Iced Earth

Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked, Pt. 1

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Some metal bands like to wallow in their misery, some like to party hard, and some aren't bashful in voicing their admiration of Lucifer. But a band like Iced Earth refuses to indulge in any of the aforementioned well-traveled roads; instead, they specialize in triumphant-sounding metal, often sounding like the perfect soundtrack for if you were training for the triathlon at the Olympics. And on their 2007 release, Framing Armageddon, the group continues to show off their instrumental and vocal prowess -- as evidenced by the masterful guitar work of founding member Jon Schaffer ("Something Wicked, Pt. One"), and the multi-octave vocal gymnastics from former Judas Priest frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens ("Infiltrate and Assimilate"). Getting back to the whole "triumphant metal" thing, take a listen to the chorus of "A Charge to Keep" and tell me you can't picture raising your fist high in victory. And it should come as no surprise that since the group has always thought in "epic" terms, Framing Armageddon is indeed a concept album. According to a press release, the story line is "A heavy metal sci-fi thriller of epic proportions, propelling one through a tale of evil and tragic loss, as well as the deception, patience and belief it takes to plan a reckoning." Yowsah!

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