Iced Earth - Horror Show review
04. Ghost Of Freedom
05. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse)
06. Jekyll & Hyde
07. Dragon's Child
08. Transylvania [Iron Maiden cover]
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.
Written on 02.09.2006 by
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|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.
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