Iced Earth, Sanctuary and Kill Ritual deliver a roaring night of metal to Louisville’s Mercury Ballroom.

Touring in support of their newest album, Incorruptible, heavy metal masters Iced Earth make an early North American tour stop in Louisville, greeted by a room full of loyal fans.

Incorruptible, Iced Earth’s twelfth studio album and the first studio album in over 20 years that is not a concept album is 100% pure American power metal, loaded signature riffs, screaming vocals, and tales of bravery and battles.

A huge roar rolls over the Mercury Ballroom as the full stage-sized Incorruptible album art backdrop and massive drum set are unveiled.  There is a palpable level of energy in the venue as the house lights fall and the guys blast on stage, immediately dropping into “Great Heathen Army,” “Burning Times,” and “Dystopia” as the moshing and thrashing in the pit begins.

Drummer Brent Smedley, guitarist and founding member Jon Schaffer, drummer Brent Smedley, vocalist Stu Block, bassist Luke Appleton, and new guitarist Jake Dreyer were on fire from the opening chords of this evening as Iced Earth covered songs from their entire 30+ year catalog including “Black Flag,” “Seven Headed Whore,” “I Died for You,” and “Vengeance Is Mine”

Stu Block took a minute to address the room full of passionate fans. “We have some of the best fans, we thank you all for your support. We have had lots of milestones over our 30+ year career, one of those milestones is this year is the 20th anniversary of the album Something Wicked This Way Comes.  We are going to perform something special from the album, the “Wicked Trilogy “- “The Prophecy,” “Birth of the Wicked,” and “The Coming Curse”.

As chants of “Iced Earth” come from the frenzied fans, the guys come out for a two-song encore starting with “Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)”. Stu is center stage for one last time – “This will be our last song for the night, it’s a song written many years ago for someone who passed away in a motorcycle accident. Tonight we dedicate it to Warrel, this one is called ‘Watching Over You.'”

With the tragic loss of frontman Warrel Dane (Sanctuary, Nevermore) prior to Sanctuary’s recently announced tour dates supporting Iced Earth across North America, there were questions how, or if, Sanctuary would complete the tour.  From Sanctuary via Facebook, “The shows will act as a farewell tour in tribute to the life and memory of Dane with guest vocals for Sanctuary to be performed by Joseph Michael (Witherfall).”

Sanctuary recently released the official prequel to 1988’s classic debut Refuge DeniedInception, showcasing several previously lost recordings from their 1986 studio session that have now been restored, remixed and remastered by Chris Zeuss Harris (Queensrÿche). 

Before Sanctuary took to the Mercury Ballroom stage, Joseph Michael spent quite a bit of time stage front, interacting with fans while the drums and mics were being set-up.  Once the house lights dropped, it’s all business as the guys rolled through a magical set opening with “Die For My Sins,” and “Seasons of Destruction”.

Before “Battle Angels” guitarist Lenny Rutledge took a minute to address the crowd.  “We didn’t know if we would be on this tour after Warrel passed away. We were fortunate to get one of the best heavy metal singers around, Joseph Michael, to help us pay tribute to him. Every show, before we would play this song, Warrel would scream – ‘Are you ready for Battle!!!!’” as the guys dropped into a raucous rendition of the song.    

Sanctuary couldn’t have been better tonight. While providing a different vibe on stage, Joseph tore through each song effortlessly, hitting signature high note after high note. Sanctuary focused on many older songs during their 45-minute set including “Future Tense” and “The Mirror Black” before ending with a fitting tribute to Warrel with “The Year The Sun Died” closing a fantastic performance

Warrel Dane tragically passed away on December 13, 2017, due to a heart attack while recording his second solo album in São Paulo, Brazil. 

Touring in support of their recently released album “All Men Shall Fall” through Dissonance Productions, Kill Ritual opened the show with a rock-solid set of metal featuring a number of songs from new album. Fronted by vocalist David Reed Watson (Rage Of Angels, Electric Messiah, D.N.A.) and the blistering guitar work of Steven D. Rice, Kill Ritual start the evening off in a fast and furious way.

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Iced Earth
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Kill Ritual
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Terry Harper Presents
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Mercury Ballroom
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Event Date: 24-FEB-2017