The eighth full-length album by the legendary American Heavy/Power Metal band.
Unlike most Iced Earth albums, "The Glorious Burden" features no fantasy or mythology-based lyrics, and the songs are mostly based on military history. The album was written as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, which are directly addressed in "When the Eagle Cries".
It is a concept album, which explores various moments in military history, such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolutionary War, and Waterloo. It also pays tribute to world events such as World War I, the World Trade Center attacks and the ravages of Attila the Hun.
The album includes a trilogy entitled Gettysburg (1863). Each of the three songs represents one day in the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle ever conducted in the Western Hemisphere and considered the turning point in the American Civil War.
Because of the album's extremely patriotic American themes, some tracks weren't added to versions released in certain countries. "The Star-Spangled Banner" was removed from the German release.
This album features the debut of lead singer Tim 'Ripper' Owens, formerly of Judas Priest. Matt Barlow recorded the original lead vocal tracks, but when he left the band to become a police officer (inspired by the events of 9/11) the album release was delayed until his parts were replaced by Tim Owens. Barlow's original backing vocals can still be heard on the album, and he is credited with co-writing two songs. Owens, who at that time was still in Judas Priest, was asked to do the vocals as a side project. However, he joined the band full-time after Judas Priest reunited with Rob Halford.
This record is the only Iced Earth album to feature Ralph Santolla on lead guitars. This was the last studio album for bassist James MacDonough and drummer Richard Christy.
The Thrash influenced Power Metal sound they employ is very memorable, especially in songs like "Attila", "Declaration Day" and "Red Baron/Blue Max". The riffs are very strong, particularly in those two songs. Not especially heavy, but not very light either, they are a big selling point of the album. Other songs such as "When the Eagle Cries" and "Valley Forge" offer up a softer side of the album, and have many ballad-esque features, especially the former. The "Glorious Burden" is a very strong album, and it is obvious that there was a lot of effort put into it.
Here is a record about patriotism that contains no jingoism; it offers its perceptions honestly and without compromise, but instead of going along for the ride, it offers a place to argue from, as well as to enjoy. Highly recommended!!
SPV/Steamhammer, 2004 (SPV 085-74972 CD). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Declaration Day 4:54
2. When The Eagle Cries 4:06
3. The Reckoning (Don't Tread On Me) 4:57
4. Attila 5:38
5. Red Baron/Blue Max 4:05
6. Hollow Man 4:25
7. Waterloo 5:44
8. Valley Forge 4:47
9. The Devil To Pay 12:13
10. Hold At All Cost 7:05
11. High Water Mark 12:35
Total playing time: 70:29