Iced Earth - _Framing Armageddon - Something Wicked Part 1_
(SPV, 2007)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (6 out of 10)
For many years now, Jon Schaffer has been promising fans his "masterpiece". You can be excused for wondering where the hell it is. _Framing Armageddon_ is the first of the two part album releases under the "Something Wicked" moniker, which is in itself a continuation and expansion of the last three songs of their _Something Wicked This Way Comes_ album. What this means is that you get a concept album that deals with the invasion of earth by aliens, which only means that Schaffer is allowed the inclusion of several awful connecting -- or "story line" -- short tracks that offer nothing and hinder the listening of the album.

The story and concept are inane, and I only mention it because Devin Townsend recently proved that a skilful artist can make the best even out of silly material and produce an outstanding album concept (_Ziltoid the Omniscient_). Back to Iced Earth, this album suffers terribly from the "been-there-done-that" malady. There is nothing here that has not been done a lot better in previous albums of theirs. There are some oriental sounds added here and there, but that's about it. At least we do not get any (well, almost) of those corny ballads that littered the last few albums.

There are a few interesting tracks, especially "The Domino Decree", which has plenty of organ touches, a good guitar theme and excellent vocal lines from Owens. Talking about Owens, to these ears he is the only saving grace of the album. He has gotten better and has adjusted to Iced Earth's sound. Most of the melody lines are provided by him and he really does a good job. Back to the good songs, "Ten Thousand Strong" is anthemic enough, "Retribution Through the Ages" has the traditional heavy staccato rhythm guitar that Schaffer is famous for -- and he does it very well in this song --, whereas the extended "The Clouding" could have been much better if it was kept shorter. It has of course no comparison to any of the band's great songs of the past ("Dante's Inferno" or the "Something Wicked" trilogy) in its quality.

I fail to see how any old fan of the band would find _Framing Armageddon_ remotely interesting, rather than the repetitive rehashing of past ideas that this album really is. Listeners that have come across Iced Earth only recently might find plenty of hooks and grooviness to like, but a quick trip down the band's history is recommended, to show them what this band was once capable of. Personally, I would just stick "Dante's Inferno" in the player and hit repeat. Now -that- was a short masterpiece.


(article published 3/10/2007)

8/12/2001 A Bromley Iced Earth: The (Horror) Show Must Go on
9/1/1998 A Bromley Iced Earth: Glaciers Are Us
8/12/1997 D Schinzel Iced Earth: Icing on the Cake
8/12/1996 A Bromley Iced Earth: Spawn-Ing New Territory
9/17/2008 J Ulrey 9 Iced Earth - The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked, Part 2)
6/23/2007 J Ulrey 5.5 Iced Earth - Overture of the Wicked
10/12/1999 A Bromley 8 Iced Earth - Alive in Athens
7/8/1998 P Schwarz 4 Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes
8/12/1997 D Schinzel 9.5 Iced Earth - Days of Purgatory
8/12/1996 A Bromley 7 Iced Earth - Dark Saga
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