Matt Barlow returns to Iced Earth

Pate is the king of the one liners.
As I said, his answers are "epic"

I know what you mean Lee, and I agree with it to some extent.

Do you ever feel though that Tim was hired in the first place to be a "sure thing" following Matt's departure, who was a HUGE fan favorite?

I think Tim did a damn fine job both in the studio and live.
Though if you have seen them live with Barlow ever, you would know it was a completely different ball game.
Very few modern era metal bands can compare to IE live with Barlow.

It does seem like Jon left Ripper out in the cold, which blows.
I am sure he will do fine.
Owens whether he likes it or not will always be the "one superfan who actually got to front his favorite band"
Hell, a WHOLE movie (ROCKSTAR) was written (loosely of course) about his story.
And I don't think I would be like this if it wasn't right after they released one of their best albums, which is one of my top 2 or 3 favorites of the year.

Sorry bro...
You are VERY alone in this feeling.
The album is sloppy and not put together well.
It just doesn't flow.