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Iced Earth Vocalist Matt Barlow Quits The Band

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After returning to the band in 2007 following high demand from fans, singer Matt Barlow has announced that he will be leaving Iced Earth after their summer tour, citing family committment and the toll of touring as a result. An emotional message from Barlow reads as follows:

"Let me begin by saying how much of an honor it has been to share my time in Iced Earth with Jon and the guys…and with all of you! Since my return to the band in 2007, it has truly been extraordinary. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and see old friends and meet new ones. Though we had originally thought that the Iced Earth touring schedule would be very limited, we were able to play our fair share of concerts.

"During that time we were also able to have a live DVD produced (the forthcoming Festivals of the Wicked). However, due to the rapidly changing music industry, it has become increasingly clear to recording artists that the only way to keep a band viable and to truly reach its potential is through live performances. That means that a band must reach out to new regions of the globe and become pioneers for their own livelihood. Since 2007, Jon and I have always had the best intentions for the future of Iced Earth, and we still do. However, given the band’s projected touring schedule, Iced Earth’s future and mine must now take separate paths.

"On my departure from Iced Earth in 2003, I made a commitment to my wife and to the idea that we would start, and raise, our family together. Two years later, my first child was born and two years after that, my second. My youngest son was born about a week before Jon asked me to return to Iced Earth. It was a very exciting and emotional time for all of us, but we were all clear on our intentions. It is apparent to us now that regardless of our belief at that time, time can change an intended outcome. In this instance, I hope that change will not be regarded as a bad thing, but rather as a necessary part of evolution.

"Jon and the band must venture into new realms to continue to grow Iced Earth. I commend him for his ideals and wish nothing but to share in his vision. I know that this is not the last time Jon and I will work together, but it will be my last endeavor with Iced Earth. Iced Earth is a name and force of its own. It has been very good to me and has allowed me to live a dream that others would give most anything for. I have been truly blessed to share this experience with everyone. I will continue to support Jon and Iced Earth in every way. I will also continue to create and perform in my own capacity.

"These next months will prove to be a very emotional time for me. I am extremely happy to be able to share the experience with Jon, Brent, Freddie, Troy and the Iced Earth family. I am proud to know them and honored that they consider me their friend. It is going to be phenomenal to share the love of this music during several summer festivals and I know that it will be a time we will never forget.

"Please consider all that I have brought forth and all of Jon’s offerings before passing judgment on the future of Iced Earth. This band has always strived to give its listeners the very best and I know that Jon, as always, will continue to lead that charge.

"To Iced Earth and all of you…I wish you the very best!!!"

Founding member and guitarist Jon Schaffer has reponded to Barlow's announcement with the following retort:

"I knew Matt wrestled with this for a long, long time,” said Schaffer. “It wasn’t an easy decision for him. But I love him dearly and I can’t fault his reasons.”

Schaffer continued: "Matt is one of the most sincere people I know, and one of the most talented. His departure deeply saddens me, but I hope all fans of Iced Earth will cut him some slack. I wish Matt well, respect him greatly, and I ask everyone else to do the same."

With a new album in the works, and a world tour pending, Schaffer has already begun the search for a new vocalist.

"I have a few guys in mind," said Schaffer. "And as you can imagine, it is a very important decision. One thing is for certain: we are not looking for a Matt Barlow ‘clone’ – we are looking for a front man that brings power and character of his own to the table. There’s only one Matt, and that era of the band’s history will always hold a special place in my heart."

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48 Comments on "Iced Earth Vocalist Quits The Band"

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hellrat's avatar

Member

1. hellrat writes:

what the hell....again?? ol Barlow is a bit of drama queen eh

well hell, maybe this time he'll become a fire man....and have a fire man band!

ya know, something like 'Matty and the Flames' or maybe 'Big Red's First Force Fire Brigade Band' :)

well, here we go again with the fvckin IE singer go round

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 5:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. R Tenney writes:

Wonder if Schaefer is considering Ripper? Like the 2 Ripper IE albums

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 5:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. shno writes:

I'm very upset. I've been trying to see Iced Earth live since 2001. Sure, when Barlow left, I didn't really care for them. But when he came back I tried tooth and nail to go. Hopefully this summer tour comes close, or I will be forever in regret.

