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Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt. I)

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Audio CD, September 11, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1998, Iced Earth released an album called Something Wicked This Way Comes . The final 20 minutes of that album featured the debut of the "Something Wicked" trilogy, a three-part epic overview of a story written and created by band mastermind Jon Schaffer.

While the above trilogy was only an overview, the entire story was written and laid waiting to be told. Now, almost 10 years later, after years of hard work and contemplation, Schaffer has delivered the first part of what could be his magnum opus. "Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part I)" is the first of two albums weaving a thrilling Sci-Fi tale of mankind s invasion of Earth, the planet occupied by the direct descendents of the Grand Architect of the Universe. These descendents, the Setians, are the Earth's most ancient culture, and are the wisest, most peaceful race in existence.

Not only is the story told through the music and lyrics, but in true Iced Earth fashion, through the album artwork as well. Over the years Schaffer has established a loyal record-buying fanbase through quality craftsmanship that runs through every facet of the band and their output. After the very successful release of the teaser single "Overture of the Wicked", it's certain that the fans will be utterly blown away by "Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part I)". Both musically and visually, this album will NOT disappoint.

Jon Schaffer and friends tackle the Something Wicked story once again on a collection that feels more like a symphony than a traditional rock album. The symphonic element reveals itself through sonic vignettes such as "Overture," "Reflections," and "Execution," each one serving as a bridge in an intriguing if occasionally nebulous storyline. In its way, the album favors atmosphere over solid songwriting--the epic "The Clouding" has numerous memorable musical moments but fails to fully capture the listener's imagination, despite some well-conceived and thoughtfully executed guitar work from Schaffer; "The Domino Decree" comes off like a Deep Purple retread and although at first exciting, eventually fades into a muddled piece. Part of the problem may be that vocalist Tim Owens often sounds reined in by his surroundings--occasional barbaric shrieks aside; another may be that the music often sounds more like the power metal bands (Kamelot, Blind Guardian) that Iced Earth influenced rather than Iced Earth itself. Framing Armageddon has some fine moments, and some lukewarm ones, as well. The overall impression is that the band might be best served by a fresh perspective and a little more focus on feel over faultlessness. --Jedd Beaudoin

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture
  2. Something Wicked (Part 1)
  3. Invasion
  4. Motivation Of Man
  5. Setian Massacre
  6. A Charge To Keep
  7. Reflections
  8. Ten Thousand Strong
  9. Execution
  10. Order Of The Rose
  11. Cataclysm
  12. The Clouding
  13. Infiltrate And Assimilate
  14. Retribution Through The Ages
  15. Something Wicked (Part 2)
  16. The Domino Decree
  17. Framing Armageddon
  18. When Stars Collide (Born Is He)
  19. The Awakening

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Steamhammer / SPV
  • ASIN: B000SNUMC0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,621 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Amos on September 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
After 6 years of being an Iced Earth fan and anticipating this album that whole time, I am glad to say that this album was well worth the wait. Jon Schaffer has truly outdone himself here. The music, the orchestration, the lyrics, the awesome metal riffs; everything is here.

Glorious Burden is a good album, but it felt more like an album to test the waters than a typical solid IE release. With the band changing record labels as well as its singer, it just seemed like a hit or miss album with some awesome tracks but a few I didn't care for so much. However, any doubts this had created about this epic follow up are put entirely to rest. This is IE's best album to date. Ripper is at the top of his game with a sound that feels like it was crafted just for him, and this may sound like heresy to some, but I find it difficult to imagine Barlow's low, haunting tone on some of these tracks. And with all the great music that flows so wonderfully together, we also have a very well thought and complex sci-fi story that Schaffer has poured his blood and emotion into (The scope and story are more ambitious than a lot of sci-fi that I've read from novelists.) Just brilliant.

