Search - Iced Earth :: Dark Saga

Dark Saga
Iced Earth
Dark Saga
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Iced Earth
Title: Dark Saga
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Century Media
Original Release Date: 7/23/1996
Release Date: 7/23/1996
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Metal, Thrash & Speed Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 727701783123, 5051099713123, 7277017713114, 7277017713121, 7277017713145, 7277017713619, 7277017713626, 727701782928

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CD Reviews

Metal Now & Forever
The Hunter | From the Depths of Fairfax | 05/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been into heavy metal for almost 20 years now. In fact in the mid-to-late 1980's, I rarely listened to anything else. During that time, I listened to bands such as Metallica, Anthrax, Accept, Iron Maiden, and Helloween. Around 1990, the heavy metal scene as I knew it faded to glam metal. Not only that, bands such as Metallica and Anthrax changed their style and I slowly lost interest. Of course, Metal never died but it was harder to find because many radio stations stopped dedicating time for Metal.Then my friend turned me on to this album. It was a re-birth. Believe me, if you were into Metal in the mid-80's and are disgusted with the music scene nowadays give this album a try. I think you will not be disappointed. In fact, you may find yourself buying other Iced Earth albums (like myself) and complete the collection.Unfortunately even with my best attempt, I can't convert how good the music is to words. Simply stated, there are NO bad songs on this album! If you like "speed" metal, you probably will love Violate; it is concentrated energy. "Dark Saga" is another highly addictive song; the first time I listened to this song, I didn't have time to listen to the rest of the album, because I kept playing the song over and over again! The best way that I can describe "Dark Saga" is grinding bass guitar that is complemented very well with forceful-in-your-face vocals. In a "Question Of Heaven", the vocals are just as forceful, but even more incrediable. The vocals span several octives throughout the song. The lyrics are trully a masterpiece because all of the songs are related to each and tell one complete story! It is trully rare when an artist does this. The only other bands that come to mind are the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, and Rush (but I may have forgotten a few others)? For example, "Scarred" is about when a person who gets touched by the devil and sold his soul only to find out he will be denied of heaven. "Slave to the Dark" is about the same guy who is torn between his evil power (or is it really Lucifier's power) and what is good (which is deep inside of him). Then "A Question of Heaven" is about the same person who is now close to death and trying to get into heaven. He demands that he be permitted to enter heaven, but angels sing back to him denying his request. At the point of death the person, is forced to make a choice between good or evil. (I will not disclose his ultimate decision). Without going into too much detail the other songs are related to good versus evil. To the band members of Iced Earth, you guys deserve an Emmy! It is very rare that an album of this magnitude and caliber is produced in the record industry. Thanks for being different by not selling-out to the almighty dollar. Metal Now & Forever."
The True Sound of Spawn!
The Wickerman | Austin, TX | 06/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wow, what a great album! Can Iced Earth ever fail? It's also awesome that they did a concept album based on "Spawn", which just happens to be my favorite work of fiction (outside of novels, of course), so I'm glad that my favorite band did this. They really bring the story to life as no one else could. Songs like "Vengeance is Mine" and "Slave to the Dark" prove their nearly unmatched thrash metal prowess (surpassed only by early Metallica), but I'd say that the track that stands out the most is "A Question of Heaven". It's almost 8 minutes long, and alternates between soft and heavy, which I really like in a song. However, as great as this album is, it still doesn't match the genius of "Something Wicked This Way Comes", mainly because it lacks Larry Tarnowski's godlike soloing. Randall Shawyer is really good, but he can't compare. Anyway, if you love great metal, you must buy this album. Iced Earth rules!"
A dark, emotional masterpiece.