NP: "The Phantom Opera Ghost" - Iced Earth

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 5:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

I saw them in 2008 just after Barlow came back and they were amazing. I'm seeing them again in June. You jelly?

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 5:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. ZMA writes:

I don't think that wanting to raise your family makes you a drama queen. But I don't know.....
I'm not really that much of an Iced Earth fan, not cause I don't like them, I just don't really have anything by them. But I know they're a great band with great players and I know they'll find a vocalist that works for them.
I think they should get Ripper Owens again. He really is a great vocalist. I like all his work with Priest (even though a lot of people don't), and Beyond Fear, and Charred Walls Of The Damned. And I've heard his Iced Earth stuff, and I think they should have him back.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. ZMA writes:

@ R Tenney. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Ripper. He really is a sick vocalist. I've met him too and he's a mad nice guy.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. b.bristowe writes:

Thats too bad. Barlows vocals made some of the best Iced Earth songs and metal songs to date. Please don't take ripper back lol, those 2 album were pushing Iced Earth in the wrong direction.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

8. Diamond Oz writes:

After the way they handled the split, I can't see Ripper going back to Iced Earth. I'd prefer to see him join another band that needs a great singer. I saw Ripper with Malmsteen at the same festival I saw Iced Earth and was really impressed by him, though I thought Malmsteen kept Ripper in the back as much as possible so he could mess about on the guitar.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

9. hellrat writes:

owens is the obvious choice for schaffer....i would hope that bearen dog has the dignity of self to refuse if is his offered the gig...they hung that poor fvcker out to dry

i also hope ripper doesn't return because i hate his vocals...he is a capable singer, but his tone and delivery are just grating...i threw that fvckin inglorious BURDEN out the fvckin window on the second time around!

my favorite record is still night of the stormrider...and though he's a rather weak voiced fellow, ol' Greely sound just perfect on that album....but he doesn't have the chops for the later works

fvck, i don't know who would be the man for the task right now...

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. ZMA writes:

@ Diamond Oz. Malmsteen is a massive tool. I'm really not a fan. I'm not taking anything away from him, he's a good player I just really don't like him.

I don't really know anything about how Ripper left Iced Earth but that's sad to hear.

Have you heard any of Ripper Owens Beyond Fear stuff? Or Charred Walls Of The Damned? I don't think people give Ripper enough credit because he's been the replacement singer a lot in his carreer.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

11. hellrat writes:

'....beaTen dog'

'if he IS offered...'

jesus! AND i got beat by Oz!! :)

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. Diamond Oz writes:

I agree ZMA, Malmsteen kinda ruined his own set for me. So much so, me and a mate went back to the campsite for a few hours before heading back to catch Saxon. Ripper is a great singer and certainly doesn't get the credit he deserves in my opinion, but I haven't gotten round to checking out Beyond Fear or Charred Walls Of The Damned yet, though a friend of mine saw Beyond Fear supporting Anthrax and said they were really good.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. ZMA writes:

Diamond Oz. Haha I'm sorry to hear that. I hope Saxon was kick a$$ though.

Oh alright, well I recommend checking out Beyond Fear. When I met Ripper he told me that he's actually working on a Beyond Fear album, and it's gonna be heavier then their first. Beyond Fear has kind of a Rob Halford solo albums sound to it but I think he really came into his own with that band. If you're into anything like that definitely check it out.
And Charred is a really band. There are a lot of interesting riffs on it and Rippers vocals really give it a different feel. If you have the time give them a listen.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

14. Diamond Oz writes:

Hell yeah man Saxon were tops. Sounds good, I'll have to check them out. I like Halford's solo stuff so from the sounds of it I'll enjoy Beyond Fear.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. ZMA writes:

Great to hear.
Oh ok awesome then if you like Halford then I think you'll Definitely like Beyond Fear. I hope that I find out if you like them or not sometime in the future.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Triforce's avatar

Member

16. Triforce writes:

wtf...

