Iced Earth is an American heavy metal band that combine influences from thrash metal, power metal, progressive metal, opera, speed metal and NWOBHM. In 1999 their leader and songwriter Jon Schaffer teamed up with Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch to form a side project called Demons & Wizards. It is considered to be one of the most unstable bands, besides King Crimson, due to an extremely volatile lineup, albiet in a similar fashon to Megadeth as it has one fixed figure (Jon Schaffer) who handles nearly all of the songwriting and leads the band and it's direction.
Iced Earth's music is often described as Iron Maiden combined with 1980s thrash metal. The most distinctive element of the band's sound is the stuttering right-hand gallop of rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer, which sounds something like the 'eighth-note, two-sixteenth-notes' gallop made famous by Iron Maiden's bass player/songwriter Steve Harris, sped up tremendously and varied rhythmically. Strong melodic hooks are typically laid over the top of this gallop, sometimes doubled by two guitars playing in harmony. During Barlow's period in the band, the vocals were often low-pitched but with occasional high-pitched screams, however after Owens joined the band the emphasis shifted to the higher-pitched spectrum. A common element of the band's sound is the frequent usage of double-bass-drumming. Iced Earth's drum work is often highlighted by frequent use of drags and flams on the bass drum, usually intended to complement Schaffer's rhythm guitar.