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Review: Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes
Iced Earth
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 1998
Duration: 61:53
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: November 10, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.03/5 (80.67%) (89 Votes)

Oh, boy, do I ever have a lot to say about this piece of festering shit. It's not quite as bad as their previous effort, the horrible The Dark Saga, but it certainly isn't anything to waste your time on. I've bitched a lot about Iced Earth before, but that was all about their newer stuff. A lot of people tell you that the new stuff from this band is bad and the old stuff was "better," but in this case, all "better" means is "not quite as shitty."

I really don't know where to start with this. It isn't even all that bad when you look at it from an individual songs perspective. It's got some solid tunes like the thrashy "Disciples of the Lie," the headstrong "Stand Alone" and the ending "Coming Curse" trilogy, which actually shows some progression - a word which Jon Schaffer has long since outgrown. They're nowhere near great songs, but they're fun and solid all around, with the titular track being the best, a 9 minute beast full of riffs and melody alike. However, there is a whole lot of filler here, as most of this album is full of stupid, boring shit like "My Own Savior" and the horrendous "Consequences," as well as the vomit-inducing Christian blowjob song "Melancholy." A lot of the others are as unmemorable as they come, including the opening "Burning Times," which lacks any sort of melodic hook, the instrumental "1776" and the blase "Blessed Are You."

Did I mention the way they set the songs up? We get a heavy song, a ballad, a heavy song, another ballad, then another heavy song, then another ballad...and it just goes on like this until we get to the ending trilogy. Pardon me, but this is an absolutely horrible way to set up your album. Seriously, what were they thinking? It's like they didn't already have a whole album full of direct, boring modern Metal slush, so they decided to take it a step further and make it almost impossible for any functioning human being to enjoy. This album has no momentum whatsoever, as every time you start to get pumped up by good songs like "Stand Alone," here comes the shitty ballad after it to ruin your fun. There's no logical reason as to why any album should be set up like this. Calling it one of the most moronic and boneheaded stunts I've seen in this sort of thing doesn't even begin to do it justice.

At least it all starts to blur together after a while into a geriatric mess of heavy plunking and emotionless grunts. Yes, even the ballads. This album has no longevity whatsoever. This is metal for fucking kindergartners. Add some riffs, subtract the feeling, multiply by the number of times Matt Barlow repeats the chorus. It's the most elementary, basic, bottom-end trash out there. It's just heavy for the sake of being heavy, one of those albums where the only thing you can say about it is "it's a Metal album." Not "it's a good Metal album," or "it's a Metal album with a lot of passion and emotion oozing out of its every pore." Just "it's a Metal album." This album has no special merit or individuality, merely defining itself on the fact that it's got riffs and it can be headbanged to. However, it doesn't help that the riffs here suck, and lack any of the traditional Metal spirit. They just sort of plod on and on with no real stomp or flare to them at all. In fact, I am willing to bet you that if you took away the distortion, pretty much every song here could pass as elevator music to someone who wasn't paying attention. Even the good stuff here can't save the mediocrity, as it's still not as good as what you could potentially be listening to instead.

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