This Month In Metal: September 2007

Iced Earth's return, Maiden's new tour plans and Mickey Mouse doesn't like metal.

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Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Pt. 1

Release Date: September 11 Label: SPV Genres: Traditional Heavy Metal

Right off the bat, I'll have to say that I'm torn concerning Jon Schaffer's latest creation. It's a very amibitous album, and it's only half the story. When trying to pin down just how good this album is, I have the nagging feeling that I'll end up biting myself in the arse, since the second part of the story has yet to arrive.

What can be said is that Tim 'Ripper' Owens shines like a thousand suns on this album. I'll stand by my opinion that when it comes to high-pitched metal vocalists these days, he has no match. He's definitely in a league of his own when it comes to delivering. The balls-out-metal delivery cannot be praised enough (the "Framing Armageddon"-screams in the title track is a good enough example), but he could improve a bit for the mellow sections. What about the guitarwork? Jon Schaffer has oft been accused of using the same gallop-patterns over and over, and it looks like he's out to prove those people wrong with this album (of course he's not, but you get my drift). Incidentally, it sounds fresh and quite effortless, with more melodies and guitarsolos than you might be used to hearing from Iced Earth. It's almost as if Jon has taken a leaf out of Blind Guardian's book and put on layer after layer, as BG did with "A Night At The Opera," which worked quite brilliantly for that album.

The overall feeling I get is somewhat mixed though -- the parts are all good, but they for some reason don't seem to flow as well as this concept album needs them to. Maybe trimming a few interludes would've been a good idea. But, keep in mind that it's only part one and maybe the whole picture will look better once we see it all. All in all a good, solid effort, but there's just that something missing.

  • UG Review
  • More Listening: Demons & Wizards - Touched By The Crimson King
  • Rating: 6.5
  • Arch Enemy - Rise Of The Tyrant

    Release Date: September 24 Label: Century Media Genres: Melodic Death Metal

    A few years after "Doomsday Machine", Arch Enemy return with a new slob of Swedish (and partially German) melodic death metal. "Doomsday Machine" was not a hit across the board with fans nor critics, but this album looks like it might reinstate their position as one of the premier diplomats of the Gothenburg sound. The guitarwork is jawdroppingly tasty in places. The Amott brothers know their fretboards and often manage to play just what is right, and nothing else. It's an admirable skill, especially in the most show-boating of genres, metal. There are definetely some moments where they show their chops, such as the solos in "The Day You Died" or the wonderfully mellow "Intermezzo Liberte." The riffs are generally of a high quality but I have yet to find one of those riffs that you just want to hear on repeat. Generally with melodic death metal, that seems to be the case, since it does not not solely rely on riffs, but also incorporates melody to a large extent.

    Consistency might be the best way to describe this album. It's solid, definetely nothing to be ashamed of, but it's not what we'll remember Arch Enemy for 20-30 years down the road. It's just Arch Enemy doing what they do best.

  • UG Review
  • More Listening: In Flames - The Jester Race
  • Rating: 7.5
  • Down - III: Over The Under

    Release Date: September 24 Label: Wea/Roadrunner Genres: Rock

    Sadly I have not had the time to check out this release yet, but this UG review will have to do in the meantime. I felt compelled to include it, since it's one of the more high profile releases this fall. It didn't go very well over with Don Kaye over at blabbermouth.net, who gave it 6.5, so you'll just have to make up your own mind (as you always should, I 'spose).

    News And Tidbits From The Past Month

    Two major news stories have been the focal point this month, one happy and one quite dreadful. The good news is that Iron Maiden have announced their "Somewhere Back In Time" tour. The tour is considered to be the second part of their history tours (the first spanning their first four albums), so naturally this will pick up with the first left off. The tour will kick off in Australia (first visit since the "Fear Of The Dark" tour way-back-when) in February and that's all we know really. Maiden are already confirmed for Wacken Open Air in Germany next summer, and it's been officially stated that it's the ONLY German date on this tour.

