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Overture Of The Wicked [Single]

Iced Earth Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 4.95
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Product Details

1. Ten Thousand Strong 3:53 - Iced Earth
2. Something Wicked Trilogy: Prophecy / Birth Of The Wicked / The Coming Curse 18:31 - Iced Earth

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat better, somewhat worse June 5 2007
By R. P Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Looking at their latest work as a decade-long Iced Earth fan - and, I must boast, I managed to get this a few days before the official release date - I guess the first aspect to discuss is the vocal change from the trilogy's original form. (That was where my IE saga began - I picked up "Something Wicked" because the cover art looked cool.) Of course Tim Owens is an impressive singer but I really can't give him much more praise than that, except to say he was with them in Dallas when I saw them live for the first time. He was awesome on stage, maybe even better than his studio work because he could be a little more raw. But without any doubt, the band showed me for the second time that the sheer physical power and range and emotional fury of Matthew Barlow's voice have no equal. It's the same with "Overture," for there are times when Owens just sounds like he's not into what he's doing.

As for the music, it's much darker (less melodic) than the 1998 version of the band's first original epic. The rhythm guitar is down-tuned, and several of the lead harmonies are played at lower pitches to make the sound more ominous. Here we have a slightly extended remake - the trilogy clocks in at a minute or two shorter than the original - but the 4-minute "Ten Thousand Strong" kicks off the new edition as a prelude to the "Set vs. humanity" story. I don't want to give away much detail about the revisited material, so I'll mainly give a teaser about the opener. It's no big departure from most of their songs: it starts with an aggressive riff and pounding drums, eases up a bit between verses and during the chorus, and there's no guitar solo but Owens overlaps the background vocals with fragments of the chorus to create some interesting harmonies.

The drum work is particularly worth mentioning because Brent Smedley returns to execute stunning, machine-precision bass drum synchronization with Jon Schaffer's jackhammer-speed guitar riffs, very reminiscent of Fear Factory. This is done throughout the trilogy, whereas Smedley kept it simple in '98 with a steady (even monotonous) double-bass pattern of eighth notes. If you didn't check the liner notes, you'd think Richard Christy was still around for such perfect, beastly timekeeping. Also, the sound quality is much improved so the drums come through loud and clear this time.

The last thing to note is the addition of some exotic vocal lines (male and female) that give the final track a Middle-Eastern feel, replacing the Gregorian chant-style chorus that concludes the initial trilogy. This alteration certainly goes with the Egyptian artwork on the cover (Set's ankh), as well as that in the "Something Wicked" booklet (animal hieroglyphics, obelisks, pyramids, the Sphinx and so on).

Reflecting on the band's most advanced songwriting, "Dante's Inferno" condensed the literary masterpiece into 16 breathtaking minutes, with astonishing tempo and mood changes to signify the passage through each circle of Hell, not to mention vivid visual cues of a 185-page work (by my copy). I don't know if anything else they ever write can be as cool as that. "The Suffering" did a terrific job of scaling down the Spawn comic book a year before the movie was released, although "A Question of Heaven" is by far my favorite of that grouping. Then, after "Wicked," there was "Gettysburg," which, as an American and a major history buff, leaves me in stunned silence every time.

So while I await the completion of the two-part work Schaffer's been talking about, after hearing this three or four times I can't say I've been blown away, but (except vocally) it's leaner, meaner, tighter and pretty damn good - definitely something all IE fans should have to chart the band's evolution over the last 10 years.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ripper isn't the problem June 8 2007
By Nyghtseye - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I thought the mixing was horrible. The guitars in the 1st two parts of the trilogy were ok. Get to the Coming Curse and it's almost inaudible due to the kick drums. Also gone is the piano intro from the The Coming Curse.

