Something Wicked This Way Comes review by Iced Earth

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jun 17, 1998
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (17 votes)
Iced Earth: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Sound — 9
Iced Earth is back with their 5th studio album "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and sounds better than ever. Something Wicked opens up with an abrupt but exciting guitar melody and is lead into the lyrics, written by the legendary vocals of Matt Barlow, also one of the few songs he wrote, but back to the instrumentals, it's not hard to say that rhythm guitaris/lead writer John Schaffer makes an excellent contribution with his guitar magic that is consistant throughout the entire album. The drums are pretty decent, the unfortunate truth is that Brent Smedley has really nice cymbal tones but the bass has some volume issues and the snare sounds "hollow." Nonetheless the drums sound as great as they are talented. Not much can be said about James MacDonough's bass, because it also has some volume issues, because although it can be heard there's a bit of a struggle to hear and that's a little irritating, but when it can be heard it is unmistakably remarkable on his talent to keep up Schaffer's quick "galloping" is an instant smile for those who have anything to say about the bass. Larry Tarnowski's solos are a straight thumbs up, quick and as powerful as the rest of the band. Something Wicked is no concept album, but the Something Wicked trilogy (consisting of the final 3 tracks) are without a doubt the strongest tracks on the album. Prophecy begins calm and peaceful and then the intensity kicks in just as the story goes and quiets back down reflecting the peaceful Setian life as the lyrics describe. Then the song switches to a faster tempo emphasizing the violent plans of the Setians with a killer solo followed by some riffing and back to the beginning. The song winds down and prepares for the next 10, 000 years of plotting... Birth of the Wicked follows the birth of the Setian messiah as explained in the first track with heavy riffs, angry drums, eerie bass and a really cool arabic solo straight from the demonic fingers of Tarnowski, and the song fiinishes off with familiar riffs into the final track of the epic trilogy and the even more epic album. The Coming Curse is the best song on the album for sure and may even be the best Iced Earth song yet. A piano does the honours of opening up the song and is done very nicely over arabic flute echoes and finally leads into the main riff that an Iced Earth fan would call a demand to love, packed with amazing double bass, and is probably the easiest song to hear the bass in. We eventually make our way onto the guitar solo which is another job well done, then the drums take the stage as they burst into the interlude that is quite reminiscent of Prophecy. Gregorian chants drag us into the original tempo and finally back to the original song, yet another barrage of familiar riffs and closing with a saluting riff on top the main riff, then the chants come back and close the album with the overlapping that I will never forget, never.

Lyrics — 10
Matt Barlow is for sure one of the best vocalists that ever lived. He's done a good job writing Burning Times. From track 1 to 13, Barlow embodies the voice of all personas and speeches that instrumentals cannot speak and he does a beautiful job with it, especially when impersonating the characters in the Something Wicked trilogy. He nailed the entire album. I would tell you why in one word but it wouldn't come close to fully explaining why there is no one who would do a better job. His voice has no bounds. From thrashy and angry, to soft, tearjerking singing, and of course his high pitch voice that wraps you in awe. Matthew Barlow is the one of the most powerful voices that music ever saw, if not THE most powerful.

Overall Impression — 10
Iced Earth has released 9 albums, 5 EPs, 4 compilations, a live album, and one cover album, and it's easy to say this is definitely the best of all of them. If there is ever a day where I say "I've completed my music collection" I'll look back and remind myself that this album made it happen.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've always wanted to check this band out. I guess I'll have to listen to this album.
    It's a perfect album, it got me into them and I love it, but I prefer Night Of The Stormrider.
    It's a perfect album, it got me into them and I love it, but I prefer Night Of The Stormrider.
    I agree. Iced Earth is my favorite band, and Night Of The Stormrider is my favorite cd. Though Something Wicked was much more successful
    im not to keen on this album, the heavy-soft-heavy-soft order of the songs make it to predictable. The heavy songs are your standard power metal fair, while the softer ones occasionally border on alternative rock ala nickleback (confessions), at least to my ears. Far from their best album. 6/10 imo
    Listening to horror show right now, both of those albums are fricken awesome. Reaping Stone, My Own Savior, and Disciples of the Lie kick major ass.
    I love Iced Earth! One of my favourite bands, Jon Schaffer is a beast on Rhyhtm guitar, especially on Disciples of the Lie and Coming Curse!
    The JesterHead
    Great album, honestly, I don't have a favorite album by Iced Earth because I like all their work equally - from the first album up to when Barlow first left... All outstanding work. Saw them live here in Croatia a couple of months ago and the guys put up one hell of a show... Awesome band.
    Melancholy, Watching Over Me, 1776, to the wicked trilogy at the end. This album is in my top 5 alongside the likes of Ride the Lightning. Solid, top to bottom. Great example of epic power metal from a great band with a story to tell. Beware! If you're a newcomer to I.E. I'd settle in 'cuz you won't be able to get away from this album! (on a side note, did anyone hear that ripper is singing for Yngwie now!? ha!)
    hmmm this ones ok for iced earth, but i have always thought that they had a more defining sound when the first started.(like the album Iced Earth.)
    One of my favorite bands and cds....I prefer Burnt Offerings as everyone seems to be stating favorites. But this album is what made me pick up a guitar.
    The JesterHead
    Sam Wotrey wrote: It's not the same without the Ripper to me :/
    The Ripper was just a replacement for Barlow. No one believed that Barlow would be back, but I'm glad he is. To me, The Ripper years have honestly been the weakest Iced Earth albums (although they weren't bad at all). Tim Owens is a great metal singer, actually among the best ones out there, but Matt Barlow is the voice of Iced Earth.