Iced Earth - Horror Show review



Reviewer:
7.4

645 users:
8.29
Band: Iced Earth
Album: Horror Show
Release date: 2001


01. Wolf
02. Damien
03. Jack
04. Ghost Of Freedom
05. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse)
06. Jekyll & Hyde
07. Dragon's Child
08. Transylvania [Iron Maiden cover]
09. Frankenstein
10. Dracula
11. The Phantom Opera Ghost [Feat. Yunhui Percifield]


Concept album based on horror movies, "Horror Show" is a very particular album in Iced Earth discography. First, it's the last studio album recorded with singer Matt Barlow if you don't count the box-set "Dark Genesis". Then, it's probably the most experimental and hence criticized effort of the band.

Let's talk about the concept in a few words. Horror movies and not horror stories since US culture is totally addicted to TV, casting books into oblivion for a large number of Americans. This explains a track talking about 'Im-Ho-Tep' [movie "The Mummy"]. But other famous characters such as Jack The Ripper, Frankenstein and Dracula are also on the menu, so nothing to complain about. I would say they even did a very good job with compiling and picking the characters. Congratulations on this point to Jon Schaffer.

The music itself is pretty enjoyable, though darker than usual Iced Earth, but nothing wrong with that, it is even mandatory to talk about horror. Now, my problem with "Horror Show" is hard to explain. Let me find the stupidest metaphor I could think of.
Well, here it goes. If you hire a professional race car pilot to drive your grandma to the supermarket, it would inevitably lead to the situation where she would do her shopping quicker. The problem is that old people don't like to be push around. Now imagine that the grandma is Iced Earth's music and that the race car pilot is legendary former Death drummer, Richard Christy [very graphic isn't it?]. That's the core of the problem with this album. This new drummer brought too much speed and energy into IE music and nostalgic fans from the "Alive In Athens" period don't recognize themselves in "Horror Show". Sometimes, leaving a silence is better than exploding the drum kit, at least, that's my point of view after listening to "Horror Show".

I know I'm always whining but, hell, I love that band but I never listen to this album and there must be a reason! Every time I try to find something interesting on "Horror Show", I end up playing 'Dracula' and then I stop. Some of my friends find 'Damien' excellent, I personally don't. 'Ghost Of Freedom' is nice twice and then becomes a hollow ballad. 'Im-Ho-Tep' has this Egyptian feeling but it quite doesn't grasp my attention… Well, 'Jekyll And Hyde' is an excellent one and 'The Phantom Opera Ghost' is excellent too. But in my opinion, none of this songs are reaching some of their previous hits.

Even the Iron Maiden cover 'Transylvania' is far from bringing that spark in my mind. The interview featured in the special package edition is very informative and a must have for any Iced Earth fan and the artwork is incredibly well-done and detailed.

Despite the wonderful artwork, the nice concept, the lyrics, "Horror Show" was probably my biggest deception in the Iced Earth discography. Could sound incredible to newcomers but would probably disappoint long-time fans. Listen to the first track , 'Wolf', and you'll get the general feeling and you would be able to make up your mind about this record.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 02.09.2006 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

Staff review by
Sephiroth
Rating:
7.0
When I heard this album I began to feel homicidial tendencies toward Hansi Kursh. Why? Because his influences on Shaffer have ruined the perfect heavy style of early Iced Earth. In fact, since the "Demons and Wizards" project between the two musicians (which I see more as a Blind Guardian album with Shaffer playing guitar?) the mastermind of Iced Earth has been attracted by Blind Guardian's choral-melodic style.

Read more ››
published 03.02.2004 | Comments (7)


Comments

Comments: 17   Visited by: 88 users
16.08.2006 - 00:07
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426
From: The Netherlands

I love it.

Stuff like Dracula, Dragon's Child, Wolf, Im Ho Tep, Frankenstein. Me loves it. Don't know why it is so much criticed. Maybe my favorite Iced Earth, all in all.
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SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
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17.08.2006 - 10:48
Jason W.
Razorbliss

Posts: 3451
From: USA

I don't agree much with this review, though I do feel the drumming is different than what IE fans would be used to in 2001. I still listen to this CD (along with "Burnt Offerings") on a regular basis, mainly because of the darkness that is so present in the atmosphere. I feel the bass guitar's sound on this CD is by far the best on any Iced Earth CD. I started listening to Iced Earth during the Dark Saga time, and this CD was the 2nd CD I bought from them. My frist impressions were that it showed a "fresh' sound for the band -- and my opinions still haven't changed. And no matter what, this CD is an all out masterpiece compared to the garbage found on their next full-length.
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"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
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03.09.2006 - 02:18
ylside

