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Overture Of The Wicked [Single]

Iced Earth Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 4.95
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1. Ten Thousand Strong 3:53 - Iced Earth
2. Something Wicked Trilogy: Prophecy / Birth Of The Wicked / The Coming Curse 18:31 - Iced Earth

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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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A bright view of the dark future July 3 2007
By Andariel Halo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I don't hate Tim Owens. I loved "The Glorious Burden", almost as a different Iced Earth than the ones previously. I love Tim Owens' voice for Iced Earth. I loved Matt Barlow's voice for Iced Earth.

This is only four songs on a single, and only one of them is new. The new song "Ten Thousand Strong" is great. It bears traces of old Iced Earth without being the repetitive.

The other three tracks are not re-recordings, but new versions of the "Something Wicked..." trilogy at the end of "Something Wicked This Way Comes", "Prophecy", "Birth of the Wicked", and "The Coming Curse"

I don't mind having Tim Owens sing over songs that were originally done by Matt Barlow. But they completely RE-DID these songs! They sound very little, if anything like the originals. I am sort of a music traditionalist by nature. Cover songs don't appeal to me as much as originals, re-recorded albums are never better than originals unless it's an unchanged remastering.

It's not just the lack of Barlow's deeper, more husky voice in these songs, it's a completely new guitar, bass, and drum lines used. The rhythms are done at different speeds, the moods are changed. Where once "Prophecy" was a darkly moody, brooding song, it's now something resembling generic "demonic" metal.

I look forward to the new Iced Earth album. I love Iced Earth, and if Schaffer continues to get better with age like his previous albums, I will love it. What I do NOT like is the "rewriting of history" so to speak, the re-writing of these three classic songs of the "Wicked" trilogy. Please... if you don't want Barlow's voice on them, just record Owens over the song as it was! Don't totally rewrite the rhthyms, tempos, moods, etc! It ruins it for traditionalists who have stuck with IE through the ages.

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