has issued the following update via his MySpace page:

"OK, first off — I don't know or do any picking excercises! I'm not into that stuff at all. To the people that keep asking 'how do you play arpeggios?' the temptation to post a video on YouTube of myself playing a bunch of arpeggios and saying 'thusly" is almost too strong to resist. It's a stupid question, not to insult anybody, but the answer is so obvious that it makes me almost burst into flames every time I read one of those emails. As with the fast picking stuff or anything else that I've ever played on guitar, I do this: I decide what notes I want to play, then I work on them, LISTENING to what it sounds like, until it sounds like I want it to. Sometimes it takes years. The point is, I don't know ANY secrets about playing guitar, and there's no fairy dust that you can sprinkle on your guitar (or yourself, if that's how you roll) to make you good or great. To master an instrument requires suffering. It is also a process, not something that can ever be finished. In other words, everyone working on it in the world is on the same continuum (?), just at different points along the way. So if you REALLY want to play great, there's only one way — work. It's like trying to take down a mountain with a toothbrush — you can never finish, just scrape a little more every day. That's what I do.

"Having said that, here's a small piece of advice that will instantly make you more musical, and bring out more of each person's unique sound immediately: When you play or practice (any instrument), start and end your phrases before and after the bar line, or the 'one.' Starting and ending phrases within the measure all the time sounds very amateurish, and is especially a bad habit of a lot of metal guitarists,. Try it, and don't spill your beer in the process, another rookie move."

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Iced Earth Vocalist Talks Illegal Downloading

Sweden's Metalshrine conducted an interview with ICED EARTH/ex-JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens on October 25, 2007 in Stockholm. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Metalshrine: Do you see any fear of not being able to make a living out of releasing records and playing live, since people are just downloading these days and artists don't sell as many records as they used to?

Owens: Definitely, yeah! It's definitely something that hurts. I don't think people realize what they're doing to the industry. It gets silly, really, that people even think that it's right to download stuff for free. But I think it's starting... now they have so many sites where you pay to download, so I think that people more and more have done that. You have iTunes and the sites where you pay to download. It hurts. I mean, it definitely takes more away. It scales down touring budgets and they don't realize how much it scales down everything. It's a shame. You just release them and see what you can do.

Metalshrine: Do you see it like totally getting away from the record companies and releasing stuff by yourself, through a website or whatever?

Owens: I don't know. Maybe there will end up being more specialized companies that sell records. Maybe labels are gonna try to be more "online labels." I think they are trying to do both now. Labels obviously have to focus on the Internet and making albums. I don't know. It's hard to say. I think there will always be CDs for quite a while. People still want some CDs, they want the artwork, so people will still buy them. It's hard. I buy a lot of my stuff, the majority of it, from iTunes, but I'm still buying it, though, that's the difference.

Metalshrine: Do you have any other projects going on? Have you ever thought of releasing a solo album?

Owens: I have been kind of contemplating it. Maybe trying to make some type of album and get a bunch of different musicians to do it with me. My idea would be kind of neat to just try and get 5 or 6 different guitar players, or just different people who each of them write a song for the album and then I write the lyrics and the melodies. Just try to release an album like that, would be kind of cool. Try to get Scott Ian [ANTHRAX] on a song.

Metalshrine: Yeah, I read about that. Scott Ian and Jon Oliva [SAVATAGE].

Owens: Yeah, Jon Oliva. Have him do some songs with me and maybe get Michael Wilton from QUEENSRŸCHE to do a song and maybe even Jeff Waters from ANNIHILATOR to do a song. Get Chris Caffery [SAVATAGE] to do a song. I think it would be kind of neat. I'd also like to make an album with Jon Oliva. I think that would be fun. But I've got the BEYOND FEAR thing now and I have some other things in the works. I have some people who have sent me some music and I've worked on some songs with them, so we'll see what happens with that.

Metalshrine: You've got an awesome voice, did you ever take lessons or are you totally self taught?

Owens: I started singing when I was a kid and I was in choirs and had some good teachers. Something I was born with, you know. I think I would've rather been born to be a brain surgeon, then my wife would've been a little happier (laughs). It's something I was born with and had the natural ability to do it, but then I've taken care of it and worked on it. It's not I just took for granted. OK, I've got this gift, but I'm not gonna run it into the ground, which I've seen a lot of people do. A lot of practice have gone into it.

Metalshrine: Just a few things about your JUDAS PRIEST days. Do you know if there's anything recorded with you that hasn't been released?

Owens: No, I think everything's been released. There's nothing. No extra tracks or no extra things that hasn't been released. I'm certain that nothing's left.

Metalshrine: If you got the chance, would you open up for JUDAS PRIEST?

Owens: Ah, man, we would open for them any day. I mean, I think it's a great combination and I think the fans would love it. I think ICED EARTH supporting JUDAS PRIEST on a tour would be a good thing and I know Jon says the same thing. There are bands that you want to open for. JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, HEAVEN AND HELL. Anybody that's big. You know, METALLICA, that would be the opportunity of a lifetime to open up for anyone of them.

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Iced Earth To Tour U.S. Next Spring

According to a posting on ICED EARTH's official web site, the band is planning on hitting the road in the U.S. in March/April 2008, to be followed by tours in Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, among other countries. More details will be announced soon.

ICED EARTH's new song "Framing Armageddon" has been posted on the band's MySpace page. The track comes off the group's new album, "Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part I", which sold 7,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 78 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD is the follow-up to 2004's "The Glorious Burden", which has shifted more than 70,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

ICED EARTH's official web site, IcedEarth.com, has posted a 33-minute minute audio interview it conducted with Jon Schaffer on September 24, 2007. Topics covered in the interview include the relevance of chart positions in the Internet age, the impact of illegal music downloads on the band's touring schedule, "Something Wicked Part II" recording update, the upcoming November UK tour with HEAVEN AND HELL, touring in 2008, and future plans for the "Set Abominae"/"Something Wicked" storyline.

"Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part 1" expands the "Something Wicked" storyline first introduced in the trilogy of the same name appearing on the 1998 release, "Something Wicked This way Comes". "Framing Armageddon" will be followed in February/March 2008 by the band's ninth full-length studio release, tentatively titled "Revelation Abomination - Something Wicked Part 2" , continuing where "Framing Armageddon" leaves off.

ICED EARTH will support HEAVEN AND HELL on a U.K. tour beginning on November 4 in Newcastle.

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Iced Earth Drummer Issues Road Reports

Iced Earth drummer Brent Smedley has issued a couple of road reports from the band's European tour on Iced Earth's website. Here's an excerpt from the latest:

"Well we made it to the gig in Zaragoza, Spain, better late than never...broken down bus and all. Kudos to an awesome crew. It was a festival gig in Zaragoza, biggest crowd yet. The show was awesome even due to a rushed set-up and an extremely late start time. I think we played from 1-2:45 in the morning."

"After the show the festival grounds turned into the biggest after party I have ever seen. The Spanish sure know how to throw a party. The next day we played Barcelonia, Spain at the Razzmatazz. This was the first
gig we where able to use our full backdrop (it is immense). The shows in Spain are always awesome...it seems the peole are hot blooded and have such a passion for their Metal. It is great to be back on tour taking it to the
masses."

You can read more from this tour diary, the previous entry and future entries right here.

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