ICED EARTH — Something Wicked This Way Comes (review)

ICED EARTH — Something Wicked This Way Comes album cover Album · 1998 · US Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
martindavey87
After two of power metals finest works, 1990's 'Iced Earth' and it's follow-up, 'Night of the Stormrider', the quality of Iced Earth's work dropped substantially. Two studio albums and a compilation of re-recorded songs followed, none of which impressed me, and I wasn't so sure if vocalist Matt Barlow was deserving of all the praise that was being heaped upon him. I'd all but given up on Iced Earth, until 1998's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' finally put the band back on track.

Maintaining all the qualities of the bands earlier albums, but with a more slick, accessible and mainstream sound, 'Something Wicked...' is a pumping, high-energy album that highlights all of the bands strengths, and none of their weaknesses. With a wide variety of heavy and softer songs, everything here is consistently well-crafted. The guitar riffs are intense and full of energy, while the ballads are hauntingly beautiful and passionate. There's plenty of tasty guitar solos and harmonies, and the very slight change of direction in the band's sound actually does wonders for Matt Barlow's voice, who truly shines on this album and has finally clicked into place.

The production is also spot on. While early albums had a gritty feel to it that suited the music perfectly, the last few releases, and in particular, 'Days of Purgatory', sounded overproduced. The fast guitar picking sounded muddy, and wasn't as tight as it should have been. But here, everything is perfect! The guitars have a big sound, while still accentuating the accuracy of the playing. And with a thumping bass and a pounding drum, this is probably the best Iced Earth have ever sounded.

With hits such as 'Burning Times', 'Watching Over Me', 'Stand Alone', 'Melancholy', 'Disciples of the Lie', 'Consequences', '1776', 'Blessed Are You' and the awesome 'Something Wicked Trilogy' (so basically, every song), this is easily one of the bands best albums, with every track flowing effortlessly into the next. 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' is a heavyweight album that firmly establishes Iced Earth as heavyweights of the genre.
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