    Yours truly is of the belief that after Australia is wrapped up, they'll head to Japan and India for a few gigs and from there probably to the US for a handful of gigs. It's almost dead certain that they'll hit LA, NY and Canada, but how many gigs North America will get from there is up to the gods (Rod Smallwood & Steve Harris, in case you wondered) to decide. What can be safely said is that Europe and the UK will gets it's dose of Eddie & Co, but the question is how extensive it'll be. There's a fat chance it'll mainly be festivals (Graspop, Download etc).

    What's also uncertain is South America. They got the short end of the stick for both the Early Days Tour and the "A Matter Of Life And Death" tour, so rumours are running rampant in regards to a series of shows in South America (it has even been "confirmed" by various radio stations). The biggest source of speculation is the setlist though -- will they play Alexander The Great live for the first time? Will they include pre-Powerslave material? Will they play Rime? Will they pull out a few surprises? Well, if you look at "The Early Days" tour, the setlist contained a number of surprises -- more Iron Maiden/Killers material than most fans had expected, and less from Number/Piece. It could end up the same on this tour, and in that case it'll most likely be a few tunes from "Somewhere In Time", seeing it's been underrepresented from the 7th Tour and onwards, in comparison to other albums from the same era.

    What's also a source of discussion is if they'll just play tunes from "Powerslave"-"Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", or if they'll use "Live After Death" as an excuse to put in "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "Iron Maiden", as they are the only two tracks in their discography to be played at every gig since their respective releases. I think they'll put 'em in for sure. They are such huge mainstays that I can't see them ever removing them from the setlist. Then again, most people thought the same about "The Number of the Beast", and it was axed from the last tour, so who knows? All I know is that I'll be there when they hit my country, and witness one of the greatest shows on earth.

    Finally, Machine Head manage to sneak into this month's column as well. No, Robb Flynn ain't paying me, but if he wants to, it can be arranged.

    The news is of course that Disney, who happens to own land on which House of Blues venues are located, told the promoter of the "Black Tyranny" tour that no, we do not want metal played here. Thus, the tour (which also features Arch Enemy, amongst others), had to move to different venues for a number of gigs. Disney cited violent imagery, undesirable fans and inflammatory lyrics as the reason for the concerts being denied to play on Disney property.

    Shadows Fall also received the same message from Disney the other week.

    But why now? Hundreds upon hundreds of metal concerts must have been played in those venues over the years, some with lyrics and imagery far more violent than that of Machine Head and Shadows Fall (such as Cannibal Corpse, that has played there). There might of course be a number of reasons not disclosed to the masses, but it certainly doesn't help bridge the gap between mainstream and metal. Maybe it's not supposed to be bridged in the first place, and it's hardly the first time it's happened. Just ask Ozzy, Sabbath or Maiden how they've been treated.

    Or maybe Mickey Mouse thought that "The Blackening" or "The Black Tyranny" tour was some kind of hint to black people taking over America, and was offended. Amidst all this ridiculousness, it almost seems like a truthful and likely option.

    So ends this September column -- if you have suggestions or ideas on how to improve the column, write it further down.

