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I was really looking forward to this single for a while, and I guess it’s kind of a disappointment. What I found most disappointing about this album is Tim Owens; he just doesn’t give a fuck about Iced Earth anymore. I really praised him in “The Glorious Burden” because he did a great fucking job, but ever since he started Beyond Fear he just doesn’t care about this band anymore. I got a chance to listen to the Beyond Fear album and he sounds like a fucking god. When listening to this, he sounds like he is really bored with most of it (mainly because he puts no emotion into his vocals), and he messes most of the vocals up. Other than that, this single is actually pretty good and worth buying.
This single consists of 4 songs; the rerecording of the “Something Wicked” trilogy preceded by an edited song (“Ten Thousand Strong”) that will be put on Iced Earth’s upcoming album, “Framing Armageddon”.
The first song is called “Ten Thousand Strong”, and I beg, DO NOT LET THIS BE THE BEST SONG ON “FRAMING ARMAGGEDDON!” It’s not a bad song, but it is kind of mediocre and it’s not very memorable. If you want to hear some good news; Jon Schaffer finally found the perfect guitar tone suited for Owens’s voice. The guitars sound very clean, they have a crisp sound and they are very sharp. This is what “The Glorious Burden” should have sounded like, but I guess they were in such in hurry to release the album that they didn’t care about tuning the guitar to fit Tim’s voice. Anyways, the song starts off with nice long scream and the guitar tone is killer. That riff is pretty nice, but it gets kind of annoying when they use that same riff throughout the whole fucking song. The chorus is decent, but forgettable. This is no brilliant song, but it ain’t shit either. It could be spiced up a little, but maybe Jon Schaffer wanted to put one of the crappiest songs of the upcoming album in here (though a single usually puts the best song of an upcoming album in it).
And now finally we get to the trilogy!
“Prophecy” starts off the trilogy (Duh!) and there is a great new atmosphere to the song. The new atmosphere, in my opinion, has a better sound and is more epic than the original version. Up until 2:42, this song is perfect. The guitar tone is perfect, the riffs are awesome, Tim does a great performance (yeah, he actually has emotion in this song unlike the others!) and I like those awesome drums at about 1:10. Everything is epic and perfect, but when the bass comes in at 2:42, it all goes to hell. The bass sounds cheesy, and it messes up the riffs! The drums actually start hurting my fucking ears. At this point, the song is passable and a little repetitive. However, the ending is pretty good. This song is also like the previous, neither good nor bad.
What makes this single great is “Birth of The Wicked”. This song is so much better than the original (mainly because of the new atmosphere). I always found this song to be the weakest of the trilogy, but now it’s on the same level as “Prophecy”, or even “The Coming Curse”. The guitars have a darker sound on this song, and the riffs sound awesome because of it. The riffs are indeed the best thing this song has. They have this clean epic sound, and it doesn’t have the annoying little background guitar that the original version had. I’m starting to see that this is where Tim becomes unemotional, but it’s barely noticeable. The reason I say this is because when hearing the original version of this song, Matt’s vocals are more emotional (as always), and Tim’s vocals had more emotion in the previous two songs. Other than that, this is definitely a great re-recording, a hella lot better than the original and definitely not the pansy of the trilogy anymore.
“The Coming Curse” is the biggest disappointment of this album. Before even listening to the song I could already tell that sweet little piano intro was taken out of the song because the song was shortened from 9½ minutes to only 8 minutes. The piano intro was the second most favorite part of the song, but now it’s gone! The drumming sounds kinda strange on this song (it’s too loud and it has a weird sound), and then there is Tim! It just pisses me on how he did a shitty job on this song. There is no emotion in his vocals, he sounds really boring; he just doesn’t give a crap about Iced Earth anymore! The chorus is where Matt Barlow made his voice really loud and emotional, and Tim uses the same fucking pitch throughout the whole song and sounds really fucken boring. I was also hoping Jon Schaffer would take those stupid, pointless, and annoying operatic voices (4:20) out of the song, but NO! There are actually two things I like about this song; the first is that scream Tim makes at 2:47, and the ending of the song is pretty sweet also (unlike the ending in the original version which ends with those annoying voices in your ears for half a minute).
This actually wasn’t and this was what I expected of this single. I love the new sound and everything, but Tim’s performance shocked me BADLY (as well as the last song). So really, I can’t classify this as good or bad, you either like it or you don’t. I was originally going to give this album a 65 or as low as a 50, but then I felt like I was underrating “Ten Thousand Strong” and “Prophecy”, (yes, they are actually good and really enjoyable) so I just gave it an 85 (I felt too lazy to rewrite those two paragraphs, so instead I just wrote this sentence). I would have given this single at least a 90 or a 95 if they made some corrections to “The Coming Curse” and if Tim would try harder. I’m just worried on how “Framing Armageddon” will turn out (because I’m a HUGE fan of this band), and whatever it is, lets all pray Tim Owens doesn’t mess it up!
Great, yet disappointing.