Lord Chimp | Monkey World | 11/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Compared to its predecessor Burnt Offerings, The Dark Saga is a less experimental entry into Iced Earth's catalogue. Musically, it is simpler (but not simplistic), more melodic, and it concentrates heavily on emotion. Has Iced Earth gone soft? Definitely not. This is one of their finest and most mature works of songwriting, but it maintains all of Iced Earth's trademark heaviness and power, a quality enhanced by the best production qualities to date.The Dark Saga is a concept album based on the comic book "Spawn." If you are thinking, "Hey, that's cheesy!" let me stress that the band handles this extremely well. Firstly, Spawn was a very mature story, dealing with the ambiguities of good & evil, religion, and lost love. Secondly, the lyrics remain strictly poetic and obscure without falling into the trap where narration supersedes good poetry. (It's a problem that besets most concept works.) To truly appreciate the emotional impact of the album, however, one requires some familiarity with the comic book. However, in an abstract sense it may be easy to appreciate the emotions and conflicts involved. I haven't read Spawn myself in YEARS, but I always liked it.Jon Schaffer (a monster of a rhythm player) uses more guitar harmonies (a la Iron Maiden) than ever, which weave a melodic finesse through the album. "Hunter" and "Slave to the Dark" are heavy songs, but the harmonized guitar lines lend them a very melodic inflection. Matt Barlow's incredible vocals are more passionate than ever before. Listening to "I Died For You" and "A Question of Heaven," it's impossible not to think he's a soulful performer. "Violate" is one of the few tracks where The Dark Saga enters pure thrash. The pulverizing guitars fit well with the gruesome lyric. "Vengeance Is Mine" is a vicious, thrash-powered piece that is absolutely bloodthirsty.My favorite song is the tragic, epic-structured "A Question of Heaven," where beautiful acoustic moments are juxtaposed with Schaffer's robust chugging rhythms. The female vocals of Kate Barlow create the angelic choirs, which injects the song with a soft, radiant feel. Matt's vocals are at their absolute best, with unmatched emotional expression that will stir the feelings of anyone with a heart. Randall Shawyer's leads are melodic and emotionally charged. This is definitely one of my favorite songs ever. Now I will offer my take on the album's story in a broad sense (not limited to the Spawn comic):"Dark Saga" - Our hero has died. Not being a good guy in life, he winds up in Hell. However, sinners are not necessarily incapable of love -- our hero had a wife who he loved dearly. So the devil makes a deal with him: if the hero sells his soul to the devil and serves his dark machinations, he can return to Earth and see his wife. Like a fool, he jumps at the offer without considering the cost."I Died for You" - Our hero returns to Earth five years later. He finds that his wife has remarried his best friend, and both are very happy with a new daughter. He has sold his soul for nothing."Violate" - The devil has sent a demon to guide the hero during his time on Earth. This creature is the Violator, who walks in the guise of an ugly, fat clown who likes to indiscriminately kill at random. This song is the gruesome exposition of this creature's nature. This has more importance in the comic than The Dark Saga, but it makes for a good headbangin' track."Hunter" - Heaven dispatches an angelic warrior to destroy the new servent of Hell. The hero evades her clutches though. Again, this isn't necessarily important to the concept other than reflecting the fact that Heaven is against the main character."The Last Laugh" - The devil considers his new servent. He revels in the helplessness of his slave."Depths of Hell" - Here, the hero is seeking to reject his new role, and he finds himself with no allies. Rebuking the devil, he is Hell's enemy. As a soldier of Hell, Heaven wants him destroyed."Vengeance is Mine" - Perhaps in an attempt to reconcile the being he has become, the hero brutally kills a psychotic child murderer as retribution. Is he on the road to righteousness?"Scarred" - In the final trilogy things become more ambiguous. Here, the hero reflects on his situation. Is he in control, or merely a pawn in the battle of Heaven and Hell?"Slave to the Dark" - The character's inner reflection probes deeper, and he concludes he must seek God's forgiveness if he is to break free."A Question of Heaven" - The hero tries to enter Heaven. But the angels sing back to him, telling him cannot enter because of the path he has chosen. God rejects him. We can empathize with our hero because in the story's closed system, he is the good guy. The Dark Saga ends with a nightmare where our hero is condemned to suffer because he gave up everything for love."