Iced Earth - _Dark Saga_
(Century Media, 1996)
by: Adrian Bromley (7 out of 10)
From the depths of hell and the gutters of the big city comes the tales of comic book hero/anti-hero Spawn as told by melodic thrash metal outfit Iced Earth. Tampa Bay, Florida's well-known progressive thrashers return with a cool concept album that deals with the story-lines, characters and life of the Spawn comic series (a comic that sells more than half a million copies every issue). A dark tragedy, the album pursues the rather dark and vile side of Spawn for the most part, but there are glimpses of life, love and understanding with somewhat of a dark overtone in the lyrics and music. Following in the footsteps of progressive metallers Queensryche and Savatage, Iced Earth's latest can be easily seen as a carbon copy of the works of those two bands, but with heavier riffs, screams and determination to maintain a heaviness for the majority of the album, Iced Earth steps away from the aforementioned band's set musical styles - though _DS_ is not as heavy as their past efforts, _Night Of The Stormrider_ and _Burnt Offerings_. Some great ideas and visions flow from such cuts as "Violate," "The Last Laugh," "Scarred" and the opening number/title track. A cool concept record that manages to keep the listener going from start to finish.

(article published 12/8/1996)

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