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Review: Iced Earth - The Crucible of Man
Iced Earth
The Crucible of Man

Label: SPV
Year released: 2008
Duration: 59:09
Tracks: 15
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: October 19, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.13/5 (62.63%) (38 Votes)

Iced Earth suck at writing riffs. They suck at a lot of things, but they're really, phenomenally awful at writing riffs. In fact, Jon Schaffer is one of the worst Heavy Metal guitarists I've ever heard. Being a Heavy Metal band, you would think that writing riffs would be one of their higher priorities, but no, it isn't. This band has been churning out uninspired drivel for the better part of the last decade, and the only thing that has changed here is John Schaffer's asinine and pointless bumping off of Tim Owens, pandering to his fans' moronic desire for MATT BARLOW OMG. Seriously, did you all really think having him back would change the stolid, stale songwriting of this lifeless shell of a band, magically revitalizing their riff-writing power and turning them into some sort of force to be reckoned with?

Whatever you may have thought, the fact of the matter is that Matt Barlow's return has changed nothing. Why not just keep Tim Owens on board and finish the goddamned concept you started, Schaffer? Is it that hard to keep continuity? Are you really that detached from reality? I mean, what the fuck is the logic in that? It's like if they just randomly decided to make Jim Carrey Batman in the next Christopher Nolan movie. Or if they decided to have Spider-Man as a black man in the next sequel of that series (which would not really surprise me, on second thought). What kind of sensible, logical story with an actual plot could possibly flow well with a change in direction like this? And did you know that Schaffer let Owens off through eMail? He didn't even have the balls to tell him to his face! What a douchebag. I'm sure the story of The Crucible of Man sucks ass anyway, though. Nothing of value was lost here. Except a chunk of brain cells on my part.

As for the music itself, what can you really say about these guys that hasn't been said before? They write some decent epic parts for a little bit, but overall they tend to drag their compositions out longer than they need to be, and Barlow, while he sounds good, unfortunately does not sing anything worth listening to, due to insipid vocal lines and contrived melodies. The songs here don't even end on good notes, they just sort of...stop. No buildup or fading out or anything. They just plod on with one or two blase Metal-lite riffs and then just...stop. Right there. There are no epics like "The Clouding" here (oh, alright, "Come What May" is decent enough), nor are there any full out Painkiller moments like on the last album, either, just a lot of bland dreck. This is just mediocre all around, with too much unbearable vocal layering on the chorii as the band imitate Blind Guardian some more, too many songs that seem to last forever, and too little aggression, emotion, memorability, energy or anything that you could cite as a positive aspect of any good Metal album. Why would people listen to this when they could be listening to music with drive, with power, with feeling? What's the point in Iced Earth? Someone should tell me, because I sure as fuck don't know.

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