F U L L . R E V I E W S


The carousel of characters revolving in and out of Iced Earth's caustic cauldron continues in 2008 with the release of The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 2) as the revered Matt Barlow is back behind the mic; Tim "Ripper" Owens now off to sing for Yngwie Malmsteen (for a short spell I'm sure!). It's a welcome return despite a superb performance on Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part I) by Mr. Owens.

For the uninitiated, this "double" concept album has roots that go way back to the trilogy found at the end of 1998's Something Wicked This Way Comes. The story found there is now fully fleshed out over the scope of 2 albums with 2007 seeing Part 1 released while "Ripper" was still singing with the band, and now Part 2 concludes the tale in 2008. But that's not all diehards, Jon Schaffer has intimated he intends to re-record Part 1 with Matt on vox, and clean up a few minor details in the production/mix of that release, only then to be issued in a "box set" with Parts I & II together. Get out your shillings so you can purchase these albums, again!

Anyway, despite that bit of annoyance, what we have here is an average Iced Earth album and nothing more. I can't believe things turned out as such as I, like most, see Barlow as the rightful vocalist to front this band, but something here is missing, and after many months of listening to this I think I can finally put my finger on it. There just isn't that mean snarl coming out of the mix like in the past. We know Jon can write concept albums, just look to The Dark Saga for a stellar example, but here things feel a bit uninspired, and like I said, there just isn't that viciousness heard from the music (or Matt) that we've heard in the past. Everything is in place here too, which just makes things that much more of an enigma; great crunchy riffs, instantly recognizable as being Jon and his style, epic constructs, majestic movements with lots of shading, Matt's vocals spot on, and a grand mix to boot. "I Walk Alone" and "Harbinger of Hate" are definite live fare, as well as the grandiose climax of "Come What May", yet, despite all this, I'm still liking Part I better, the songs there being more memorable and a bit more dynamic.

This isn't a bad album, all the elements that make up the power metal periodic table are here and in place, but Iced Earth can and has done better. Maybe it's because this was all written before Matt returned, hence he didn't have as large a hand in the shaping of the songs and melodies this time out. Maybe I'm just getting jaded with this genre, or the whole "concept album(s)" idea in general. Whatever the reason, it's a decent release, but here's hoping that Jon and whatever gang he ends up with next time around pares things down and get back to giving us a nasty power metal kick in the pants!
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Days of PurgatoryIced Earth
1997
Frank Hill9/30/2003
DystopiaIced Earth
2011
Greg Watson10/23/2011
Festivals of the WickedIced Earth
2011
Greg Watson8/5/2011
Framing ArmageddonIced Earth
2007
Etiam2/8/2008
Gettysburg DVDIced Earth
2005
Ken Pierce6/9/2005
Live In Ancient KourionIced Earth
2013
Eric Compton5/10/2013
Plagues of BabylonIced Earth
2014
Greg Watson2/21/2014
The Crucible of ManIced Earth
2008
Etiam2/8/2010
The Crucible of ManIced Earth
2008
Raising Iron1/13/2009
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2004
Ken Pierce6/16/2004
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2004
Eric Compton1/21/2004
The Glorious BurdenIced Earth
2003
Anthony Burke12/11/2003
The Reckoning EPIced Earth
2003
Frank Hill11/21/2003


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
The Plagues EPIced Earth
2013
Greg Watson1/6/2014


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ICED EARTH
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Jon SchafferIced EarthGreg Watson2/7/2012
Jon SchafferIced EarthKen Pierce9/14/2005
Stu BlockIced EarthEric Compton, Greg Watson6/22/2017


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ERIC COMPTON PICKS
Barb Wire Dolls
Desperate
Nasty Idols
Boys Town
Arch Enemy
Will to Power
Helstar
This Wicked Nest
Bring Me The Horizon
Sempiternal

GREG WATSON PICKS
DSKNT
PhSPHR Entropy
Animals as Leaders
The Joy of Motion
Nhor
Wildflowers: Summer
Sophicide
Perdition Of The Sublime
Warbringer
Waking Into Nightmares

FRANK HILL PICKS
Volbeat
Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil
Metallica
Death Magnetic
Born of Fire
Heavy Metal Hot Sauce
Armory
The Dawn Of Enlightenment
Madame Torment
Lost Girl in the City

DAVID LOVELESS PICKS
Retrospective
Spectrum Of The Green Morning
The Ruins of Beverast
Rain Upon The Impure
Junius
Eternal Rituals For The Accretion Of Light
Frosthardr
Varg
Wolves in the Throne Room
Black Cascade