Right off the bat, I'll start this review by making a bold statement: "'Burnt Offerings"' is nothing more than a diluted poorly mimicked duplicate of METALLICA's "Master Of Puppets".
Before the tomatoes start falling from the white skies, I will illustrate my comparison and justify my affirmation.
If you take a look at the format of the album, you will quickly notice that the record has 8 tracks and plays for around 53 minutes. Whether this was intentional or purely coincidental, only ICED EARTH knows, but "Master Of Puppets" has the exact same numbers. Ok, perhaps it's a bit unfair to judge a book by it's cover, so let us dig deep inside it's content, then!
From beginning to end, the album transpires with a certain familiarity. The guitars seem to have a tone very similar to the ones found on METALLICA's masterpiece. The riffs used by Schaffer are fast and well-executed, much like a machine relentlessly and repeatedly hammering the strings. You get the standard palm-muting at several times as well. Now all this could be found on just about any regular Metal-release, but some of those riffs seem to be TAKEN RIGHT OUT OF METALLICA'S REPERTORY. It's not just a comparison, it's a fact! The vocals are usually clean and whiny, like Hetfield's teenage voice.
End of association.
If you forget what I just said, what you'll find in "Burnt Offerings" is pretty much standard stuff. Heavy Metal with nothing new to offer to the genre. Still, the record is very professional and has a few good moments, but more often than not, the vocals spoil the whole experience. The fake orchestral segments annoy me as Hell! The pianos on "Pierced Spirit" are a nice touch, though and I do enjoy the double-bass-parts found in most songs. Rodney Beasley [drums] manages to keep this thing going by adding a little spice with the aggressive drumming, but what's the use? This album is doomed from the very first few seconds.
A crappy tribute to METALLICA or a regular album bearing dangerously close resemblance to an one of the best records of all time? The choice is yours. Either way, what you get is the same: nothing spectacular, nothing new, nothing that will keep you playing the CD.