Iced Earth

Iced Earth

Iced Earth

The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 2)

SPV/Steamhammer

If you’ve ever wondered why modern metal always has to have a guy growling at you, you really need to pick up Iced Earth’s The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 2). Iced Earth play something called “power metal,” which to a layman’s ears sounds like a mixture of the best aspects of ’80s Bay Area thrash and England’s new wave of heavy metal. In Iced Earth’s case at least, after taking the best parts of metal, the songs are used for huge, epic themes. 2004’s In Glorious Battle, which dealt with military history and 2001’s Monster Show,, an exploration of the awesomeness of classic monsters, are well worth picking up.

This year’s The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 2) is the end of a double album cycle begun with 2007’s Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1), which apparently deals with an alien who is another culture’s savior and the Earth’s Anti-Christ.

Would it be necessary to hear the first album before this one? Probably not. In fact, even a bare bones reviewer’s CD with no liner notes or lyric sheet is no hindrance to enjoying Crucible of Man, as the songs stand alone nicely. And really, other than the bare bones outline, how much of the story behind Tommy or Zen Arcade do you really know, anyway?

Each song on Crucible, sounds like a mini-epic. Songs like “Harbinger of Fate” or “Divide and Devour” chug along in the tradition of the best ’80s metal until they reach soaring choruses with strange, almost Middle Eastern touches. Just when the listener is thinking, “Man, that chorus makes me want to scale mountains or fight Vikings,” the spooky Latin choir kicks in and launches the songs even further into epic territory.

For anyone remotely interested in metal, but never got the whole growly vocals thing, Iced Earth is exactly what you need.

SPV Records USA: www.myspace.com/spvusa

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