“Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt. 1)” by Iced Earth

Artist: Iced Earth
Title: “Framing Armageddon – Something Wicked Pt. 1”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 9/11/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

When Jon Schaffer first introduced us to his “Something Wicked” trilogy on Iced Earth’s 1998 release “Something Wicked This Way Comes” – the three chapter tune was only the tip of the iceberg in the greater tale that would be told many years later. Let’s fast forward almost a decade now where the time has come for Jon and company to present us with the beginnings of this epic story, and what a story it is. Presenting my dear Metal friends the new Iced Earth release “Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 1”; it’s an epic spawned from an epic and is a tale that brings us back in time thousands of years to an ancient place where a battle to determine the future of humanity has begun. The tale is rich and complex and that impressed me most for it reads like solid Science Fiction with a little bit of Horror blended in for good measure. So deep are the goings on in the concepts tale that Schaffer needed to break it into two parts and with part one presented here the listener is advised to sit down and focus on this one as a whole piece of music as opposed to skipping around the album like many of us are guilty of doing with releases at times. Lucky for us the tale is painted out very clearly in the lyrics of the album which we can follow along to as it plays out the story of the Setians The Setians are beings who were the original inhabitants of the Earth and apparently the Humans were the invaders of the planet and thus the struggle ensues. Without being a spoiler, most of the Setians are annihilated by the Humans but those who remain join forces and conspire to destroy the people who set out to do the same to them. Pretty heavy stuff isn’t it? One can almost envision this as some sort of big budget Sci-Fi movie epic along the lines of Star Wars. Schaffer has outdone himself on this one so if you are wondering if it was worth the wait then let me answer that with a resounding “yes”.

Musically there are a lot of peaks and valleys as the album brings mood inducing slower parts to a screaming crescendo when the Metal gets to throttling speed. It’s a long album and runs some nineteen tunes but the listener will not feel as though any time has been wasted by their sitting through the release in its entirety. It’s made to be enjoyed like this and some of the biggest highlights are the tracks “Ten Thousand Strong”, “The Setian Massacre” and “Framing Armageddon” for they possess that signature Schaffer riff that makes Iced Earth music so easy to get into if you are a fan of the classic style of the genre. There are a couple of slower numbers that are equal in intensity and one of my favorites of these is definitely “A Charge To Keep”, and one can just see the audience singing along with this one with fists and lighters raised high in the sky. “Reflections” is a track that actually reminded me a little of “When The Eagle Cries” from the bands last effort “The Glorious Burden” and it leads right into the monster “Ten Thousand Strong” and it’s songs like this that seem as though they had been written specifically for Owen’s vocal range. Across the board on this album he reminds us why he is one of the most talented singers in the business of Metal today. The recording of the album found Schaffer doing most of the guitars (lead, rhythm and bass) while some bass was provided by Dennis Hayes (Beyond Fear) and drums were courtesy of returning Iced Earth skin-basher Brent Smedley. There are also a number of guest musicians on the album like Howard Helm, who plays keyboards and gives songs like “Domino Decree” a bit of a Deep Purple feel and talk about being inspired by legends of the past there is even some interludes found that are reminiscent of Pink Floyd. I will let you be surprised when you hear it, but it is without question that Schaffer took great care of crafting this one for his fans. It’s guaranteed to please the bands longtime followers and I think might even be an album that lets some new fans jump on board with the group as well. After all it’s never too late to get into a band and become one of their supporters. Chapter one of this tale will truly leave you clamoring for more and with chapter two being set for middle 2008 I know that I am not alone in saying I can hardly wait to see how the drama ends.

Track Listing:
1. Overture
2. Something Wicked Pt. 1
3. Invasion
4. Motivation Of Man
5. Setian Massacre
6. A Charge To Keep
7. Reflections
8. Ten Thousand Strong
9. Execution
10. Order Of The Rose
11. Cataclysm
12. The Clouding
13. infiltrate And Assimilate
14. Retribution Through The Ages
15. Something Wicked Pt. 2
16. The Domino Decree
17. Framing Armageddon
18. When Star Collide (Born Is He)
19. The Awakening

Official Website: www.icedearth.com

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