Iced Earth guitar mastermind Jon Shaffer was asked on SiriusXM on why he thinks his band never managed to reach the “next level” and become one of the all-time greats of metal, to which he replied:
“I think if you go back to just the very raw beginnings and the brutal beginnings of the band, with the type of contractual obligation that we were under, it’s a miracle that I even kept it going, to be quite honest with you.
“It was brutal, really complete slavery. Those early years of turmoil definitely, I’m sure, affected that to a degree.
“Also, I do believe it’s timing. I think if the band would have been out, maybe, eight years before we were – 10 years – we would have been part of the scene.
“When our first album [‘Iced Earth’] came out in 1990, you got to remember, that was the big death metal era of Tampa, down there. In the indie world, that’s what all the labels were signing.
“It’s kind of weird that a melodic metal band, whatever you want to call us: speed, thrash, power, I’ve heard it all, we’re just metal. That’s what we are. When you get into that part of the history of the band, it’s a struggle. It’s always been a struggle.
“I just feel like it’s a combination of all those things, but I don’t regret any of it because we had a hell of an impact. We have a very, very loyal following. And big. It’s a big following.
“I didn’t know what to expect when we went to China. I was like ‘What’s this going to be like?’ But it was actually really cool. It certainly isn’t over yet. We have a lot more to say and to do. And we’ll see where it goes, but I’m happy with the success we have.
“There’s a lot of bands who would give their left nut to be able to do what we’ve done.”