Box Of The Wicked review by Iced Earth

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  • Released: May 18, 2010
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 6.8 (10 votes)
Iced Earth: Box Of The Wicked
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Sound — 7
Since the announcement that Iced Earth would be coming out with a box set titled Box of the Wicked, fans have been quite vocal about their initial feelings on the release. On one hand you had a collection of material, which although has primarily been already heard before on past albums, has somewhat of a new twist thanks to a bonus CD, poster, and a variety of other materials. But with the changing lineups over the years, like it or not, certain teams have been formed. For those on the side of Team Ripper favoring former vocalist Tim Ripper Owens jaw-dropping, epic vocal style hearing a boxed set with essentially very little from the singer may leave you cold. If you're an Iced Earth fan through past and present (through all of the vocalist changes) owning Box of the Wicked is a no-brainer and somewhat of a privilege given the fact that only 10,000 copies are available. The 5-CD box set features two studio albums (Framing Armageddon and The Crucible of Man), two original digipak EPs, and one live CD featuring only vocals by current member Matt Barlow. The frontman is strong in his own right, but it's hard to go up against Owens, whose range (as evidenced by the Framing Armageddon CD) could at times go head to head with Rob Halford or Ronnie James Dio. The fact that guitarist Jon Schaffer's songwriting skills seem a bit lackluster on The Crucible of Man (with more chugging power chords than solid riffs) doesn't help matters much. In any case, if you're just getting into Iced Earth's music, Box of the Wicked isn't a bad way to go. It will give you a taste of what you can probably expect in the coming years from the Tampa band. Does it leave out quite a bit of material from the past few decades? You bet, and that's probably one of the biggest disappointments. Framing Armageddon is a stellar record, and combined with some cool artwork and a bonus live CD, the boxed set may be very well worth the price. The bonus CD features four songs, Dark Saga, Iced Earth, Pure Evil, and A Charge To Keep, which is now sung by Barlow. It would have actually been satisfying to get perhaps even a few more live tracks from past eras, but again, diehard fans should find the release a welcome addition to their catalog.

Lyrics — 8
Iced Earth has never disappointed when it comes to delivering lyrical content with epic, life-changing, or apocalyptic themes. If you are a fan of movies like The Omen or general themes where evil is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, you'll eat up every moment heard on the Box of the Wicked CDs.

Overall Impression — 7
While I could go on and on about the epic nature of Tim Owen's delivery or Schaffer's intricate, carefully thought-out songwriting on Framing Armageddon, the review is for the boxed set as a whole. The quality doesn't always stay consistent on the boxed set, but Iced Earth is still a force with which to be reckoned in their genre even on a bad day. For avid fans, the boxed set, particularly because of its rare quality, should be a must-purchase. However, if you're sore over the many changes that do seem to keep happening within Iced Earth and already own most of their albums, you will be able to live without this release.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Tokki Wartooth
    I can see this only as an attempt to keep the fans interested. The Crucible of Man was simply a bad album. I've always loved Iced Earth, but Schaffer has disappointed me in Framing Armageddon and Crucible Of Man. I hope the next one will be an awesome comeback.
    mhb
    crucible of man was a great album and i've been listenin' to iced earth for a long ass time. maybe everybody just needs to remember that not all metal hasta be technically fantastic to be amazing. listening to iced earth is like listenin' to a movie score or video game music. it gives ya the feelin' for the story and it's one hell of an experience. can't wait ta hear what they come out with next. although the idea of the boxed set is pretty lame. but boxed sets are lame in general.
    ICØNØCLAST
    Umm sorry to tell you UG but Barlow is the original vocalist he just left at one point and reunited with the band just before 200. Barlow is for sure the best of iced earths vocalists, and is unmatched in almost every way
    Unholy Crusada
    stompbox wrote: cool keep us in the know when you get i must that one my selfUnholy Crusada wrote: Just bought it online! It's gonna be one hell of a wait for me. I personally think Ripper is a good singer, but I feel like Barlow has been and always will be the true voice of Iced Earth. He just has so much variety to his vocal style, from low epic singing to high pitched metal screams.
    OK, I guess. Why do you want me to?
    stompbox
    cool keep us in the know when you get i must that one my self
    Unholy Crusada wrote: Just bought it online! It's gonna be one hell of a wait for me. I personally think Ripper is a good singer, but I feel like Barlow has been and always will be the true voice of Iced Earth. He just has so much variety to his vocal style, from low epic singing to high pitched metal screams.
    scorpion9199
    vinnym86 : "Box of the Wicked"? is everything ****ing lame these days? shoulda named it "Pandora's Box Set" or something.
    This person clearly knows practically nothing about Iced Earth.
    Tokki Wartooth
    maybe everybody just needs to remember that not all metal hasta be technically fantastic to be amazing.
    I don't like COM, but it's not because it's not technically fantastic. Diary is my favorite song dude, nothing technical about it. It's just not doing it for me, it seemed to me that the same song was x10 in the 2 albums. Just seemed as if Jon wasn't inspired enough to re-create his former genius riffs. This is just me though...
    sheppo
    Tokki Wartooth wrote: I can see this only as an attempt to keep the fans interested. The Crucible of Man was simply a bad album. I've always loved Iced Earth, but Schaffer has disappointed me in Framing Armageddon and Crucible Of Man. I hope the next one will be an awesome comeback.
    he needs to get his old tone back not the typewriter one hes got now also stop making concept albums they suck sing songs god dammit
    Tokki Wartooth
    @scawti: The reason why COM was bad is because Jon had already composed the music with Tim's vocals on his mind. The music parts were already recorded and finished when Matt reunited with IE. I hope Jon hasn't forgotten his greatness. Because the Sons Of Liberty album, also did not impress me.
    scawti
    So is Framing Armagedon with Ripper's original vocals or re-recorded with Matt's? I'd consider buying it if it was Matt. I love Ripper, but didn't like how Jon wrote songs for him. Matt doesn't have the range note-wise but gives songs more depth and Jon writes better material for his style of singing. Though, I also didn't like COM and hoping for something along the lines of Horror Show (music not lyric-wise) for next album.
    andyscoot
    Badly named? Box of the wicked, a boxset of the Something Wicked series? Dosen't seem out of place to me...
    Unholy Crusada
    Just bought it online! It's gonna be one hell of a wait for me. I personally think Ripper is a good singer, but I feel like Barlow has been and always will be the true voice of Iced Earth. He just has so much variety to his vocal style, from low epic singing to high pitched metal screams.
    KileManA7X
    I think this is a pretty good set but they really need more Ripper material. More than half of IE fans only like Barlow though.
    vinnym86
    "Box of the Wicked"? is everything ****ing lame these days? shoulda named it "Pandora's Box Set" or something. Gonna be a sick (but expensive) set
    scawti
    Umm sorry to tell you UG but Barlow is the original vocalist he just left at one point and reunited with the band just before 200.
    Umm, no he's not. He didn't sing on Iced Earth S/T and Night of the Stormrider.