Iced Earth is an American heavy metal band from Tampa, Florida, that combines influences from thrash metal, power metal, progressive metal, opera, speed metal and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Iced Earth has been known to have a volatile and often changing line-up. Founding member, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer is the only original member who has remained, handling nearly all of the songwriting and leading the band. Former vocalist Matt Barlow and former lead guitarist Randall Shawver are the next longest-tenured members. They are the only people besides Schaffer to have spent a full decade in the band. Shawver, the first lead guitarist to record with the band, joined in 1988 and remained until 1998. Barlow joined in 1994 and remained until 2003. However, he returned to the group in late 2007, making his live return at the 2008 Chicago Powerfest. In March 2011, vocalist Matt Barlow announced his intentions to leave the band. Stu Block, from Into Eternity, was named as Iced Earth's new singer.
Originally formed as Purgatory by Schaffer in 1984, the band spent five years playing live locally and went through several line-up changes. After changing their name to Iced Earth, the band recorded the 1989 demo “Enter the Realm,” which landed them a deal with the German label, Century Media Records.
One year later, the band recorded their self-titled album “Iced Earth,” followed by 1991's “Night of the Stormrider,” which peaked at #60 on the Japanese Oricon charts. Three years later, Iced Earth released “Burnt Offerings,” featuring new vocalist Matthew Barlow, followed by 1996’s “The Dark Saga,” but both releases failed to chart.
In 1997, the band re-recorded the best of their early material, and released it as a compilation titled “Days of Purgatory.” Released in 1998, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” reached #19 on the German Media Control charts. They followed up with the 1999 live album “Alive in Athens”
In 2001, the band released their sixth full-length “Horror Show,” which reached the Top 30 on the Austrian Ö3 Top 40 and German charts. Also in 2001, the five-disc box set “Dark Genesis,” which contained remastered versions of their first three studio albums, the demo “Enter the Realm,” and a studio album only of cover versions, titled “Tribute to the Gods.” “Tribute to the Gods” was later also released separately in 2002.
Two years later, Iced Earth signed a deal with SPV, and hired singer Tim “Ripper” Owens to record vocals for “The Glorious Burden.” The album reached the Top 30 in Austria, Finland and Germany. For the first time, the band entered the American Billboard 200 Albums chart, at #145.
Between 2007 and 2008, the band released two concept albums for the conclusion of the “Something Wicked” saga. The first part, 2007’s “Framing Armageddon,” reached the Top 30 on the German and Swedish Sverigetopplistan charts. The following year, they released the second part “The Crucible of Man,” which reached the Top 40 on the Austrian, Finnish, German, and Swiss charts. A second live album, “Festivals of the Wicked,” was released in 2011.