Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes review
|Album:||Something Wicked This Way Comes|
|Release date:||July 1998|
01. Burning Times
02. Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
03. Disciples Of The Lie
04. Watching Over Me
05. Stand Alone
07. My Own Savior
08. Reaping Stone
10. Blessed Are You
12. Birth Of The Wicked
13. The Coming Curse
14. Shooting Star [Bad Company cover][re-issue bonus]
15. Electric Funeral [Black Sabbath cover][re-issue bonus]
16. The Ripper [Judas Priest cover][re-issue bonus]
The biography of the American band Iced Earth suffered from too may line-up changes over the years, so, basically the only original member, founder and leader Jon Schaffer IS Iced Earth. Ok, that was the line-up! No just kidding, well Matt Barlow was still there with his master voice, Larry Tarnowski was around to handle the lead guitar parts and James McDonough was the current bass player. Concerning the drummer, Brent Smedley, he is on the picture of the band in the booklet [at least in the US version] but I'm almost sure that he didn't played on that album as Mark Prator did. Smedley would be the drummer on the Alive in Athens CD but that's another story. So what was I saying? Yes, complicated lineup, especially if you add that their producer Jim Morris played some guitar parts and that since, Tarnowski has been fired, Barlow quit the band for personal reasons, I have no idea what happened to Brent Smedley but despite his amazing performance on stage, he's not anymore part of Iced Earth and finally James McDonough is still the official bass player [I think] but Iced Earth released two albums without his services... Nevertheless, the core of the band at that time, meaning the trio Schaffer-Barlow-Tarnowski worked perfectly as we will discuss later.
In fact, "later" is now. Who had never listen to the introducing 'Burning Times' without thinking 'WHAOUW'?? You're almost obliged to fall in love with that song. And if only, that was the only one! But no, that addictive album is growing in you like an insane thought and it will never let you alone [seriously!]. 'Melancholy [Holy Martyr]' was the single if I remember correctly - you've probably have NOT seen it on MTV - , a sad ballad whose qualities are only lowered by the autobiographic 'Watching Over Me' [written by Jon Schaffer for his best friend who died]. Between these two terrific pieces of emotion, 'Disciples Of The Lie' sounds like an exploding nuclear power plant but the same huge level of musicianship is still discernable throughout the harsh lines of the structure of that song.
With 'Stand Alone', Something Wicked This Way Comes gets even better [yes, it's possible] due to the hypnotic rhythm and the aggressive background vocals. While solos are not usually the main attract in Iced Earth's music, the lead guitar parts played in that song are simply mind-blowing
The follower 'Consequences' is my favorite track for a simple reason: it sums the whole album up. Acoustic guitar turning into thrashy riffs, clean vocals turning into screams and always that catchy melody from beginning to end. There's a word to describe that, and that word is "perfection".
As you've probably noticed, the entire album is based on the concept: brutal song / relatively calm song. So logically, 'My Own Saviour' is a come-back to aggression [and it does it well] while 'Reaping Stone' is a slow tempo track [but only the beginning... watch out after 2:15 minutes!]. However, 'Reaping Stone' has not enough personality to be counted among the best songs on the album, and seeing that all the others are incredible, well, that's the less interesting track.
The instrumental '1776' includes a splendid duo flute-guitars and is pure joy for the ears. Nothing bad to say about it. Plus it introduces the quiet beginning of the following song 'Blessed Are You' as well as it could be done. Now, that one is amazing. The idea of laying down the chorus on a mid-tempo rhythm while the whole song is slower shows the genius in Jon Schaffer's composition. Truly one of the highlights on Something Wicked This Way Comes.
After so many exceptional songs, the final touch to the masterpiece is brought by a trilogy called "Something Wicked" consisting of 'Prophecy', 'Birth Of The Wicked' and the closer 'The Coming Curse'. Each one of these songs is worth any of the previous highlights and all of them combined, they are the best piece of music that Iced Earth ever played.
The other aspects of Something Wicked This Way Comes: a perfect sound [great work from the Morrisound Studios], a great concept [the upcoming apocalypse brought by one man], splendid lyrics and a gorgeous cover art.
In their long succession of tremendous albums, 1998's Something Wicked This Way Comes seems to appear as the most important release of Iced Earth. And despite the ever changing line-up, this album has all you need... A must have!!!
Written on 18.09.2003 by
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