    47 comments sorted by best / new / date

      MetalStorm4786
      1st! What's up with Disney, is this the PMRC all over again? "Undesirable fans"? F*** you Disney...yea I said it.
      TheUnholy
      Reviewer Pete, again, good work man. I like these monthly things, they let me catch up a bit with what's going on, and get at least a vague idea of how good any new albums are. The news is fine, but definitely concentrate on the reviews section - it's that "monthly review magazine" idea that's going to keep me coming back to this column.
      codeezie
      somehow colors by between the buried and me isn't on this list. which is actually kinda disgusting considering how much better it is then everything on this list.
      Gloom
      Disney is so totally one with heavy metal. Or horribly behind on the time.
      Styx
      MetalStorm4786 wrote: 1st! What's up with Disney, is this the PMRC all over again? "Undesirable fans"? F*** you Disney...yea I said it.
      couldn't been said better... Disney puss*'s!!!
      Fallenblood
      Agreed Who wants 14 year old prep girls acting like they know all about Immortal and Cryptopsy just because they're "populuar"?
      It's bloody happening already, at least here in Bulgaria.
      =Roach=
      If any artists out there come up with a picture of Mickey being brutalised by metal I would love to see it. Maybe the Adler bro's pulverising him with a guitar and a pair of sticks, or Kerry Kinng ripping him a new one B.C Rich style... hahahaha. "**** you Disney!"
      not_dead_enough
      The good news is that Iron Maiden have announced their "Somewhere Back In Time" tour. The tour is considered to be the second part of their history tours (the first spanning their first four albums), so naturally this will pick up with the first left off. The tour will kick off in Australia (first visit since the "Fear Of The Dark" tour way-back-when) in February and that's all we know really.
      No we also know that Iron Maiden HATE ADELAIDE! They are playing Perth then Melbourne with a day off in-between! Why do Melbourne and Sydney get TWO shows each and we don't get any?? I would expect this from many other bands, but not Maiden. And don't give me the they-deserve-a-day-off stuff or the its-the-promoter's-fault stuff coz, for the former, they're paid enough anyway and, for the latter, they have enough bargaining power themselves to say "Hey, let's play in this city too" if they wanted to.
      Vanox_1
      OK, i can kind of understand the whole metal thing at disney because of little kids but does HOB let rap play at their venues? Rap has some of the most explicit lyrics I have ever heard (not to metion it is the shitiest kind of "music" ever).
      Viking_Swede666
      Is this why they moved Nightwish to the HOB on the sunset strip instead of playing at the one in Anaheim?!?! FUCK YOU DISNEY.
      ShrimpthePimp
      It seems that Between the Buried and Me have been left out...why? That was a historical record, definately better than the Arch Enemy CD...I cant say about the Iced Earth Cd though, havent heard it.
      DANZIG767
      lennonOUTLIVE wrote: if i was disney i wouldn't let shadows fall or machine head play at my venues either. not because they are metal, but because they blow.
      agreed, Machine Head does blow, Shadows Fall is pretty good though
      SeanHart213
      its upsetting to metal fans like myself that disney would to this, but understandable at the same time. look at it this way: what if you owned a theme park and ICP wanted to come into town? who wants to listen to music that you think is shitty and deal with fans like that? thats how disney feels about metal. oh well, its their ****ing land, so we should shut up and deal with it as hard as it may be. Oh yeah i picked up Down III.... worth every penny. you should check it out!
      Reviewer Pete
      ShrimpthePimp wrote: It seems that Between the Buried and Me have been left out...why? That was a historical record, definately better than the Arch Enemy CD...I cant say about the Iced Earth Cd though, havent heard it.
      I can't sift out every release every month. Some are bound to be left out, intentionally or unintentionally. My goal every month is not to review the best CDs, but more a mix between big releases and some less known ones. This month the reviewing got a bit slim, for various reasons. I did not leave Colors out intentionally - and after hearing it, I regret not knowing of this band. I'll give it a proper review soon. I'm just one person and I can't keep track of all releases every month. Sorry.
      Rtard_GWARRIOR
      They let GWAR play there not to long ago, and they're one of the wrost guys to have at a "Family" place.
      stingness
      if cannibal corpse played there, what else is left 2 xpos da stupidity of disney?
      NorfIrIon
      I loled when I heard Cannibal Corpse and GWAR had played there. I do wish I could actualy afford to go to one of the concerts so I could complain about it with everyone else, though.
      sylic
      properBo wrote: The most metals thing that happened this month was DETHKLOK
      i'm gonna kill myself because it isn't here
      lennonOUTLIVE
