MAIDEN's "Number Of The Beast", METALLICA's "Master Of Puppets", SLAYER's "Reign In Blood"… then add "Something Wicked This Way Comes" to this list and you have pretty much got some of the defining albums in the history of Metal. Of course the fans of ICED EARTH already know that Schaffer and Co. are something special in the world of Heavy Metal and just why some Metal-fans are wholly ignorant of their recorded output is a mystery and disgrace.
If you want a brutal, heavy slab of technical Power Metal then this is the album for you. If you are looking for complex arrangements, orchestrated passages, emotional interludes, huge choruses and just plain good old fashion Heavy Metal then you really own this CD. Make no bones about it, ICED EARTH pen some awesome tunes.
There is a song-writing quality within this band that outshines most other players in the Metal-world. By miles and miles. From the thunderous opener "Burning Times" onto the emotional "Watching Over Me" to perhaps the bands finest hour: the three part "Something Wicked Trilogy". Every area of Metal is covered and re-covered in that unique ICED EARTH-sound. And let me tell you the guitars are loud and fierce. The riff-playing of Schaffer is precise and technically faultless. Matt Barlow's vocals are superb. A mixture of raw talent clipped with a soulful edge that fit in with the band's sound so well.
Really with so many HELLOWEEN-cloned Power Metal-bands out there, ICED EARTH along with BLIND GUARDIAN carry the hopes of Metal into the new century.