I see only the most ardent IE fan being completely satisfied with this. Everyone else buy at your own risk.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome. The best Iced Earth to date. June 10 2007
By Danuch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What makes Iced Earth one of my favorite bands is that they keep getting better and better with every release. after listening to this I've become so excited for the next two releases. 'Ten Thousand Strong' is an incredible song and excellent first single for the album. The re-recording of the Something Wicked trilogy will no doubt cause controversy with old school I.E fans. But in my opinion this reworking is more powerful and effective. Tim Owens kills on vocals and the guitar and bass drums are so in synch and crushing I dont know how anyone can say the original is better. I say get this release and the next two. It rules.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice set up for new full length album that's coming out June 9 2007
By Adam Lambert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
All I can say is wow this is really good. The new song ten thousand strong is a awesome song. To give you a idea what it sounds like it is similar to "Declaration Day" just more aggressive and a lot faster. The new version of the something wicked trilogy is done very well. There were some changes that were made that gives a different feel to the trilogy. But as far as Tim Owens's singing he does a fantastic job. Like Jon Schaffer stated at the Iced Earth web sight he stays true to the originals but adds his own stamp to the songs. But last of all I feel this is a good set up for the new album and I am looking forward to it.
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic single, but the redone material loses something in translation June 28 2007
By J. C. Amos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Something Wicked was the first IE album I had bought. The trilogy in that album is the best thing the band has done next to Dante's Inferno. About the time I had gotten into the band, John Schaffer had mentioned his intent do make a whole album in the theme of Set, the subject of the trilogy. Five or so years later we finally have a taste... I do have some mixed feelings.

Ten Thousand Strong: This first track is the new single, fresh material from the upcoming album, and I have to say that I love it. The riffing is a little similar, perhaps reminiscent of Declaration Day or Attila from Glorious Burden, but this song in my opinion is better than anything from that album. The harmonizing between Ripper and the backround vocals is just amazing and Ripper himself is at the top of his game here. I admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Ripper as the IE vocalist (mostly because I'm still missing Barlow) but here I think he really works. The Glorious Burden felt like an album meant for Barlow but with Ripper filling the void. This track was meant for Ripper, and I can only hope the rest of the album sounds like this. Bravo to Schaffer! 9/10

Prophecy: Here I was not so pleased. As I said, I really love the original trilogy, perhaps a little too much to deal with the changes they've made to it. This song starts out interesting, almost on a more ominous tone, but the great part about the original track is the mellow tone in the first few minutes. Here the mellow tone is replaced with heavier slow tempo guitars, so when the actual main riff starts, it doesn't pack the same punch. And the main riff itself seems palm muted to the point of not even being the same riff anymore. Instead of the loud open chords we used to have, it sounds restrained and totally misses the same feel. Ripper's vocals are pretty good here, though of course he doesn't quite capture Barlowe's haunting tone. This is a fairly dissapointing take on this track. 5/10

Birth of the Wicked: The second track is more of a success. Not much is lost in the rerecording. The guitairs, while not as chunky as in the original, aren't as badly muted as in Prophecy. There are some interesting solos in here too, really impressive ones that I dig. Ripper's vocals work pretty well here as well. It is weird to hear the clocks after the song ends and not before however, but this change is fairly insignificant. Overall, while still not as good as the original, this is a good track. 7/10

The Coming Curse: Like Prophecy, this remake severely dissapoints. I loved the piano intro in the original and they decided to omit that here. It really provided a great buildup to this epic track and jumping right into the main riff doesn't have the same affect. And once again, the main riff is greatly muted and severely loses it's punch. The drums sound way too prominent over the guitars and I keep waiting for the riff to sound more meaty, but this really never happens. Another one of my favorite parts about the original was the backing vocals, the haunting choruses that were put in about halfway through. The vocals are similar, and still fairly haunting, but here it's not as prominent and not as affective. You can really tell it's just a couple of people instead of the overwhelming presense they gave before. This once has some interesting guitar work in the middle, and Ripper's vocals still work on some level, but overall I'm dissapointed. 5/10

The new material is great, and I hope the new album stays that way. The remade trilogy is interesting as an experiment, but by no means should it be a replacement. Perhaps it will work better incorporated into the album, I don't know. Overall, I'm still greatly anticipating this album. While the trilogy does lose something, musically it is still technical and harmonic just as we expect from Schaffer. I would still recommend getting this, just take into consideration what I said about the rerecordings and you might enjoy them. This is still one of my favorite metal bands and recommend them to any fan of old school metal.

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