Saturday, August 25, 2012


Yeah, I know I’m a little late gettin’ around to it, but I figure I’ll throw in my two and a half cents about “The Dark Knight Rises”.  First, I have to say that I went into the theater with the sense that I would not be disappointed with this final installment of the Nolan trilogy.  I just had a feeling that things from TDK that left me so depressed (for lack of a better word) would somehow be righted.  I was not wrong…for the most part.  I think that there were a lot of things that were right on the money here.  Though I might have gone another way in some aspects, I believe that there were a lot of visions in TDKR that we saw in “Batman Begins”.  I’m not sure if those bits were because of more writing contributions by David Goyer or if it was just a conscious decision from the whole creative team to give the movie that feeling.  Aside from the obvious connection to BB (I won’t spoil it for the two people who haven’t seen the flick) there was the same kind of energy that was not (in my opinion) present in TDK.  It’s kinda hard to talk about my favorite points of the movie without giving away plot.  The same goes for the parts that I wasn’t so jazzed about, but I can say that I think the movie was worth the admission price and I’ll be glad to add “The Dark Knight Rises” to my Bat-collection. 

That being said…I’m ready for the next vision of The Batman to fill us with delight.  I am almost positive that Nolan will still have his hands in the production or executive production of the next concept, but I hope that the next creative team gives us the Batman that gives as good as he gets.  I’m talking about the guy that can go head to head with a “Super” human and come away with his head up.  That’s the guy I wanna see next.  After all, next summer we get to “believe a man can fly” again.  We should be getting ready for a Batman that can help save a planet from other worldly foes.  That only seems fair.  If I wanna see a realistic super hero, I’ll watch a Norris movie ;-))

As far as “Man of Steel” goes, I like what I’ve seen so far.  I think that the Jor El and Jonathan Kent teasers were brilliant.  Was it me, or did anyone else get the same visual vibe from those trailers as from the first “Batman Begins” teaser?  Weird…yet hopeful!  Let’s all hope that we will see stuff that we have never seen but have always been waiting for.  Horns Up!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I decided to try my hand at a video blog to mix things up. I hope you guys like it. Please feel free to critique, but not to harshly ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Greetings all! Just wanted to give you guys a little insight into what's been going on lately. Well, though we are still in the early stages of progress, we are really excited about what we are hearing thus far. We hope that you have patience with us as we continue with this creative process and search for a record label that will help us bring our music to you all in the best way. Thanks for all your support....more to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


My buddy, Thomas "Hellspawn" Mancini, posted the latest “Dark Knight Rises” trailer on my Facebook page yesterday, just after I viewed it on  He is obviously a more “efficient” geek than I am, however, I'd still like to add my three and a half cents to this preview.  First, as some of you may know, I was not a huge fan of “The Dark Knight” film.  I really wanted to love it, but after watching it once in the theater and once on DVD (yeah, I didn’t even spring for the Blu-ray) I remained really, for lack of a better term, confused.  I was a huge fan of “Batman Begins”, and thought it was a perfect blending of a “super-hyper” and “realistic” world.  It delivered the foundation for what I felt was the most original/dramatic/action-filled “Batman” franchise there had ever been.  The story was well written and very heartfelt in establishing the reason why Bruce Wayne “must” transform into the Batman.  So I really had high hopes for TDK.  Considering the circumstances that had occurred prior to the film’s release, most of us were eager to see just how well the “Joker” and “Two-Face” played into the story.  I, unfortunately, felt that I spent over two hours watching something that left me feeling a little hollow.  Not even that “good hollow” like at the end of “Empire Strikes Back”.  I guess what I assumed from the title “The Dark Knight”, that Batman was going to kick some serious butt, but…what I got was “Why so serious?”

Since I’ve already used my “Empire” reference…I’ll just keep rolling with that.  From what I’ve seen of “The Dark Knight Rises” advertising, I get the distinct impression that this is Batman’s “Return of the Jedi”.  (Fingers crossed… no Ewoks…or missile toting penguins)  The tag line “The Legend Ends” has been used in posters and billboards.  Some might make the assumption that because this is Nolan’s final “Batman” film that he will “end” his vision of the Batman.  I may have completely missed the bus, but I believe what is meant by this is that “The Legend” will give way to “The Hero” of Gotham City.  I am sure that Nolan will remain connected to the Batman franchise in some capacity.  After all, whether I liked TDK or not, it is still one of the highest grossing movies of all time. 

