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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Iced Earth

The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Part II)

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is part two of the “Something Wicked” series. It’s a good disc that finds the band without Tim “Ripper” Owens. The music on the CD for the most part is blistering metal, but they change it up with more thoughtful sounds here and there and also some symphonic elements. While this disc is good there is a certain sameness here that tends to wear on the listener a bit as the album draws further and further in. It’s definitely a strong disc, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
In Sacred Flames
Dark and dramatic, symphonic textures combine with metal and chorale vocals to produce something a bit like Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets soundtrack music.
Behold the Wicked Child
This fires out frantic and furious. It’s a real metal screamer, but still includes some of more symphonic elements. There is some killer dramatic music later in the piece. We also get some very tasty guitar work on this.
Minions of the Watch
With a more galloping musical style, this feels musically a bit like Iron Maiden or Helloween. It’s a smoking cut and more purely metal than the ones that have come before.
The Revealing
This comes in straight out of the last piece. It’s another killer metal jam. The thrashy section late calls to mind Ride the Lightning era Metallica.
A Gift or A Curse?
While the balladic musical motif that starts this is a bit too generic and mainstream, the vocals elevate it. As the arrangement is built upon the track is also made stronger. The heavier section later has some vocals that seem almost like a near death growl combined with opera.
Crown of the Fallen
More pure metal tones make up this cut. At times the vocal arrangement reminds me a bit of Kiss and I can even hear a few lines of vocals that make me think of Paul Stanley. A tasty guitar solo links this straight into the next piece.
The Dimension Gauntlet
This comes out of the last one and begins with a more technical epic metal sound. It’s another powerhouse stomper. There is some unique (and quite cool) vocal work on this.
I Walk Alone
They aren’t breaking any molds here. What we get is just more tasty metal in the Iced Earth vein. Once more there are some tasty dramatic, nearly theatric, vocal parts. There are some dramatic, more powerful passages of music in this, too.
Harbinger of Fate

A cool balladic motif brings this in, feeling rather like Rage For Order era Queensryche. They fire this out later to powered out metal. Again the vocal arrangement makes me think of Kiss, but the music is definitely heavier (unless you think of Lick It Up era). There’s a dramatic vocal section later and a smoking guitar solo.

Crucify The King

This one alternates between a chugging riff and a more textured segment with a held chord serving as the basis for that second part. It’s a heavy and tasty track that moves into thrash territory at times.

Sacrificial Kingdoms

More pounding, frantic metal makes up this number. This thing gets extremely powerful towards the end. This extended soaring section is one of the coolest passages on the disc.

Something Wicked (Part 3)

There’s no real new territory covered here musically. Rather we get another tasty slab of similar sounds to what we’ve gotten through most of the rest of the disc.

Divide Devour

A thrashier texture makes up the intro and a few other segments of the track. Other than that this is nothing new or all that different. The formula is starting to wear a bit thin.

Come What May

This has a more mainstream texture. While that might make this less potent in terms of musical content, the change that it presents makes it stronger. There are some cool moments on this, too.

Epilogue

With a heavy reliance on percussion, this is a moody and dramatic instrumental that has a strong classical nature. It’s pretty and makes for a satisfying conclusion to the disc.

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