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

17. Cynic writes:

Ripper is the man, I'm a fan of his Preist, Iced Earth and Malmsteen work - hope he sticks with Malmsteen actually.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:12 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. R Tenney writes:

@ zma I also met Ripper in 98 on Priest Jugulator your. Humble down to earth dude. No rock star pretension. The thing about Iced is its Schaefers band. Always has been. Singers just an instrument. A hired gun. Thought Ripper did well with IC.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. megapurify writes:

SHOULD HAVE KEPT RIPPER YOU f***ING IDIOT! He is the most dedicated singer alive and then you publicly bash him when he kept you going strong? f*** you Jon!

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. Noman's Hand writes:

Damn, this is really upseting to hear. Matt is a great vocalist and I hope he and his family have many happy memories together. I can't wait for the new album to come out. ICED EARTH RULES \m/ \m/ !!!!!!!!!

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

21. zMETALlica writes:

iced earth would rule with urban breed... then again what wouldn't lol. which is how i feel about barlow's vox...

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. Mhoram writes:

I'm sorry to hear that Matt's leaving, but it's not entirely unexpected. He's had a hell of a busy schedule, and when it comes to a choice between staying with the band or remaining committed to his family, well that's not really a choice at all. I'm sad to see him go, but I commend him for this. He made the right choice.
Iced Earth have had some mad line-up changes over the years, but it's never stopped them before and it won't stop them now. Jon's a man of integrity, and won't hire anyone who can't live up to the Iced Earth name. Good luck to both Matt and Iced Earth!

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 8:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. Forsakenman writes:

IN the real press release of this story he did NOT quit the band but Matt retired from Iced Earth
I'm a fan of Iced Earth for that last 2 years now i'm very sad to hear about this news but i do understand and respect Matt's reason for retired from Iced Earth. I am very said i will never get to see Matt live with Iced Earth.
I look forward to the new DVD coming out and the new album.
I look forward to see what a fresh new lead singer will bring to Iced Earth.
Cause Iced Earth rules!!

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 8:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
silvermountains's avatar

Member

24. silvermountains writes:

I'm bummed by this, Iced Earth is a great band. Sad to see his talent leave.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 9:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
25. CoMiGa writes:

Saw IE a few years ago with Barlow and it was awful. I don't know if it was just an off night or what but I was highly disappointed since Alive in Athens is one of my favorite albums.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 10:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
\m/LIVEC\m/'s avatar

Member

26. \m/LIVEC\m/ writes:

Again??? Really? Matt is turning n 2 the M.Jordan of Metal lol...

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 2:11 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
\m/LIVEC\m/'s avatar

Member

27. \m/LIVEC\m/ writes:

NP - Iced Earth - Wolf \m/

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 2:17 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
\m/LIVEC\m/'s avatar

Member

28. \m/LIVEC\m/ writes:

hellrat LOL! couldn't agree more with ur comment LMAO

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 2:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
tallica_fan's avatar

Member

29. tallica_fan writes:

ah sh** i was serioiusly hopin they would come out before he left again farrrrk

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 7:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
gripper's avatar

Member

30. gripper writes:

I agree with Cynic. Although I would like to see Ripper get back with Iced Earth, he should stay with Malmsteen and Charred Walls of the Dammed. I forgot to mention Yngwie's latest "Relentless" in my list as one of the best of 2010. It deserves your attention.

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 8:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
CorpusUpir's avatar

Member

31. CorpusUpir writes:

Dude this sucks... Never cared for the other singers of Iced Earth , although I am a fan of Rippers other work (even with priest) he is wrong for Iced Earth. Hope they get someone good . Wish the best to Matt and his family , he made the right choice

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 9:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Tivic's avatar

Member

32. Tivic writes:

Jon Schaffer needs to do singing like he does in Sons of Liberty.

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 9:48 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Guttersniper's avatar

Member

33. Guttersniper writes:

AHHHHH BALLS!!! I guess I'll take seeing Barlow with Iced Earth off my bucketlist, was really hoping to see them and for another album with him on vox.... And personally, I don't want Owens to rejoin because if its like his previous stuff with them it'll be very subpar to the Barlow albums. I'd like them to get someone new so I can at least look forward to the album.