That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that “The Dark Knight Rises” will surpass its predecessor … in both bank, and in the hearts of fan-boys.  This new trailer looks outstanding, and as long as we are given the “superhero” that we expect “The Bat” to be, bat-fans will be triumphant.  We have already seen what kind of superhero magic that Marvel can bring to the big screen in the last several years.  It’s time that Warner/DC use this opportunity to their advantage.  I trust the Nolan and Goyer will not disappoint with this one, and I wait with great anticipation for “The Man of Steel”!


Friday, May 18, 2012


Last summer, I embarked upon my final series of live performances with Iced Earth.  During some down time at the ROCK AM Festival in Germany, I was approached by a young man baring gifts­.  His name is Alex Pineda, and he had traveled all the way from Bogota, Colombia to catch one of the last shows.  I was presented with a hand carved sculpture of a jaguar’s head which represents the Jaguar God in the indigenous culture of his homeland.  I was truly grateful and I don’t really know which of us was more excited about the meeting. I know that Alex had spent a lot of time and money to make the 6000 mile trip, and was a bit “sleep happy” when we met, but I was just so appreciative of his steadfastness and was overwhelmed by his loyalty to the band.  I know that there are fans that have gone to great lengths to see Iced Earth and this was but another stunning example of how blessed the band is…and I am.

Alex is the personification of driven, and the surrogate of the metal fraternity’s loyalty.  During his travels, he documented the journey for those of us who have ever dared to dream.  Alex’s dream was to go to Germany and hang out with his heavy metal brethren, a mission that was destined to succeed, but was wrought with its own specific challenges.  For these challenges to be overcome, he enlisted the aid of several friends from overseas; fellow metallers who were more than willing to help out their “brother from another mother”.  Is there any doubt that (metal) music is THE universal language?  I don’t think so, but you could ask a Martian the next time you see one!

Anyway…I suppose that there are at least two lessons in this story (if you find anymore, keep it to yourself).  First, never be afraid to act on your dreams (unless your dreams involve you wearing a meat shirt inside a lion’s cage).  Second, never ever take what you have for granted.  Thank you, Alex, for the reminder…and thank you all for listening!

Follow your dreams!!!


Monday, May 7, 2012


Well, by now most of you have either seen The Avengers or have heard that the film had the biggest opening weekend in the U.S…ever!  All of my friends in other parts of the world told me how great the movie was before I was able to see it, so I was ready for something fairly epic…or so I thought.  My wife and I went to a matinee show in Rehoboth Beach to find a modest but enthusiastic crowd waiting to be awed by “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”.  There was an older gentleman there with his twenty-something son, who looked as though they had been waiting to see the film together for a long time.  I thought that Heather was going to start crying because it was “so cute”.  I have to admit, it was pretty cool seeing two generations of comic fans enjoying the anticipation together, as my guys and I will be doing in years to come.  Back to the show…

After a fairly impressive trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man”, the show began.  We were re-introduced to the “Cosmic Cube” or “Tesseract” as it’s known in the film world.  We had a foreshadowing of the Tesseract and Loki uniting at the end of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and it didn’t take a lot to imagine what might come of that union.  I’m not going to go into the entire explanation of the movie because I really want you guys to see it for yourself.  There are so many cool aspects of the Avengers it’s really hard to believe that writers Zak Penn and Joss Whedon were able to put it all in at just over two hours.  There are the inevitable duels between the would-be teammates that are brought to us in epic form.  The hero and villain match-ups are great as well.  My favorite of these, and strangely the shortest, is that of The Hulk v. Loki.  All of the characters are given their due in the movie and it is what every fan-boy has been waiting for decades to see.

I hope to see the numbers of moviegoers increase in the following weeks to prove that a comic book property can be the highest grossing of all time.  Though I have high hopes for “The Bat” and “The Spider”, I think it will be hard to beat the scale of bad-assness that The Avengers has accomplished in their first outing.  Judging by the sneak peek of their future foe, Avengers II will assuredly destroy whatever records they make this year.  Congratulations to all involved and especially Mr. Whedon…the best superhero movie of all time may be your opus my friend.

