Iced Earth - The Crucible of Man Review
by Matt Hensch
I would like to open this review with a quote from the Tourettes Guy: “Holy dumb f*ck…what is this sh*t?” Indeed, I wish the answers were exposed, but we do not have philosophical meanings to understand Iced Earth totally pissed on themselves with The Crucible of Man, the final chapter in the Setians battle-royal against humanity. A crucible towards man it is not, but a curse that was coming: Tim Owens led John Schaffer’s band into new territory, but he was ejected for Matt Barlow, which nearly shouted, “Our new CD will induce vomiting!” Certainly, bane is unavoidable.
I have never felt so ashamed in my life: Iced Earth has not only made a flaccid return, but crushed nearly everything John Schaffer conceived with The Crucible of Man. And unlike what Iced Earth critics would expect, everything – musically, vocally, poetically, lyrically, and even conceptually – sucks more dong than Nathan Lane during The Birdcage. Grab some plastic: sh*t is about to fly!
Basically, Iced Earth configures its similar approach found on the band’s previous LP, Framing Armageddon, only done so with stuck-in-parking blandness. If you have not heard this abomination, I can only explain John Schaffer’s guitar work kills the effort, from melting numbers like “Sacrificial Kingdoms” right when it starts, but not to mention stillbirths enter throughout something as “Behold the Wicked Child” also. Why does he fail in such an area? Well, his ideas are completely invalid, leading to riffs that are not just generic, but as minimalistic as it gets. These “riffs” are so bad, I actually thought SPV sent a different release accidently; that is how terrible his guitar playing is. Solos do not do anything memorable besides making you wait for another frontier, again not aiding a single entity, while The Crucible of Man stays in its ass-to-mouth instrumentation. Brent Smedley? He is just a drummer: hitting this, bashing that…nothing special. Iced Earth is no longer Iced Earth; just paying tribute to themselves. A painful vision indeed!
But then Iced Earth fans wanted Matt Barlow back, so they whined and bitched until Schaffer gave it a thumbs-up. “Oh, his voice is so pretty,” they shout, flapping like N*SYNC fans. “He’s got red hair that we’d all blow ourselves over, and Barlow is SOOO emotional!” Yeah good for you guys, but here is an issue surfacing from his return: Barlow sucks like never before! Clearly, the extended absence Barlow obtained took its toll after Tribute to the Gods when he departed, because the list of things he cannot perform that was once inborn is horrendous. Notes are not hit as high, the falsetto factor is pathetic, his growls are faded and unprofessional, plus all salivations are cracked, or generally face-hitting. You fans asked, and you fans received: a feeble, tired man trying to recapture his false legacy built from emotional deception and mediocre talent. Wishing for what you want can really be a bitch, I suppose.
Amidst this fog of diarrhea, there are a few cuts providing true fundamentals we’d all expect from Barlow-era Iced Earth, with a little touch of simplicity that doesn’t reek like dung. “I Walk Alone” was the single choice, and for good reasoning; see its instrumentation for details. “Divide, Devour” also demonstrating sweet choir-choruses and thrash riffs like we’d hope for, again showcasing more flavors in a sea of vanilla. Finally, “A Gift or a Curse” is a cool tribal-laden ballad that seems quite unconventional alongside everything else, which ironically sounds like bowels moving. Three songs deserve mentioning, while the remaining twelve are atrocious beyond comprehension. How f*cking disgraceful!
Honestly, I am stunned how terrible this CD is; words cannot describe its violations upon Iced Earth’s original ideology forged when intelligence and poetics shined blissfully. So many things have been destroyed unlike anything I have ever seen, which bluntly means this band went from stellar to absolute puke in hardly a year. So in final judgment, The Crucible of Man is not just a bad album with minimal counterpoints, but some pathetic joke one should never experience. Not only is this abomination the worst item Iced Earth has ever heaved, it is a self-indulgent achievement that kicks Schaffer right in his egotistical sack, Barlow in his crude excuse for a voice, and Set Abominae into the grave. Sorry kids, but Iced Earth is dead.
CD Info and Links
Iced Earth - The Crucible of Man
Preview and Purchase This CD Online
Visit the official homepage
More articles for this artist
tell a friend about this review
Thrash Worthy Link