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Review: Iced Earth - Overture of the Wicked
Iced Earth
Overture of the Wicked

Label: SPV
Year released: 2007
Duration: 22:25
Tracks: 4
Genre: Power/Thrash

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: July 15, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Overture of the Wicked

Rated 3.85/5 (76.92%) (13 Votes)

For a band that have taken an overly extensive holiday, US power metal merchants Iced Earth have returned in blistering fashion from the unforgiving disaster "The Glorious Burden" back in 2004. Yup, it's a lot of years, and the decision metal guru Jon Shaffer has made to return to the band's most successful album is unsurprising, but perhaps the most prudent move the band could have made.

I'll get the good things out of the way first. "Ten Thousand Strong", the single track from the forthcoming "Framing Armageddon" album due in September, is a mighty homecoming. Complete with smashing double kicks, monstrous howls and a riff sharper than a razor's edge, "Ten Thousand Strong" is reminiscent of tracks like "Jack" and even "Violate" from previous recordings, detailing Shaffer's still amazing ability to write heavy, yet melodic, catchy metal songs. In truth, this song is a testament to the fabulous song writing of the aforementioned guitarist, with Tim "Ripper" Owens really blowing the lid off the jar with his screechy vibrato and mammoth unrestraint. Unfortunately, the production still lags behind, and as a result, sounds as hollow and apathetic as "The Glorious Burden". The quality of the song however, outshines this hindrance.

The problem with this teaser EP is the following: to tie in with the concept piece, the band have decided to re-record the trilogy of songs that first introduced our characters on the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" album. Now, if they had done a good job of it, we'd be looking at an extremely exciting release here. But instead, the band have shifted the suite into a different key, and somehow made the whole damn thing sound fluffier than a rabbit's backside. The entire atmosphere has been stripped away along with its crushing intensity and overwhelming menace. Ripper does a decent job on vocals but no matter how good this guy is, his delivery cannot replace the genuine evil of Matthew Barlow.

Maybe not the best thing for Iced Earth to do right now, but if "Framing Armageddon" and its follow up "Revelation Abomination" sound anything like "Ten Thousand Strong", I will be a very happy man indeed.

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