This one I will definitely be seeing again on the big screen!


Monday, April 23, 2012


You know, it’s pretty cool being a comic nerd/metal head sometimes.  What’s best may be the fact that there are so many folks around the world that are just like me…less the red hair and pasty skin…maybe. It never ceases to amaze me that I have met the likes of me in just about every corner of the world, completely obliterating the preconceived barriers that our various cultures have put in place.  We are a culture unto our own…Never give up! Never surrender! 
Where was I?  Oh yes…culture!  Culture-aka- music, art, yak shaving, etc…etc…etc.  The thing is we all have a common bond.  Like the bond between metal and comic art.  A couple of notable comic artists that have lent their brush to both comic book covers and music are Frank Frazetta (RIP) and Simon Bisley.  Mr. Frazetta is probably best known, in the music world, for his contributions to Molly Hatchet cover art.  Yeah, I know M.H. ain’t METAL, but you wouldn’t know it from the bad-ass “Death Dealer” painting on the cover.  Sweeeeeeet!   Mr. Bisley, as another example, has supplied visual aids to several Danzig records.  I know, not exactly METAL either, but Freddie Vidales likes him and that’s METAL enough for me!  Besides, Biz is the undisputed master of painting “Lobo”…and nobody is more METAL than “Lobo”!

Love of these artists’ work is certainly not limited to my two dimensional understanding of light and shadow.  There are many fans of these artistic titans that have studied their beloved style and used that inspiration to fuel their own dark visions.  A couple of years ago, when I was touring in Poland, I was able to meet one of those kindred to this particular style.  Kamil Pietruczynik has been a friend of mine and Iced Earth for many years, though I had not had the pleasure of meeting the evil genius to that point.  First, Kamil is an extremely talented and humble artist.  Secondly, he is a huge METAL fan.  He has provided many killer pieces of work to Iced Earth that features his undeniably cool skills. 
Last month, Kamil let me know that he was sending me something that he had been working on for my birthday.  I finally received it in the mail today…thanks U.S. Customs!  I was completely blown away.  I had no idea that it was going to be a 3x4 foot oil painting of “The Batman”!  It is the fockin’ coolest thing…ever!  Please enjoy these images while I e-shop for a kick-ass bat-frame!

PS-Check out Kamil’s website at and enjoy some more of his stuff!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Alright, alright…I admit that I have a problem.  It’s not that I’m ashamed of it or anything.  It’s just a little unusual to have to come clean with the fact that you are an addict…there, I said it.  Well, I guess now you want to know all about my dirty little secret.  I suppose you want to confront me about it while all of my loved ones watch me sweat.  You don’t have to worry about that.  They already know.  Heck, they’re my enablers.  You think you really want to know what I’m mainlining?  You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth! You’re out of order!  I have a disorder!  I’m a Food Network junkie!!!

I really can’t help myself.  It’s just one of those things that you can sit down to watch and just really appreciate the artistry of what the chef/cook/ baker is preparing.  Let’s face it, since we lost Mr. Ross “The Happy Painter” a serious void needed to be filled.  Enter, Food Network.  The landscape is certainly varied, but the concept is simple…cook food in all of its glorious forms.  There really is a show for everyone.  Whether you like Asian, Mexican, French, Indian, Ethiopian (not sure about that one…moving forward).  Anyway, you get my point.  Even if you’re not a cook, you can still enjoy watching these folks create some amazing looking dishes.  Fortunately for me, I can’t smell the stuff.  If so, I would probably be binging on every scrap in the old ice box.

