Matt Barlow leaves Iced Earth…again

Posted: March 2, 2011 by Tony Polanco in THE METAL

Iced Earth is by far one of my most favorite bands of all time. I’m not going to say where on the pedestal they lie but they are definitely in my top five. One of the main reasons Iced Earth resonates with me is because of their long time vocalist Matt Barlow. Barlow is a unique singer in the world of Heavy Metal. His regular singing voice is very low and has a melancholy feel to it but he can also scream high pitched notes or growl like Satan himself. He is the perfect package when it comes to Metal singers.

Back in 2003 Matt Barlow decided to leave Iced Earth for personal reasons. He not only wanted to start a family with his wife but he also wanted to do something more significant for his country which eventually lead him to becoming a police officer. Back when this happened Iced Earth fans around the world where shocked to say the least. In my personal group of friends we could not get over it and we had many Iced Earth fueled get togethers to ease the pain of loosing such a great frontman.

Matt Barlow would later rejoin the band in 2007. To say that I was happy about this would be an understatement. Matt Barlow was back in Iced Earth and the world made sense again. Matt would go on to tour the planet with the band and sang on “The crucible of Man: Something wicked part 2” album. Since this time I was able to see a Matt Barlow fronted Iced Earth twice here in the great city of New York and I believed that things would stay this way. So this latest news is as shocking, if not more so, than when Matt originally left the band.

One of the main reasons for Matt’s departure is due to the new realities of the music industry. Touring has always been an important aspect in how a band made their money but the other major component was record sales. I’m sure that there was a time when bands could release albums, do very little touring and still make a nice living. This of course is no longer the case. Now that record sales are virtually non-existent, if a band wants to survive or thrive they need to tour and tour heavily. Matt Barlow and Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer believed that Iced Earth could do less touring but in bigger venues and still make it. It’s been nearly four years but in that time things have radically changed. A band must tour as much as possible in order to make money and this much touring is something that unfortunately Matt Barlow cannot do since he is committed to his family and his profession as a police officer.

This is devastating to me as an Iced Earth and Matt Barlow fan but I completely understand why this has happened. I wish Matt Barlow and his family the best and will look forward to any music that he may put out in the future. Iced Earth will of course soldier on and find a new frontman eventually. While this news saddens me I do greatly look forward to what Iced Earth will do next.

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