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Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Iced Earth: Plagues of Babylon (Century Media Records)

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Iced Earth, the Florida-based band approaching its 30-year anniversary, makes brutal metal for the masses. OK, “for the masses” might be overstating it: The bloody cover of the band’s 11th album, Plagues of Babylon, and a track listing that includes “Democide,” and “Among the Living Dead” won’t win over the faint of heart. But Iced Earth’s epic brand of relentless riffs, aggressive vocals and vivid lyrics about the end of days should appeal to fans of power, thrash and progressive metal. Plagues of Babylon opens with a six-song continuation of the story begun on 1998’s classic Something Wicked This Way Comes, while the second half consists of six stand-alone songs—including a metallic version of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman.”