Posts: 4616
From: Morocco

Written by Jason W. on 17.08.2006 at 10:48

I don't agree much with this review, though I do feel the drumming is different than what IE fans would be used to in 2001. I still listen to this CD (along with "Burnt Offerings") on a regular basis, mainly because of the darkness that is so present in the atmosphere. I feel the bass guitar's sound on this CD is by far the best on any Iced Earth CD. I started listening to Iced Earth during the Dark Saga time, and this CD was the 2nd CD I bought from them. My frist impressions were that it showed a "fresh' sound for the band -- and my opinions still haven't changed. And no matter what, this CD is an all out masterpiece compared to the garbage found on their next full-length.

Exactly my thoughts, along with Burnt Offerings, this is Iced Earth at it's best. I didn't find the drumming out of it's place at all !
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13.09.2006 - 02:13
Dam3k

Posts: 704
From: Spain

I'm agree with u men, neither of this reviews convinced me too much, this album is underrated and for sure it's much better than the one after
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26.10.2006 - 13:38
iMPERiAL_iCE
Weeping Heart

Posts: 1127
From: UAE

c'mon this album is one of the best creations of IE, I love this album and I think it is really nice (not like their previous: yes, not good: NO)
I love the drumming too
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The older I get.........The faster I was

Smurfilator -- back when Smurf Metal existed :'(
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29.10.2006 - 23:46
Grey_Dandelion

Posts: 131
From: Greece

probably the best iced earth album 9/10-songs like damien,dracula and phantom of the opera ghost are metal music diamonds
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Don't turn away just take my hand and when you make your final stand i ll be right there i ll never leave all i ask of you is believe...
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22.11.2006 - 16:40
Valentin B
Iconoclast

Posts: 10016
From: Belgium

wolf is atm my fav song! it's just FUCKING OWNAGE, and who can forget that warp speed bass drum interlude on the phantom opera ghost?
i'm kind of obsessed, but wolf is just the most asskicking fastest, violent, catchy, it's everything you ever wanted in a heavy metal song
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Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.
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23.11.2006 - 05:32
northerfreak
Account deleted
i loved this album DRACULA is amazing i loved this entire album
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13.05.2007 - 00:43
Powerslave16
Account deleted
Disagree with this one too.

How can you give the songwriting on this album a 7? A 7? Its a 10 for me man. Each song is different and tells different tales of horror and the songs blend together and make a fan-friggin'-tastic album.

Highlights: "Wolf", "Damien", "Jack", "Ghost of Freedom", Dracula", and "The Phantom of the Opera Ghost".

9.4 for me.
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13.05.2007 - 02:19
Dangerboner
:D

Posts: 7233
From: USA

This album has grown on me a bit. I'm glad I didn't sell it to Nervel
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13.05.2007 - 16:25
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426
From: The Netherlands

Written by Dangerboner on 13.05.2007 at 02:19

This album has grown on me a bit. I'm glad I didn't sell it to Nervel


Haha! I remember now.

Yeah, those are the good sides of being a collecter and never selling albums.
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SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
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05.07.2007 - 14:55
Infurnace

Posts: 948
From: The Netherlands

I think this is one of the best Iced Earth albums. It's really good. Just listen to songs such as "Wolf" or "Dracula".
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07.10.2008 - 23:47
Powerslavex
Alexskywalker

Posts: 777
From: UK

I like iron maiden cover:maniac:
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22.05.2009 - 08:20
Uirapuru
Liver Failure

Posts: 2955
From: Brazil

The vocals are excellent here! Great album. Some pretty well structured and complex songs like ''Dracula'' and ''Frankenstein'', and even the ballads-like tracks are very good: ''Ghost of Freedom'' and ''Dragon's Child''. One of the best in Iced Earth discography.
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member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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19.06.2009 - 19:43
terrorist

Posts: 358
From: Serbia

This album Horrors me how great it is:)
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Will the ones who live after our end
Worship the goddamn cross again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnlG0h7YN_8&feature=related
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30.04.2010 - 18:41
Nyoink

Posts: 44
From: Greece

This album made me listen to iced earth. I don't know why some people hate it... I find it really good, that dark atmosphere gives me the chills ^^
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02.05.2010 - 17:12
Lord_Regnier

Posts: 1469
From: Canada

Worst Iced Earth album, apart from "The Crucible Of Man".
I like only "Wolf", "Dracula", "The Phantom Opera Ghost" and "Transylvania" (but it's an Iron Maiden cover). The rest bores the hell out of me + I generally dislike vocals on this album.
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"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
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