Music is a matter of opinion and the reviews so far regarding this CD are pretty varied. For me, Iced Earth peaked some years ago when Something Wicked This Way Comes was released. Since then each release (other than Framing Armaggedon which I can’t get into) was good but I would rather listen to the Dark Saga or Something Wicked than Horror Show or the Glorious Burden (which did take me a while to get into).
So now we here in 2008 and Iced Earth comes full circle with Matt Barlow back as lead vocalist. Ahead or behind? Looking forward or looking back? Well that is where the opinion is varied but why does it matter – this is who Iced Earth is today and one thing we know from the history of this band is that this may not be who Iced Earth is tomorrow!
For me Crucible of Man is a huge step forward from Framing Armaggedon where other than Ten Thousand Strong I could not really get into the CD. For me it is also welcome return to the voice that hooked me onto Iced Earth in the first place. Crucible of Man is extremely solid from start to finish has a number of really good songs I Walk Alone, Crucify the King, Divide Devour and Come What May just to name a few.
Opinion will vary from mine and I respect that but who cares if some stuff sounds like Blind Guardian (did not see that myself) or whoever you want to compare it to or the songs are too short (hey the CD clocks in at 59 minutes plus so you are not getting ripped off). This is a great metal CD that is getting over analyzed by fans (hey I did it too) that have spent way too much time carrying on the Tim vs Matt thing for 5 years now. Just enjoy and listen and try not to spend time comparing the two singers as they are different.