Monday, January 11, 2016

Iced Earth - Watching Over Me

I might as well finish up my experiences and thoughts regarding that fantastic metal show I saw on March 10th. This is the third time I am bring this up, but I had a really good time at Iced Earth, Sabaton, and ReVamp, and I have already expressed my joy with the two opening acts, it would probably only be fair if I gave the main attraction some credit.

I do not know very much about Iced Earth; might as well be honest about that.

I knew of the existence of Iced Earth before my fateful evening with them, and I know I had heard a handful of their songs in the past, but I did not own any of their albums and was never overly impressed. I still hold an opinion of casual interest towards the band now, but to be fair they put on a good show, the crowd was really into them, and they appeared to be more than competent at their craft, but I do struggle to find the motivation to investigate further in any truly meaningful way to familiarize myself with their work. Still their performance, the longevity of the band, and my generally high respect for the band warrants them some attention and a review, it also helps that one song of theirs really stood out to me as fantastic, “Watching Over Me.”

Perhaps a primary reason I am not madly in love with a decent metal band like Iced Earth is that they fall into the camp of shrieking metal, death metal I believe is the subgenre, and that style has never really spoke to me, I like singing, I like melody, and I like lyrics, and that is probably why a ballad like “Watching Over Me” stood out.

Jon Schaffer
Tragically personal tragedy is an excellent source of creativity, and a lot of the best music ever created was written in inspiration of, or for, a lost loved one, and Iced Earth’s “Watching Over Me” falls perfectly into that description. I am having a difficult time verifying the specific details online, but this song was introduced live as being about Iced Earth’s leader Jon Schaffer deceased friend. From what I can discern the deceased friend was a childhood one, and apparently this friend was somehow involved in the creation of the band name “Iced Earth.” This is the sort of awful thing that happens to artist that can inspire their best work, and while I still have a lot to learn about Iced Earth and Jon Schaffer, the song “Watching Over Me” may be the best work from this creator.

The lyrics are very straight forward laying out exactly what we already know, this song is about a friend who one day tragically died, naturally this is very powerful but it is not necessarily special either. What separates “Watching Over Me” from other sorrowful songs about losing a close friend is the uplifting message of the chorus:

“I feel it once again,
It's overwhelming me.
His spirit's like the wind,
The angel guarding me.
Oh, I know, oh, I know,
He's watching over me.
Oh, I know, oh, I know,
He's watching over me.”

This is very, very, positive turn on what would traditionally be a very depressing song. Although his friend is lost his presence is always there lingering on indefinitely as part of Jon’s music, and if rumor is true that this lost friend, whoever he was, was somehow involved with the creation of Iced Earth as a band, there persist a literal truth to this expressed sentiment. Angels and the afterlife do not actually exist but a unique sort of immortality does exist for us mere humans in the form of remembrance, the beauty of our culture, crafts, arts and of course music, will live forever and the craftsmen and artist who do such fine work will live forever through their said work, and to a lesser degree those who influence such sweet sweeping sounds, they too get to live forever in a unique beautiful sort of way.

Maybe I am a sap and this softer sweeter Iced Earth song spoke to me because of all the feelings and what not, but even if that is so, I think it would be hard to deny that Jon Schaffer has created nothing shy of something stupendous for his friend, and also he has given the best possible message to any of us who have lost a loved one could hope for, part of the person is with you always in memory and will forever strengthen you indefinitely.

Until next month keep on rocking in the free world.

- King of Braves

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