Look, I know that some of you guys are thinkin’, “Is he ever gonna actually write about METAL in this blog, or is he just going to babble on about whatever his sleep deprived mind spits out?”  Well, the answer is, yes…to both.  Here’s where I tie it all together.  You see, I have been watching the FN for a while now and have finally determined who the most METAL guy is on their network.  You say, “Hey…food can’t be METAL!”  Well, nobody believed that you could hand out Bibles at a METAL show, but Stryper said “What the Hell…To Hell with the Devil!”  (That one was for Rich Christy). 
Now the natural choice for some who have actually watched FN might be Guy Fieri.  Yeah, I definitely get that.  He’s got the wacky “Rock Star” hair, the cool car, and the dude knows how to eat.  He also hosts one of my favorites; “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”…cool show about “Mom and Pop” eateries.  I’ve gotta say though, I think the most METAL guy on the FN has got to be Michael Symon.  I’m not sure if it’s because he’s half Greek and half Italian, but it seems to make for a good METAL combination.  It seems like if he could cook everything with beer or bacon in it, he would.  Michael describes his food as “Meat-Centric” and I can’t find anything wrong with that ideology.  As a matter of fact, you can’t have “METAL” without “MEAT”.  Case in point; I’ve never been to a METAL show that wasn’t a “SausageFest”. Mr. Symon hails from the Cleveland, Ohio area.  As we all know, “Cleveland Rocks!”   Apparently, because that’s where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is or something…I knew that!  He owns three restaurants there, and one in…you guessed it, Detroit “Rock City”…GET UP!  Oh yeah, I almost forgot…he’s also an “Iron Chef”…Up the Irons!!!

Anyway, that’s about it for my addiction and my pick for the “MOST METAL CHEF”.  As the object and “WINNER” of my latest rantings, Michael Symon will receive an autographed copy of “ALIVE IN ATHENS”.  Just as soon as he admits that he is trying to boost my “look” and stops denying my “friend” request.  Nobody rocks the soul-patch like yours truly…BARLOW-OUT!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


As I pointed out in my last Bar-LOG, just because you have the “House of Mouse” behind you, you are not guaranteed success.  Apparently, the film “John Carter” had a fairly disappointing weekend at the box office.  Look, I did my part.  Admittedly though, we went to see a matinee show, which took a couple dollars from their final take.  I will give the studio credit for this, they at least admitted to dropping the ball on the advertising of the film.  What I find sad is that this film was extremely entertaining and “original”.  Though it has been used as source material for years, because the story is one of the first of its kind, the screen writers still found a way to keep it fresh.  They certainly took artistic license in some regions, but I think it added to the charm of the narrative.  I found the film to have a lot of heart.  I would think that that has a great deal to with the director Andrew Stanton as well.  His body of work includes the Disney/Pixar animated films “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E”.  Transitioning from animation to live action didn’t seem tough for the guy at all.  Also, there was plenty CG in the movie.  He may have not realized that he was working in live action that often.  The actors did a nice job as well, considering that a lot of the supporting cast was of the animated variety.  It came together far better than some of the other Sci-Fi actioners that are heavily CG based- ala Episode I, II, & III.  Sorry George! 

Look, if you want a good, entertaining story that has inspired generations of Sci-Fi writers and film makers, than this is the movie for you.  Don’t expect to see something completely “new to you”, cause it aint gonna happen.  I hope that the ticket sales pick up in the coming weeks, as people get the “word of mouth” pitch from guys like me.  I would really like to see the follow up to this one.  This is just a guess at the title; “John Carter of Mars”.  You’ll see what I mean when you go to the show.  Enjoy! 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Today I got a chance to reflect on some wonderful moments in my life.  I remember when my wife I began to date, shortly after I moved to Indiana.  I was given a new lease on life that year.  In addition to dating my future wife, Iced Earth began working on “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, which was released the following year.  Arguably, some of my best work was done on that record.  Many great things happened when I started my life in Indiana.  Ironically, that same year, another “Hoosier” transplant started a new life in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The number one draft pick in the National Football League started his professional career with a team that I grew up watching in Baltimore.  It seemed like the making of a perfect storm.  I became a believer in Peyton Manning from the first time he took a snap as an Indianapolis Colt. This is a dude who commanded respect at a very young age and proved that hard work, passion, and dedication to his craft would ultimately define who he was as a player.  For fourteen years he continued to prove to the people of Indiana what kind of person he was and reinforce the respect of his peers and fans throughout the entire league. 

