I agree with you, but the problem for me was that Ripper couldn't exactly pull it off, at least not the old stuff. What he did on The Glorious Burden and Framing Armageddon was good, but when I saw IE in 2004, hearing Ripper sing songs like Burning Times, Dracula and Violate did absolutely nothing for me, especially Dracula. There's a lot of emotion in Matt's voice during the intro for Dracula and in my opinion, emotion is what Ripper lacks the most. He sounds like some crazy falsetto robot. The guy can scream like hell, which is great, but him singing the lower register stuff in IE wasn't very good. It just didn't suit him.
I don't really participate in the Barlow/Ripper wars to be honest. The last post was just me disagreeing that Ripper sings 'Iced Earth' better than Matt. I mean, I greatly prefer Barlow, but I still listened to IE when Ripper was in the fold. However, the conclusion that I have come to is that the Ripper fanboys are much worse than the Barlow fanboys. Check out the comments in any IE-related post on Blabbermouth and you'll see what I mean. There are such great gems as "Iced Earth isn't shit without Ripper!!" It's great stuff. Thought provoking even. Riveting.