Iced Earth - Enter the Realm. 1989 USA
CD reissue: 2008 Century Media (as part of Enter the Realm of the Gods 2 CD mini-LP)
Enter the Realm is Iced Earth's debut EP demo cassette, originally recorded in January 1988 but not released until a full year later. Vocalist Gene Adams has been called out as a "no talent" by band leader Jon Schaffer himself, but I personally appreciate his "real people" approach that very much fits in with the aesthetic of the late 1980s. Had Iced Earth not hit the big time, no one would have noticed anyway, and this recording would be a cult classic sought after by many. Most of this album found its way onto the debut full album, in slightly revised form. 'Enter the Realm' and 'Nightmares' did not reappear until the Matthew Barlow re-recordings on Days of Purgatory. Overall this EP is a really fine early prog/thrash/power metal album.
The CD also contains the full album Tribute to the Gods, which is exactly that - a tribute album. It's pretty gimmicky and not worth more than one spin IMO. But the CD is good value considering it includes the original EP and is packaged in a fine mini-LP. There are a couple of earlier comp releases that feature the EP as well. The cassette itself is very rare.