      if i was disney i wouldn't let shadows fall or machine head play at my venues either. not because they are metal, but because they blow.
      john21
      i love over the under. i gotta check out the others. but disney understandable, they dont want a bunch of wild teenagers listenin to metal hangin around at disney scarin the little kid. dont know why their crackin down now though.
      The Black Salts
      I think maybe Disney's management has fallen into perhaps different hands, and that management does not like metal. That or the management is the same but decisions regarding the house of Blues shows has been handed down to a different department or whatever you want to call it. Although in all likelihood an overload of soccer moms made complaints.
      metalman71589
      Saw slayer and Unearth at a House of Blues in Orlando, FL. After the show..sat outside screaming "FUCKIN SLAYER!" until we felt like leaving..was fun shit watching the soccer mom's covering their kids ears...I shit you not on that one.
      xXChimairaXx
      yeah it sucked because I live in so cal and got a call from the house of blues saying my dinner reservations for the Black Tyranny Tour have been cancelled and the show has been moved to Pomona, a nice drive from my house. it weird because friends and I just had just seen katklysm, killswitch engage, chimaira, and necrophagist there and then they go and cancel a arch enemy/machine head show. disney, you're killin us.
      xXChimairaXx
      not to mention i also had tickets for the shadows fall on halloween at the HOB anaheim, but now its moved to a place 5 minutes from my house. sweet. but not.
      Guitar_Poet
      im willing to bet there are other factors involved, since lots of other bands that could be considered "worse" have played there.... but then again, ive got nothing more to go on than anyone else. like i said though, im willing to bet there is something else going on. who cares, though? part of being in a metal band is getting used to a lot of people not wanting you around. people think its so cool that bands like cannibal corpse have been banned from countries... but they whine when they cant play at the house of blues (BLUES, lol... not metal)? that doesnt make sense... if the bands are bitching they need to grow a pair and **** off. who cares, theyre still playing the show elsewhere... they still get paid.
      Horvat
      I got a suggestion. UG should review some more death/black bands.
      Reviewer Pete
      Horvat wrote: I got a suggestion. UG should review some more death/black bands.
      It'd be my pleasure.
      Shinozoku
      "Maybe it's not supposed to be bridged in the first place, and it's hardly the first time it's happened. Just ask Ozzy, Sabbath or Maiden how they've been treated." Agreed Who wants 14 year old prep girls acting like they know all about Immortal and Cryptopsy just because they're "populuar"? (btw this is in an alternate world where metal goes mainstream, a-la Metalocalypse)
      Reviewer Pete
      Shinozoku wrote: "Maybe it's not supposed to be bridged in the first place, and it's hardly the first time it's happened. Just ask Ozzy, Sabbath or Maiden how they've been treated." Agreed Who wants 14 year old prep girls acting like they know all about Immortal and Cryptopsy just because they're "populuar"? (btw this is in an alternate world where metal goes mainstream, a-la Metalocalypse)
      True. It's just sad to see bands ****ed over like this.
      Shaned
      well i'm thirteen, i'm a metalhead...i never liked disney...i cried when i went there when i was like 6. Disney to me is so horrible, the moms always are killed then there's subliminal messages hence the cover of the little mermaid...Ummm male sexual organs aren't really tv-G. So yeah to cancel great bands like that is so stupid. and that joke about the 14 year old preps was good haha but where i'm from i'm like the most metal kid
      blasphemus666
      the cds r awseome! i hav all 3! but the disney thing...thatz ridiculous. there has to b otehr reasons if they let other bans like CC play there. but honestly, we shoulnt b that suprised, itz just another story of how the mainstream is trying to destroy metal culture. BUT WE WILL STAND STRONG THROUGH WUTEVR THEY TRHOW AT US! HORNS UP!
      )Eric(Draven
      Wow, I haven't seen one of these before, this column is pretty cool. I don't have time anymore to dilly dally on a computer all night as I have two jobs, school, and a committed relationship, so this really lets me know what's going on in a world that I terribly miss being a part of. Keep up the good work!
      comrade_NC
      these band are great i love this music, but about the disney, total b.s. the old disney didint give a shit why cant they just let everyone be happy?
      troyponce
      You left out the Dethalbum and the new Between the Buried and Me. Both albums are great, the BTBAM being one of the best I've heard in years.
      Reviewer Pete
      properBo wrote: The most metals thing that happened this month was DETHKLOK
      Shit...I'll somehow manage to put them into next month's column. Nathan Explosion must be pissed at me now.