Iced Earth – ‘Incorruptible’ (Century Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Marc Leach   
Monday, 19 June 2017 04:12

Iced Earth - IncorruptibleWhen it comes to the heavy metal genre there is one band who have continued to carry the flag for well over three decades. Yes, it’s none other than Jon Schaffer and his group of merry men (one member being Luke Appleton who has been a special contributor for Über Rock), or Iced Earth for short as they unleash their 12th record to the world, entitled ‘Incorruptible.’


After reading into the back story behind this album it sure did sound like the band had been through a lot since their 2014 release, ‘Plagues Of Babylon.’ From the usual line-up changes, to Schaffer’s cervical fashion surgery, to the album originally being called ‘The Judas Goat’ - thank goodness they nipped that in the bud. But as they always say, there is no rest for the wicked - which definitely can be said here as the band take their listener to Valhalla for the album’s opener ‘Great Heathen Army.’ It is here where the pace of the album is set - once you get past the ominous choral introduction to lead vocalist Stu Block’s high pitched, ‘VAL-HAL-LA!’


From the Vikings to the swashbuckling pirates, ‘Black Flag’ gives the impression that Iced Earth have been listening to some Alestorm when writing this track. It is here where lead guitarist Jake Dreyer’s sensational guitar wankery truly starts to show.


While the pace of album starts to slow down with tracks such as ‘Raven Wing,’ it’s the utter balls to the wall ‘Seven Headed Whore’ which brings the thunder back to this record. Certainly the strongest piece off the album, chocked full of riffs plus Stu Block once again shows his outstanding yet terrifying vocal ability for this song which is destructive of biblical proportions.



The musicianship of Iced Earth is always second to none and this is on show during the over six minute instrumental ‘Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)’ where each musician of the band play a key role for this ritualistic track; from the dual guitar riffs from both Schaffer and Dreyer to the brilliant drum work from Brent Smedley.


As stated at the start of this review, Schaffer has been through some hard times, both personal and band related, but it’s the track ‘Brothers’ which is a light in the dark. The track itself was written about the chemistry between the both band’s founder and Block who have helped see each other through the dark times since Block joined during the ‘Dystopia’ era.



What a better way to end the album than by writing a piece that is a nine minute epic entitled ‘Clear The Way (December 13th 1862)’? For all you history buffs, this track talks of the Irish Brigade’s involvement at the Battle Of Fredericksburg during the American Civil War - and it is here where the band Irish this track up a little bit by combining both a Thin Lizzy influence plus the use of celtic pipes throughout; certainly a track that is worth sitting through each minute of.


I have to say this album is pretty good - it’s not amazing, but it’s good; my reason for this only being ‘good’ is that I felt the album itself is pretty flat in parts. Yeah, there are a couple of good songs (‘Seven Headed Whore’, ‘Brothers’ and ‘Clear The Way’ being my personal favourites) on it, and the production is stunning, but I felt bored a good number of times.


Now, don’t take my word for it because, even though I felt this way, Iced Earth still continue to prove that are one of the most dominant forces in heavy metal who will never go away, despite all the bullshit.


‘Incorruptible’ was released last Friday (16 June).


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