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 2:09 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
34. b.bristowe writes:

With they way Jon worded it, it seems as though they may work again in the near future just not under the brand Iced Earth

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 2:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
35. R Tenney writes:

Yea I guess it would have to be someone new. Difficult to bring back Ripper under the circumstances. I just didn't recall Schaffer slagging Rip. Thought it was a case of Barlow making him self available again. I do remember Schaffer saying Rips voice not being proper for IE live but I don't recall any nastiness. Oh well I liked the Ripper stuff but I guess not many other IE fans did.

# Mar 3, 2011 @ 5:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

36. wilco writes:

the voice is gone of the band

# Mar 4, 2011 @ 11:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
37. Cricket414 writes:

I've already posted my thoughts -
I'll add since reading many comments here --
Jon and Matt are very tight. Matt made an thoughtful, heartfelt, intelligent decision. Jon respected his decision. I applaud Matt's dedication to his family and support all he chooses, while I'll miss his vocals and stage presence very much.

However, I see this now as positive opportunity: Opportunity for someone new, opportunity for many more tours abroad and in the U.S., less-constricted scheduling and recording for Iced Earth, and opportunity for us as fans to embrace another great vocalist and stage presence within Iced Earth. I look forward to the momentum, progress, and new chapters for Iced Earth - their shows, recordings, DVDs, and more!

# Mar 4, 2011 @ 12:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
38. anonymous writes:

I have confirmation from tim ripper ownes himself that HE WILL NOT return to Iced Earth. He is over and done with that part of his life he told me. I wonder what singer Iced Earth will take on now...... hmmmm... How about blaze bayley?

# Mar 5, 2011 @ 4:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
39. larz613 writes:

GET RICK MYTHIASIN !!!

# Mar 5, 2011 @ 10:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar

Member

40. Hammerheart writes:

I'm sure Schaffer will find a willing, competent vocalist to replace Barlow, but don't pull Ripper away from Malmsteen, I kind of think it's where he can shine a bit.

Personally, though, I think Hansi from Blind Guardian would be a lovely fit.. just look at Demons and Wizards.

# Mar 6, 2011 @ 12:58 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
MetalMattUK's avatar

Member

41. MetalMattUK writes:

I am gutted but John will keep taking the band onwards all the vocalists that Iced Earth have had down the years i have to say they have all been good and suited the band very well.
Ripper Owens was brilliant on The Glorious Burden that's the album that got me into the band and made buy all of there albums.
I'm sure they will bounce back even stronger

# Mar 6, 2011 @ 9:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
42. R Tenney writes:

@ZMA after reading comments above ;I bought Charred Walls of the Damned! All I can say is where the f*** was I when this came out! Holy allstar band! Christy;Digiorio;Surcof;@ the Rip! Good stuff! Thanks for the heads up! I was sleeping on that one !

# Mar 6, 2011 @ 4:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
43. ZMA writes:

R Tenney. Awesome sh*t man. Glad you like it. Theres a lot of interesting riffs on that album. They're workin' on a new album I think. Oh and I agree with the comment you said farther up about the hired gun thing. Ripper really is a great singer.

# Mar 7, 2011 @ 1:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
44. R Tenney writes:

Yea ZMA Rippers I guess comfortable with the singer for hire thing. Thought the new Malmsteen album was pretty good. Rippers made a differance in his stuff IMO. Malmsteens gotta be hard to work with considering his ego. Unbelievable talent but a d***

# Mar 7, 2011 @ 5:48 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
45. THRASH TILL DEATH writes:

This is terrible, matts the true voice of iced earth. i like the ripper alot but matts one of the greatest ever

# Mar 7, 2011 @ 1:49 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
46. tommsf writes:

what a p***y.

# Mar 7, 2011 @ 9:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
47. ZMA writes:

R Tenney. I haven't heard Malmsteen's new stuff. I can't get into him, his personality just throws me off. But yea I agree with you. Ripper has been a singer for hired most of his carreer. I think Beyond Fear and his new solo album are the only stuff he did himself. Oh and Winter's Bane possibly.

# Mar 8, 2011 @ 2:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
48. A.I writes:

I believe that the iced earth a great band, Matt is the only one which fitted the band when I listened to their songs with Owen idid'nt feel as iced Earth but they may find a good singer and maybe i change my mind

# Mar 15, 2011 @ 6:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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