|Review: Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: August 29, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.54/5 (70.86%) (35 Votes)
Here comes the new Iced Earth album. This is part one of a projected two-part album, of which part two should be out next year. I'm generally kind of skeptical of double albums, as I find that most of the time they don't need to be as long as they are. In fact, I can't think of one double album that could not have been cut down to a single disc and been better for it.
Framing Armageddon is the first half of the "Something Wicked" storyline, which is based off the closing 'trilogy' off the Something Wicked This Way Comes album - got all that? This is supposed to be the story of the Eddie-lookalike Iced Earth mascot-dude, but frankly, I don't really care about the storyline, as I can tell from just a casual perusal that it is pretty derivative and dull. So the question is: is this any good at all?
Well, this is an Iced Earth album, so if you have heard one, you have pretty much heard them all. This is a bit better than the usual, as they have almost entirely avoided any of Jon Schaeffer's crappy ballads, and kept the metal front and center. There are some very good songs on here, like "Setian Massacre" and "Execution", and there are no songs that really stick out as lousy. But nineteen tracks is just too long, even considering that about three of them are interludes and not songs at all, there are still like sixteen songs on here, which is too many. Tim Owens has obviously given the band a shot in the arm, and he is a far superior singer to old croaker Matt Barlow, but even Ripper's energy can't keep the album's momentum for this long.
So again, we have an ambitious Iced Earth album that reaches for greatness but can't really get there. Iced Earth fans will eat this up, and even those who have never cared for them should be impressed, as this is a harder, faster, heavier album than they have ever done. But I can't help wishing Schaeffer could leave his pretensions at the door and just write solid metal albums, rather than trying to create great art. This is a more visceral and intense album than The Glorious Burden, but it's not quite a masterwork.
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