Iced Earth, what can be said about this band. One of the most creative metal bands out there and they are finally being recognized for nearly two decades of amazing storying telling and musical craftsmanship. After a year of waiting Iced Earth finally relased the conclusion of the Something Wicked tale with ‘The Crucible of Man’. After listening to it there is much to be said.
First off the biggest treat for me was the fact that two of Iced Earth prime line-up returned. Brent Smedly and of course the true voice of Iced Earth Matt Barrlow! Yes I did feel a little upset that Tim Owens couldn’t finish the project after a supurb job on ‘Framing Armageddon’. Eventhough I love Matt Barrlow and I love the atmosphere he brought to this band in past releases. I was just a bit scared that the whole story musically was going to change. I loved the passion and emotion that ‘Framing Armageddon’ had and how the telling of the story allowed Tim Owens to climb new heights in his vocal talent, I was afraid I wouldn’t get that with Matt Barrlows return. I did, I had never heard Matts voice used to such scales with amazing new directions, John Schaffer kept the atmosphere alive and when I listen to the story as a whole it kind of made sense to make the switch because in this new album the story is being told by an entirley new character who was not brought into the story until the very last track on the previous record. The second thing I noticed was this album was more musically driven. There are only 15 tracks as opposed to 19 tracks. This chapter of the story is alot less visual because there is alot more happening in the very begining. Now the pieces have been put in place and the whole purpose of the story is now in full force that character is Set and it is about this character knowing his mission and watching his prey as they live out their lives. The songs grip you with much detail and emotions of this unfortunate creature who had to carry this burden through time and he is willing to throw it all away because he sees redemption in the human race. You don’t need breaks in the song with sound effects to shape this part of the story and again another great accomplishment by Iced Earth. Finally this is not the best album Iced Earth has ever released though it is no where near so so or terrible.
I have seen the reviews that some people have posted on this site about the new Iced Earth release. I feel that people always expect too much from any band. John Schaffer finally did what he wanted to do for so long and that was to tell a story that he wrote…HIS WAY! He is such an admerable person because he is driven by his passion projects and doesn’t care about money or fame. Being noticed however is something he does want and I don’t blame because he is a true artist and those are so hard to come by in music today. I feel this project has brough his band one step closer to his goals because they are now touring more are getting bigger stages. With Barllow back who knows how much further they can go? Perhaps if things keep moving forward more familiar faces will return and that will only give Iced Earth more incentive to do what we fans love most about them… Bring us more heavy metal!!!