There are 19 tracks total on this concept album behemoth, too many to comment on each one, but there are definitely some notable standout tracks:

The album begins with "Overture", which sets the tone wonderfully. It has a very eastern feel with lots of string instruments and bongo style drums. It paves the way nicely for the opener track, "Something Wicked Pt 1". This track is mind blowing. I was expecting to hear the redone version of Prophecy that I heard on the single, but this is its own song. It begins with a stunning riff that seems to be a combination of old Metallica and Beethoven.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By happyandy83 on November 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
What's killer:

Tim `Ripper' Owens is quite simply an amazing vocalist. His phrasing is amongst the best I've ever heard, as evidenced on the harmonic laced "Reflections' and the ballad type moments of `The Clouding'. While he may not have the `Baritone' of Barlow, I believe he has the best-matched voice for Iced Earth. And with time, more Iced Earth fans will understand what I have understood since he sang on the Gettysburg Trilogy.

Jon Schaffer has also taken steps forward as the maturing song writer. Yes, the infamous `gallop riff' is still as prominent as ever, but is taken in an entirely new direction, which is refreshing to see. The main riff in `Something Wicked Part 1' is a good example of this, brimming with the spirit of latter day Dream Theater composition.
As for the album's epic masterwork, there isn't one - really. `The Clouding' is the closest you're going to get clocking in at 9 minutes. This matters little though, as each song is deserving of its own sound world - no guitar riff is rehashed, not this time...

The artwork and inner booklet is very nice indeed, containing song illustrations in the same vein as 2001's `Horror Show' and 2004's `The Glorious Burden'. Again, Schaffer takes pride in CD packaging and offers up greater reason to buy his art rather than to simply download it. While I maintain the `Something Wicked' storyline, should have been released as a double disc set, the illustrations and lyrics here only offer a `general' outline of the `Something Wicked' storyline, and are not enough to suffice a full blown concept - like a comic book. The original idea was to release a comic book accompanying the CD. However, it is believed it would be too time consuming to do so.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to Framing Armageddon all day. I have two words for it:


This isn't the Iced Earth of even just a few years ago. This is a new IE, with more melody, more depth, and more variety in their songs -- and vocals from Tim Owens that perfectly match the music.

Whereas in the past I thought Tim's vocals seemed tacked on, almost like they were purposely cast to replace (former vocalist) Matt Barlow's vocals, on Armageddon Tim's voice fits the music to a T. It's obvious Armageddon was a collaboration, with Jon writing for Tim's killer vocal style rather than for Matt's.

I know I'll take heat for typing this, but I think Armageddon is IE's best work to date. I love Something Wicked and Horror Show. I think Alive in Athens is a landmark in live metal recordings. But Framing Armageddon is in a different league entirely.

The recording is crisp and multi-layered. There's just the right amount of everything. Track 12, "The Clouding," is a phenomenal song. But so are many of the other tracks -- especially "The Domino Decree," a song that skirts the edges of classic prog rock by using keyboards that remind me of Kansas. "Domino" is a stirring, bold, transcendent song on an album brimming over with masterful songs.

Tim shines. No doubt about it. His soaring voice has finally found a home that showcases it. But I think it's Jon Schaffer who deserves high marks for crafting music that lives and breathes, that stands alone as truly great music, rather than music that's clearly created by Jon Schaffer. Jon has a trademark style of riffing and songwriting. Even his guitar tone is classic. But I'm not hearing Jon Schaffer on Framing Armageddon. Even his guitar tone sounds different.
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Big Four of NWOAM
agree with all of your bands. But you got to add the mighty mastadon to the list.
Sep 4, 2007 by GOPmetalgod72 |  See all 7 posts
Owen's role
Yea. Jon isn't as goos as he thinks he is, I have heard what Tim has writen going back to Winters Bane and to Beyond Fear, I think he writes better vocal melodies then Jon
Oct 1, 2007 by Taylor |  See all 2 posts
Barlow or Ripper
Matt Barlow...beautiful voice, and an amazing frontman. Ripper is amazing as well.
Aug 18, 2007 by Gabezz |  See all 14 posts
Feelings about the upcoming album~Anticipation or Grief
I love Iced Earth and cannot wait for Framing Armageddon. Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favorite albums and now with the story continuing for this album and then part 2 next year it's a good time to be an Iced Earth fan.
Aug 19, 2007 by Jason Adamczyk |  See all 15 posts
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