Well second review lets hope I don’t fall into the “sophomore slump"
Iced earth is a metal giant that comes out of Florida. Combining 80’s thrash metal with power metal, while drawing influences from bands like Iron Maiden they have come with a sound that is unique and powerful. With constant line up changes Iced Earth (then called Purgatory) struggled through their early years, but also proving themselves on the Florida tour circuit throughout the 80’s. in 88 they came out with there demo Enter the Realm
which was an underground success. Then in 92’ they came out with Night of the Stormrider
which is one of my personal favorites but it fell on deaf ears at the time. On that album the singer was John Greely, who, at the disappointment of Night of the Stormrider
left the band. This turned out to be a blessing for the band that then brought in Matt Barlow one of the best metal vocalists of are time in my opinion.
With Barlow and Schaffer at the helm Iced earth recorded classics such as Burnt Offerings, Dark Saga, and Something Wicked Comes this Way.
In 2001 the band recorded Horror Show
which coincidently was the first Iced earth album I bought.
is the song that kicks off this album. With a spooky intro that sets the mood of the entire album, it features some of the fasts double bass drum you’ll hear while the guitars keep chugging along with it. This is a song that Barlow really shows of his talent hitting everything from high piercing notes to medium ranged, melodic, entrancing notes. All in all a very solid opener.
Ghost of Freedom
is the Ballad of the album. It follows the very heavy and strong Jack
and is a nice break from the from the previous songs. It is mostly acoustic guitar, Barlow, and drumming. It sings about a man who has lost his father in a war and can feel his presence now that he is fighting for freedom. About half way through the song there is a very well done and emotional solo from Schaffer, and at around 4 minutes all the electrics come in with choirs and it, for me, was breath taking.
Another song for notice is the Iron Maiden cover, Transylvania
. To tell you the truth I actually like this version of the song better then Maiden’s, but only for the better Production quality. Frankenstein
starts off with a very heavy opening riff. That same heaviness is consistent throughout the whole song. Once again Barlow is showing us what he can do only on the other side of the spectrum. With low rhythmic verses Barlow tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his pursuit to know the meaning of life.
Normally I would call this the “bad" section but sense it is right in the middle of the CD I’ll name it the “lull". Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh’s Curse)
is a song that has an Egyptian feel throughout the whole song. The problem with this song is that it never gets going, and just seems to drone on and on. There is however an excellent solo in the song which is a shame because you have to listen to all the mediocre to get to it. Jeckyll & Hyde
suffers from the repetitive bug. The opening riff keeps popping up through the entire song which wouldn’t be bad if it was a good part, but its not, its just overly simple and not up to Iced Earth standards. I did find the Chorus enjoyable though.
Now here comes the lowest point of the album. Dragon’s Child
. average average average. Average guitars average singing average drumming. That’s all I can say about this song, its not that its bad its just not good. I’m sure if this was some other band or some other album this could be a highlight. Unfortunately this is Iced Earth and this is Horror Show
and average songs just do not belong.
The last two songs on this album deserve a section of there own. Dracula
starts of slow and melodic like a lullaby. The beginning is so full of sadness and emotion that it is just begging to be played over and over again. While this is lulling you into a false sense of security BAM
it hits you. Barlow’s voice turns from sad and emotional to angry and defiant. This song is full of speed and power, and if you doubt that Iced Earth should be in the Power Metal section this is the song that will change your mind. My only beef with this song is that it ends too early.
Ah finally here we come to the grand finaley. The Phantom Opera Ghost
features a female vocalist performing the part of Christy, while Barlow playing the part of Eric, the Phantom. Medieval sounding guitars set the stage for this epic song, until the drums/elctircs come in. Christy and Eric battle back and forth verse for verse, all this with the organs playing in the background. In the middle of the song there is a very creepy breakdown that I would not recommend listening to in the dark. Through the whole song they are telling the story of the phantom of the opera, which in my mind, is much better then forking up the money to go see a play. It also saves time.
-The Phantom Opera Ghost
just to let everyone know I know that I left out Damien but that’s because I didn’t think it was good enough to be put in the “good" section but wasn’t bad enough to be put in the “bad" section.
Alright second one down please tell me how I did.