Iced Earth - The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked - Part 2)
5 September 2008

01. In Sacred Flames
02. Behold The Wicked Child
03. Minions Of The Watch
04. The Revealing
05. A Gift Or A Curse
06. Crown Of The Fallen
07. The Dimension Gauntlet
08. I Walk Alone
09. Harbinger Of Fate
10. Crucify The King
11. Sacrificial Kingdoms
12. Something Wicked (Part 3)
13. Divide Devour
14. Come What May
15. Epilogue

Finally, our dear Matt is back in Iced Earth. Wow when I think that some months ago only it was just like a myth, I'm really happy that the best singer that Iced Earth ever had is finally back with his family. Now, I'm sure you're all expecting a lot of the new album "The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked - Part 2)", definitely it's been a long time that Matt haven't sing anything with the band and this is a real big event, probably one the biggest event of the Metal year 2008. Don't worry you'll not be disappointed by the release even if, I must say it, the last album "Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked - Part 1)" doesn't suffer of any comparison with this release… With or without Matt Barlow, Iced Earth is still able to do good releases, not the most fantastic ones but really solid nonetheless.

If I have to compare the two "Something Wicked" part 1 and 2, I will tell you that both have good and negative points. First I think that I prefer the music of "Framing Armageddon" which is in general heavier than the one of "The Crucible Of Man" which clearly misses of big heavy riffs and anthems like with the songs "Something Wicked (Part 1)" or "Ten Thousand Strong". Unfortunately both albums have too many soft and mid-tempos songs but if it can be ok on "Framing Armageddon" in general, it's too poor on "The Crucible Of Man" which is only better, I think, when it comes to the vocals. Don't believe that I'm a fan-boy of Matt Barlow, sure I love his voice but if I have to be honest I think that the performance of Tim was also exceptional so really this is not a poor "X is better than Y". I just think that the voice of Matt Barlow fits perfectly to the music of the band and his performance here is just wonderful. About the music we have one more time really beautiful melodies like on "Crown Of The Fallen", however if I like the fact that the songs are all complex and deep I miss the big heavy riffs that we were able to hear on the old albums. Sure "The Crucible Of Man" is a good release with good songs but even if the riffs are not bad, the tempo is a bit too slow in general and the hits are missing. I think that "The Crucible Of Man" clearly lacks of rhythm but the performance of Matt Barlow save the album in my opinion. Let's say that we have good songs with big balls like "Divide And Devour" or "The Dimension Gauntlet" but they're not enough unfortunately… "The Crucible Of Man" features good melodies but I regret that it doesn't have the power of the previous album all in all it's a bit average and deceiving.

As you know now, Matt Barlow's return is not a joke. The guy (and I have seen him live twice this summer so I'm serious) is better than ever and I think that his influences will pay on the next album of the combo so we can expect the best for the future of Iced Earth. When you know that he is able to transcend the "soft" songs of "The Crucible Of Man" we can already expect the best definitely. "The Crucible Of Man" is perfectly produced and the cover is one more time fantastic, so now you just have to understand that this release is the epilogue of an long story and that Jon Schaffer wanted to do something epic (we even have some operatic choruses some time) instead of something violent. It's a bit sad for the old fans like me who like pure in your face hits but one more time I'm convinced that we will have great surprise in the future.

I'm maybe wrong but I'm convinced that "The Crucible Of Man" is not so violent because it has to be like that. After all this release is the following and the end of a story and it cannot be linear. Sure I'm a bit disappointed by the fact that the release clearly lack of heavy tracks but I like the songs featured on the album and Matt Barlow's return is all but a mistake. If in the future Jon Schaffer doesn't forget to re-create fast and thrashy songs even like "Something Wicked (Part 1)" (the song featured on the previous album) I can tell you that Iced Earth future will be a real hurricane.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Band profile: Iced Earth
Album: The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked - Part 2)


written by Jeff | 05.09.2008

Guest review by

The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked - Part 2) is the most recent Iced Earth album, and is a follow on from their 2007 release Framing Armageddon. While the album may not hold much weight in comparison to some of the late 90s works, The Crucible of Man a vast improvement on other recent releases not least of all because of the return of Matt Barlow to the vocals position of the band. This album has many good points and some really good Iced Earth songs, but overall it fails to deliver at the level I have come to expect from the band. It is an album that takes some patience to get into, with the songs from start to finish sounding very formulaic. Sorry to use an old cliché there, but the sound has become very generic Iced Earth. This album especially fails to deliver on originality; however, the songs themselves remain catchy, with decent lyrics and riffs to keep Iced Earth fans fairly happy.

published 28.10.2009 | Comments (0)

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DoomGuard - 29.12.2009 at 00:53  
Tried the album out

amazing, just purely amazing, Come What May, Divide Devour, In Sacred Flames+Behold The Wicked Child, I Walk Alone and the Dimension Gauntlet

all amazing songs and the rest are equally great! Another solid Iced Earth album that is added to my collection
Holy Man - 29.12.2009 at 01:13  
So I'm confused about the Something Wicked... story. Is this the last portion of it, or is there more to come? Or are they going to do something different next album?
terrorist - 21.10.2011 at 21:19  
Come Waht May, Dive And Coquer, Harbinger of fate, I Walk Alone, Crucify The King, hey enough for me to consider this album really great. Especially Come Whay May the music and the lyrics are simple the best.

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