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Jon Schaffer returns with some unfinished business of sorts on the latest disc from his vehicle Iced Earth. Titled FRAMING ARMAGEDDON, this 19-track epic picks up where the 1998 SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES album left off, as Schaffer and crew use their traditional metal wares to flesh out this sc-fi fantasy. Thanks in part to a stunning vocal performance by Tim "Ripper" Owens, this disc blasts out of the gate with an epic metal swagger that showcases the band at its best, intertwining tumultuous emotional wranglings over an assault of constant metallic firepower on such rousing numbers as "Ten Thousand Strong" and the crunchy mid-tempo stomp "Retribution Through the Ages". Able to retain their durable Maiden/Helloween musical template without foregoing a fair share of experimenting with instrumentation and composition on cuts like the moody "The Clouding", FRAMING ARMAGEDDON finds Iced Earth thrashing through their brand of progressive power metal with all guns blazing.
- Mike SOS