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Iced Earth opened with “Plagues of Babylon”. After its ominous, building intro, guitarists Jon Scaffer and Troy Seele virtually shook the audience by the scruff of the neck while drummer Jon Dette battered the room with rhythmic mayhem. Vocalist Stu Block manned the microphone with authority, frequently belting out high-register screams reminiscent of Rob Halford (Judas Priest). The moving “If I Could See You” from Plagues of Babylon provided contrast in the heavy set. “Boiling Point” followed, putting the wicked, almost foreboding vibe back into the air.

Stu Block, vocalist of the Tampa based metal band Iced Earth spoke to me from Germany about the band’s latest record, Dystopia. This is their 10th studio release and the first for Block who joined the band early in 2011. The band is currently on tour in Europe where they are playing 40 shows over the next six weeks. Here is what Block had to say about the record and how he is adjusting to his new role as the frontman of such a well-established act.

Fans of Judas Priest, KISS, and Iron Maiden rejoice! America’s own heavy metallers, Iced Earth, recently dropped their latest album, Dystopia. This record is amazing! As soon as I pushed play, the first song and title track of the album, “Dystopia,” crushed me with heavy double bass and crunch-crunch guitar work.