Oh, hitting the notes is manageable, but making it sound good is hard.Hey, even I can sing Painkiller.
1. Wolf - The opening to this song was pretty cool, but the rest is mostly boring. I still really don't get the love of Barlow. He's a competent singer, but competence does not make one stand out. Also, holy crap there's so much double bass, it hurts the song. I mean, this isn't terrible but I hope the rest of the tracks on here make up for this meh beginning. 6/10
2. Damien - Oh boy. A lot of my criticisms from the previous song also apply here. This one is nine minutes long and feels like it. It's a bit better but again, this band has not sold me on them at all. Barlow's high notes here are cheesy as hell, and that spoken word piece in the middle is a snoozefest. I can't say it's an outright failure but it disappoints certainly. 6/10
3. Jack - The chorus and bridge aren't the best, but the verses here are a bit more successful than previous. Barlow is stronger on this song and the driving sledgehammer of the riff helps make it work, at least better than the previous two. 7/10
4. Ghost Of Freedom - Way too soppy for my taste, although the choir is decent. But man, this song is way to, erm, "American" for my taste. Maybe that's my problem with Iced Earth. The band is undeniably American. Plus the singer sounds like he's a pro-wrestler. Ehhh. 5/10
5. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh's Curse) - The high note at the end of this song is pretty cool, as is the fact that this one actually feels Egyptian in tone. But that's all I can say about it. It's another boring song and the chorus doesn't bring anything up. Fuck. 5/10
6. Jeckyl & Hyde - Good instrumental section, everything else is, dare I say it once again, boring. Worst chorus on the album so far? I love the original Stevenson story and it has the potential to be made into a metallic monster, but Iced Earth are emphatically not the band to do it. 4/10
7. Dragon's Child - Finally a song that's pretty good. I was starting to think something like that was nonexistant on this album. This song doesn't knock it out of the park, but the music is engaging, the verses lead to a pretty good chorus, and really, I dig this one. I just wish they had a different singer doing it with them because I really dislike Barlow more every time he opens his mouth. But even here he doesn't mar this song much. 8/10
8. Transylvania (Iron Maiden cover) - Solid cover, but it doesn't improve on the original. 8/10
9. Frankenstein - This one's cheesy but it came together pretty well. The music on this one is very good. If the chorus was better then it would be side-by-side with the previous two. 7/10
10. Dracula - Holy shit, this song feels incredibly dark. Also holy shit, this one's actually great. Barlow isn't the strongest singer when it comes to high notes but it's a hell of a lot better than his lower vocals, and I'm glad he's using mostly highs with this song. It helps bring it together really well and make it finally something I can really get behind. Not perfect, but pretty damn great. 9/10
11. The Phantom Opera Ghost - Wow, two great songs to close off the album. Incredible! This one is also not perfect but it's a gripping stab at the Phantom Of The Opera type of songs (see: Maiden, Iron and Webber, Andrew Lloyd). I like the male and female vocalists taking on Christine and Erik's roles and as a whole it has a lot more inventiveness than I expected from Iced Earth. Is it as good as Maiden's or Webber's songs? No, but it's a satisfying conclusion to an album that has mostly been all over the place. 9/10
The first half of this album was mostly boring but IE came back harder with the second half, which, while imperfect, was a lot stronger than I expected. As a whole, the album is above average but not treading into greatness. There's good stuff on here, but a lot of it doesn't really go anywhere and, while he has his moments, Barlow is still incredibly overrated. I loved the concept of this album, but the execution was often not on-par with the grand themes they were trying to present. If this is supposedly their best album, then god knows I can't be an IE fan.
Horror Show is my favourite Iced Earth album ever.
Damien is my favourite Iced Earth song ever.
This is my least favourite album review ever.
Diesel is the least credible album reviewer ever.
Pro wrestlers wished they sounded like Matt Barlow.
And thank god.A lot of people wished they sounded like Matt Barlow. Nobody does. That's the beauty of it.
7. Red Baron / Blue Max - Here's a song where I completely get the "heavier Iron Maiden" idea. Bits of this song sound like "To Tame A Land", and others sound like something off of No Prayer For The Dying. But I like that vibe. Gives it a darker sort of tone. 8/10