The band has built a huge following in metal-friendly Europe and has begun to make inroads in the US due to the success of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Their latest release, Horror Show, continues down the same road with even stronger songwriting and a heavier sound than earlier efforts.
Based on the classic horror stories immortalized in various movies and books, Horror Show features songs titled Damien (The Omen trilogy), Frankenstein, and Jeckyl & Hyde. There is also Ghost of Freedom, which deviates from this theme in honor of all those who have died defending freedom.
While being heavier, the album still sounds very much like Iced Earth, there is just a little more depth to the production that creates a very layered sound making this album stand out a bit from earlier efforts.
Surprisingly, and it's a pleasant surprise, no one track really stands out. This is due to the strength of the songwriting from start to finish and not from any weak spots.
As usual, and this is what makes Iced Earth poised to become much bigger than they are if they can get away from Century Media and get proper support, the rhythm playing is out of this world.
There are a couple of tasteful surprises along the way such as Steve DiGiorgio's haunting fretless bass line on Dracula and Yuhuni Percifield as Christine on The Phantom Opera's Ghost.
Once again, Jon Schafer's solid songwriting and the band's flawless execution shows why Iced Earth has the following they do. This is definitely their best work to date.
John Rovnan is a Staff Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.