American power metallers ICED EARTH have set "Dystopia" as the title of their new album, tentatively due before the end of the year via Century Media Records. The CD will mark the band's recording debut with singer Stu Block (INTO ETERNITY),who joined ICED EARTH in March following the departure of Matt Barlow. (Note: Barlow is performing with the band on all summer festival dates. Block will take over from there, starting with the European leg of ICED EARTH's world tour in November.)
Commented ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer: "We begin master tracking [the new album] in Florida in two weeks and will be traveling between Europe and the U.S. this summer to play festivals and finish the new album."
He added, "I can honestly say that I haven't had this many songs give me goose bumps since we recorded 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' way back in 1998, so this is also very exciting.
"As you can imagine, it's a very busy time for us. I think we're all having emotional ups and downs as we're coming to the end of an era with Matt's retirement, and we're also very excited about the future with Stu coming onboard, so it's a little bit of a roller coaster ride for us. However, we are having a killer time, and Matt is performing at his absolute best and going out with pure class and style, which is always the way he rolls."
Fan-filmed video footage of ICED EARTH performing at this year's installment of the Rock Hard festival on June 11, 2011 at the Amphitheater in Gelsenkirchen, Germany can be viewed below.
ICED EARTH's long-awaited live DVD extravaganza, "Festivals Of The Wicked", boasts nearly six hours of material three full headliner shows (over 40 live tracks!),a photo gallery shot by famed rock photographer Ross Halfin, plus a 90-minute documentary. It will be released on June 27 in Europe and July 12 in the U.S.
"Festivals Of The Wicked" shows ICED EARTH in its favorite element facing tens of thousands of screaming fans and playing songs that demonstrate why ICED EARTH fans are some of the most loyal in metal.
The three soon-to-be-released festivals are:
* Germany's Wacken Open Air (2007) with Tim "Ripper" Owens on lead vocals. The blistering 13-song set begins with a jaw-dropping rendition of "Burning Times" and closes with the band's signature track, "Iced Earth".
* Germany's Rock Hard Festival (2008) with Matt Barlow on lead vocals. This festival, the first to feature Matt's return, storms through 15 songs, with "Dark Saga" leading the charge.
* Slovenia's Metalcamp (2008) with Matt Barlow on lead vocals. A not-to-be-missed 16-song facemelter of a concert that proves why some say ICED EARTH is one of the top live bands in the world.
"I'm very proud of this DVD, and I'm grateful to fans for their patience," said Schaffer. "Getting this ready for release has been an enormous job, but a true labor of love. It will be worth the wait. I promise."