Iced Earth
Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)
Style: Power Metal
Release date: September 10th 2007

'Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)' is the first part of what could easily be Jon Schaffer and Iced Earth's magnum opus. He began the story almost 10 years ago with the closing three songs on the 'Something Wicked this Way Comes" from 1998. Fan's have been crying for the complete story ever since, a thrilling Sci-Fi story about the Setians, who are the Earth's most ancient culture, and wisest, most peaceful race in existence.

The trilogy was re-recorded and released earlier this year on the 'Overture of the Wicked' single, and made Iced Earth fan's from around the World ready for the complete story abut the Setians and Set Abominae...

Ripper Owens might not have convinced all fan's on the last Iced Earth album 'The Glorious Burden', and some the songs were clearly not written with his voice in mind. Now he's a fully integrated part of the band and the sound, and he delivers his best performance ever, exploring new and untested territories; he is covering more melancholic, dark and aggressive areas, and he masters them all with ease.

Riff-master Jon Schaffer has created a concept album that isn't quite as aggressive and bombastic as most of their earlier albums, the focus this time is on a very strong melody and epic parts. This means that the choirs sound bigger and catchier, some of the parts might even sound a bit cheesy to some hard core Iced Earth fans, but I like the direction this album takes the band.

The album kicks off with a calm intro before we are thrown straight into the very typical riff smasher "Something Wicked Part 1", which turns out to be one the hardest songs on the album. As the album progresses it becomes clear that Iced Earth has had a stronger eye for the finer details and facet's of the music, which leads to an album with a lot of depth.

It's clear from the opening sequences, who's at work here, but he is really challenging his fan's here, because this album needs a few more spins than usual to fully sink in. This album might split the fan's: those, who love the new melodic and epic direction and those, who misses the thrash metal riffs of older days. I think this is one of the best power metal albums of 2007, and can't wait to listen to the original once it's released (without the awful voice-overs, which made me deduct a few point in my rating!).

Part 2 'Revelation Abomination (Something Wicked Part 2)' will be released in 2008, and the story picks up with the birth of Set Abominae, the Setians' prophet. But until the story is concluded enjoy the first part of this very entertaining musical journey told by Jon Schaffer.

Label: Steamhammer
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: September 4th 2007