Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor
Before they adopted the moniker of Iced Earth in the late 1980s, and after they were known as The Rose between 1984-1985, there was PURGATORY.
The time, 1985; the place, Tampa, Florida… guitarist Jon Schaffer continues his pursuit of creating a band that channels the influences of metal and rock acts like Judas Priest, KISS, and Iron Maiden with incredible playing and technicality. Alongside him in the newly birthed PURGATORY are bassist Dave Abell, lead guitarist Bill Owen, drummer Greg Seymour, and singer Gene Adam.
This line up of the band would record the ‘Burning Oasis’ demo, issue it that same year, 1985. It would be the first of three demos that PURGATORY would record and independently release between ’85 and ’86. The second, ‘Psychotic Dreams’, would contain a change in the band’s line up, with the addition of bassist Richard Bateman.
These two demos, along with the third, ‘Horror Show’, contained incredibly ambitious, powerful heavy metal music. It was all crafted around the strength of solid, guitar-oriented songs riveted with emotionally vibrant elements, and featuring amazingly dynamic vocal performances.
For whatever reasons, 1988 would see the metamorphosis of PURGATORY into the band whose legacy we are now well familiar with, Iced Earth. With a new moniker intact, in 1989 another demo, ‘Enter The Realm’, was recorded by Jon Schaffer, Gene Adam, Dave Abell, Greg Seymour, and new Iced Earth guitarist, Randy Shawver. Four-fifths of that line up remained, joined by drummer Mike McGill, for the eventual self-titled début album from Iced Earth released by Century Media Records in 1990.
In the years since then, Iced Earth have become a world-renowned, melodic power metal band in the vein of the traditional greats. Yet, everything comes full circle, does it not? An evolving process where sometimes, one may return to their roots for a variety of reasons, be it for creative inspiration, or to celebrate an era in time, or merely even for nostalgia’s sake.
Perhaps one of those reasons, or maybe all of them, factor into today’s news that the original members of Iced Earth have teamed up once again. Not just that, but they are doing so under the name of PURGATORY, and will be releasing a new recording.
Yes, Jon Schaffer, Gene Adam, and Bill Owen have recorded five of their earlier songs, written between 1985 and 1987, and will release them through Century Media as the ‘Purgatory’ EP on December 21st. The release is dedicated to bassist Richard Bateman, who unfortunately passed away earlier this year prior to the EP going into production.
The ‘Purgatory’ EP was produced and mixed by Jon Schaffer and the famed Jim Morris – who also contributed additional lead guitar work to the record – and mastered by Chris “Zeuss” Harris. Additional guests include bassist Ruben Drake and drummer Mark Prator.
You can hear the newly recorded EP track “Dracula” streaming below. If it sounds a bit familiar, the song was re-recorded for Iced Earth’s 2001 album ‘Horror Show‘, albeit with a different line up, of course.
The five track EP perfectly captures the spirit of 80’s metal and will be offered in a variety of formats including limited Digipak CD, limited LP (with 180 gram vinyl, four-page inlay and etching) and digitally. You can find pre-order options active now at this LINK.
Packaging for the EP contains liner notes and comments from Jon Schaffer, Gene Adam, Greg Seymour, and Bill Owen, while adorned with stunning cover artwork by David Newman Stump and Roy Young, the pair behind the cover of the latest Iced Earth album, ‘Incorruptible‘.
01. In Your Dreams (4:55)
02. Dracula (6:08)
03. In Jason’s Mind (5:03)
04. Jack (4:00)
05. Burning Oasis (5:38)
The vinyl LP version of the ‘Purgatory‘ EP is available in the following colors:
– Black vinyl: Unlimited
– Transparent-blue vinyl: Limited to 100 copies, exclusively available at CM
– Distro Europe
– Transparent-orange vinyl: Limited to 200 copies, available at CM Distro Europa*
– Clear vinyl: Limited to 200 copies, exclusively available at Nuclear Blast
– Lilac vinyl: Limited to 300 copies, exclusively available in the USA
* A limited amount of 50 copies will be signed by the band and sold through band channels