As a fan, it is really difficult to conceive the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning.  Well, here I am in much the same quandary that some of you may have been in when I departed Iced Earth (twice).  Well, I am here to tell you that I really get it, and I’m sorry!   I know that it sucks to have to deal with change and losing that certain sense of congruency that comes with the end of an era.  I also want to thank you for all the inspiration.  You have given me the understanding that, like you, I don’t have to choose loyalties between the team and the guy who gave it all when he was in the game.  I will continue to support the Indianapolis Colts and I will always be a fan of Peyton Manning.  Go kick some ass, brother!  I’ll be there screamin’ like a madman when you take your next snap!

By the way, another thing that Peyton Manning and I have in common…He used to make eight figures with the Indianapolis Colts and I used to make figure eights in a Dodge Colt.  BARLOW-OUT!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Well, I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty excited about this weekend.  My wife is taking me to see “John Carter “(of Mars) for my birthday.  Yeah, that’s right…I’m old!  However, I still can’t get enough of epic Sci-Fi.  This character has been around for a hundred years (I’m not quite that old) and this marks his first appearance on the big screen.  He hails from the creator of the beloved classic “Tarzan”, and has been the template for many protagonists of the science fiction genre; i.e., Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Han Solo/Luke Skywalker love child. During my youth, J.C. (the Savior of Martiankind…get it?) graced the pages of Marvel Comics.  I truly hope that he is treated with the care and respect that he deserves, so that we might be graced with his further adventures.

That leads me to my next example of care and respect for characters. “The Avengers” are in the house people!  Well, they’re really kinda at the front door.  Actually, they’re walking down the sidewalk in front of your house… probably.  My point is that F@#$N trailer looks killer!!!  I hope to see it played before the “John Carter” showing, so I can see the Hi Def version on a large screen.  What I have seen in this trailer is something that other “comic movies” will have to measure themselves next to.  I think it’s going to be a great season for Marvel, as the “Amazing Spider-Man” will also be met with high expectations. 

It would appear that the house of “Mooby the Golden Calf, I mean err…eh, Mickey Mouse” has once again found itself a “Cash Cow”.  Though I don’t think that Disney has acquired all rights to Spidey, and a few other Marvel titles, they definitely appear to be full speed ahead.  As a comic book fan, in general, I’m really glad to see that a lot of these stories are getting fast tracked.  I just hope that the integrity remains in what Marvel Studios had started pre-Mooby.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that a lot of great material has come out of Disney Studios via Pixar, etc.  I just don’t want to sit “false idoly” by while  some of my favorite superheroes are morphed into some kind of “neo-politically correct-we now own your soul ” version of their former selves.  Remember “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” –Keyser Soze.  BARLOW-OUT!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


What’s up people?  Somebody asked me this question on my FB page a while ago.  I wanted to take some time to address it, so you might begin to understand and appreciate the true complexities of the mundane.

“Here's something I was wondering: Is there a specific song or album that made you think "Damn, I want to do this one day!" and which you give credit for inspiring you to do music yourself? :)”

I’ve got to say, there have been many things that inspired me to perform music throughout the years, but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the song…you guessed it…“Top of the World” by The Carpenters.  I’m pretty sure you didn’t see that one coming, but you have to put yourself in my place for a moment. 

The year was 1973… (Cue the harps) I was a young man, of three years, who was naive to the ways of the world.  I really have to give credit to my parents for that. Well, we didn’t get out much, but when we did, the AM Radio was crankin’ out the “Hits of the 70’s”.  “Top of the World” was a chart topper at the time and was on regular rotation at our local station.  Look, whatever your opinion might be of this song, you could do a lot worse, as a three year old, than commit it to memory.  Well that’s what I did, and I would sing it for just about anybody who would listen.  I was what you might call a “Hammy McHammington”, and I haven’t really shut up since.

I know that it’s not exactly METAL, but I thought you guys might enjoy singing along with that fresh faced kid from long ago…


Such a feelin's comin' over me
There is wonder in 'most everything I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream

Everything I want the world to be
Is now comin' true especially for me
And the reason is clear, it's because you are here
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Somethin' in the wind has learned my name
And it's tellin' me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me

There is only one wish on my mind
When this day is through I hope that I will find
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me
All I need will be mine if you are here

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Hope you guys enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  I will be answering more questions in the coming days, so keep it right here…BARLOW-OUT!