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Review: Iced Earth - Horror Show
Iced Earth
Horror Show

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2001
Duration: 56:04
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: September 2, 2001
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.07/5 (81.32%) (91 Votes)

After the excellent "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and the incredible "Alive in Athens", Iced Earth are back with a thematic album about the characters that have haunted our imagination: "Horror Show"! Even before reading the lyrics, I was afraid this was going to be a cheesy theme. Fortunately I was wrong, the lyrics are excellent and well constructed! The album contains 10 songs, one per character, and is more than 55 minutes in length. The only "off-topic" song is Ghost of Freedom, an excellent patriotic ballad somewhat inspired by the movie The Patriot with Mel Gibson.

The album starts off with Wolf, a fast song with double bass drums. I must say that even after many listens, I still can't stomach this song. It is a bit too dense for my taste (especially on the vocal side) and Richard Christy overdoes the bassdrums. Damien is 9 minutes in length but it doesn't seem that long! Excellent mid-tempo beat, very heavy with angelic choirs in the intro and outro. Jack starts on a speedy note and the chorus is excellent.

Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse) has an Egyptian sound to it with an excellent verse and harmonized vocals by Matthew Barlow and a staccato riff by Jon Shaffer. Jeckyl & Hide is a very average song, I can't get into it and the riff has been heard before. Dracula is good, at the beginning with the fretless bass, but the song goes a little too much into Blind Guardian's territory (vocals in the chorus and in the guitar harmonies.)

In my opinion, the best songs on the album are: Damien, Ghost of Freedom, Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse) and my two favorites are the sublime Dragon's Child (very melodic and catchy) and the slow Frankenstein. The album ends with The Phantom Opera Ghost, an epic song of more than 8 minutes where Matthew and a feminine voice supporting each other, a first for Iced Earth.

Steve DiGiorgio's work at the bass is excellent, never an Iced Earth album has been so good for that part. The album sounds great like every Iced Earth album recorded at Morrisound Studios. "Horror Show" contains a lot of atmosphere, often going from a mellow to heavy sound within a same song. I must mention Jon Shaffer's excellent work who keeps on delivering excellent material (including the artwork and booklet) album after album, and that with originality. He's proof that you can evolve within your own style (ahem Metallica!) However, it would probably be a good idea to leave more room to the other musicians. It's a fact that it is his band, but he has excellent musicians and he should take advantage of that.

I bought the version with bonus disc which contains an excellent cover of Transylvania by Iron Maiden and a long interview (nearly 70 minutes) with Jon Shaffer. Overall, a strong album from Iced Earth, one of my best this year.

Track listing:

1. Wolf 05:19
2. Damien 09:11
3. Jack 04:14
4. Ghost Of Freedom 05:11
5. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse) 04:45
6. Jeckyl & Hyde 04:39
7. Dragon's Child 04:21
8. Frankenstein 03:50
9. Dracula 05:53
10. The Phantom Opera Ghost 08:41

Bonus disc: Transylvania 04:29

More about Iced Earth...
Review: Alive In Athens (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Alive In Athens (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: Alive in Athens (reviewed by Sirliftsalot48)
Review: Burnt Offerings (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Dystopia (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Enter the Realm (2019 reissue) (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Framing Armageddon (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Framing Armageddon (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Horror Show (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Horror Show (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Horror Show Tour (St. Paul, MN) (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Horror Show tour (Montreal) (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: Incorruptible (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Night Of The Stormrider (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Overture of the Wicked (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Plagues of Babylon (reviewed by Edward T. Head)
Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Crucible of Man (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Crucible of Man (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Dark Saga (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: The Glorious Burden (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Glorious Burden (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Tribute to the Gods (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Interview with guitarist Jon Schaffer on December 21, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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