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A little melancholy that I spent money for this. - 59%

hells_unicorn, February 7th, 2012

Promotional releases tend to have limited staying power, being comprised of material that is generally made obsolete with the release of what said releases are aimed at promoting. Iced Earth has become somewhat infamous for raising the level of these EPs to an art form when it comes to incentivizing their fans to pick these albums up regardless of their nature, usually by loading them up with plenty of goodies such as rare live performances and covers of well known songs. The late 90s “The Melancholy E.P.” is among the earliest incarnations of this practice, and its heavily commercial nature sticks out like a sore thumb on the blemished hand of a sickly satyr.

The non-unique songs selected for this little listening escapade could be dubbed a veritable night of the living ballads, playing up the catchy factor to the point of near ridiculousness. The two sad sounding metallic ballads “I Died For You” and “Melancholy (Holy Martyr)” are almost the same song, though the latter is a bit more elaborate in the musical department, while the former is a bit more gut wrenching in the lyrical delivery. While neither of these songs can be qualified as being outright sappy, they don’t really go anywhere and sort of linger on a very simple idea that is closer to the prototypical 80s power ballad, but with a much gloomier feel. “Watching Over Me” is basically a pop song with noisy guitars, it shares the lingering, semi-stagnant nature of the previously mentioned ballads, but the chorus goes overboard on the corniness factor and listens like something that Creed could have put together.

The area where this little album gets a bit better is during the covers, most particularly the remake of Judas Priest’s “The Ripper”. From start to finish, Matt Barlow’s vocal dichotomy of mimicking Halford’s banshee wails while having a much deeper growling voice suits the song well and turns it into something even more haunting than the original, with the help of a raunchier rhythm guitar sound. The Bad Company and Black Sabbath covers are passable, but Barlow wanders around with the melody a bit much on the latter and the former comes off as overly dramatic for the lyrical content. Jon Schaeffer does a solid job at restructuring these songs into darker, heavier affairs, but “Shooting Star” just gets a bit too weighty and somber sounding for what was originally a somewhat more rocking take on Bob Seger’s approach to a storyteller’s ballad.

This doesn’t really cross into being an essential purchase, even though more than half of what is on here is unique. Only a true believer of this band’s inner circle would be willing to track this thing down for a couple of marginally good covers of songs that were big 10 or more years before Iced Earth formed, let alone a vocally overdone live rendition of “Colors”, arguably the best song heard on the band’s debut LP. I got this bad boy for $3 at the local swap meet, and that’s about the extent of monetary investment that should be considered for anyone else looking to obtain a physical copy. Just avoid spending any money on the original 1999 promo, which lacks the best song on here and is dominated by some of this band’s least engaging songs.

The Melancholy - 86%

Symphony_Of_Terror, November 10th, 2002

The 1999 release of The Melancholy from Iced Earth gave many fans a tastes of the bands ability to cover songs. Such as Electric Funeral (origonally preformed by Black Sabbath), Shooting Star (origonally preformed by Bad Company), and The Metal Classic, The Ripper (origonally preformed by Judas Priest). This Ep shows Iced Earths ability to take such Metal and Rock classics and shine new life upon them. Iced Earth managed to give Electricl Funeral attitude while still keeping true to the song. The band was able to infuse emotion into shooting star. Matt Barlow shows his respect to the God of Metal himself Rob Halford ( Judas Preist) while Barlow screams "The Ripper!" in the cover to the metal classic. These three covers are masterpieces in themeselves. But unfortunatly, that is where the greatness of this alubm ends, for the rest of the songs have been released prior to this album with the exception of colors (live). This album could of been something great, something like Tribute to the Gods. But Iced Earth limited this album to three new tracks. I do not deny the greatness of these tracks, rather the greatness of the Album. While the other pre-released tracks on this album are great and Iced Earth Classics, they are by no means a good reason to buy this album because the pre-released tracks ( The Melancholy, Watching Over Me, and I Died for you, the first two tracks are off Something Wicked This Way Comes, the last is off of The Dark Saga) are on cds which any Iced Earth Fan must own.

I must bring up a good point about this album. It is a buy for certain types of fans. Its a great buy for the fan who wants to hear a sample of Iced Earth's newer work, for they can hear such great songs as The Melancholy (Holy Martyr), Watching Over Me, and I Died For You. It is a good buy for the serious collector because it is a limited edition, and has a few rare tracks on it, the covers. Finally, this would be a good buy for any loyal Iced Earth fan just to hear the three great covers of the rock and metal classics.