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Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon, Something Wicked Part 1

Label: SPV USA
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


In 1998, Iced Earth released the album "Something Wicked This Way Comes" where the final twenty minutes featured the "Something Wicked Trilogy", a three part overview of a story written and envisioned by mainman guitarist John Schaffer.

 

Now after almost ten years John has continued and completed that story with the first part told here for "Framing Armageddon".

Joined by Tim Owens on vocals (who came on board for the album “The Glorious Burden”), John has written a full concept album expanding on the original story as well as the music to make for a complete listening experience. Tim’s voice compliments John Schaffer’s writing style and follows the melody lines very well. Tim may not have what some fans still want, that brutting low end tone like Mat Barlow (former vocalist) had, but Tim is excellent in his own right and fits well in the music. He evokes emotion and power in his own special way as well so give this a chance.

All the classic Iced Earth elements are in place and featured throughout the album like galloping rhythms (ex; 'Setian Massacre' and the charging 'Ten Thousand Strong'), soaring melodic chorus’, and duelling guitar harmonies, yet John brings the listener into the story not only through music, but with words. Various worldly organic instruments including strings, piano, Indian based woodwinds, and percussive beats can be heard for the interludes and intros, with occasional sound effects. And all of this is not presented too grand or bombastic, its done just enough giving "Framing Armageddon" that feel of being a concept without being overdone or over orchestrated.

Musically we all know John while has a very noticeable style, but here has composed outside of his own box offering much more variety in structure than before in Iced Earth’s history, for example 'The Domino Decree' uses some deep organs widening Iced Earth’s soundscape. 'The Clouding' is a semi ballad, makes a heavier change later in the track, and has an excellent chorus/melody line. Like I said at times before John has become somewhat redundant musically but not today. With "Framing Armageddon", Schaffer is more daring giving the fans what they want from Iced Earth while challenging the critics ear a bit. He even goes in a more progressive direction for 'Infiltrate and Assimilate' and 'When Stars Collide'.

"Framing Armageddon" is an excellent follow up to "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and I look forward to the next chapter.

 
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