Sound — 10
When John Shaffer wrote about the double concept album he was writing for the Something Wicked storyline, I don't think even he knew the monster of an album he was about to unleash upon the world. The album just kicks into gear with "Overture", an instrumental intro with a very tribal feeling to it and just pumps you up for "Something Wicked (Part 1)" which does not disappoint at all. It immediately pulverizes you with a speed wall of guitars in the traditional Iced Earth fashion. that's what you receive with this album. Wall to wall perfection. After the powerful "Setian Massacre"(which is available on their myspace if you want to get a taste before you purchase the album), The band slows things down with "A Charge To keep" which delivers a great chorus which you know will become a great live favorite sing a long. But the album doesn't dwindle off into the black whole of an inconsistant album, as the albums first single "Ten Thousand Strong" gets thrown in your face shortly after. The album continues and just doesn't slow down and leaves you salavating for the sequel to this to see how it all ends. The production is nice and tight and the tones these musicians got recorded on tape is tremendous. This is truly one of the masterpieces you have to hear for yourself.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics as is the music is all written by john Shaffer with Random collaborations with other members of the band. The lyrics are good. He paints the storyline well, but he could just write blah on the page, and Tim Owens would kill it, just like he does here. Another outstanding performance from The Ripper. The Vocals are consitant throughout the entire cd. The album starts out with "I can see clearly now, a painful vision indeed", in Something Wicked Part 1. The use of lyrics from the original trilogy they wrote, gives the listener something a little extra. The Set Abominae and Something Wicked storyline are nice and original and add to making this a very original. Overall, the lyrics are perfect for this album.
Overall Impression — 10
Iced Earth have the concept album down. They are at the reigns on that in the metal world. The album is a lot more catchy with more sing a long chorus's then they've had before, but with this, they do not compromise the heaviness and brutality that long time Iced Earth fans have come to appreciate. As a matter of fact, This could possibly be better than Something Wicked This Way Comes, or Burnt Offerings. It's just that good! This whole album is great, there are no more ways to put it. It is executed to perfection in every aspect. You just have to hear it for yourself as it is an essential inany metal heads collection.