One of the most well-known Iced Earth lyrics ‘I had a friend many years ago, one tragic night he died’ can almost be used to describe my fangirl level of the band. Some years ago I used to put on their music quite a lot and visited multiple shows a year. I was pretty obsessed with Matt Barlow, and even though I saw Stu do at least as great, Dystopia just didn’t hit me and my interest faded away.
That was until the band released their new, 12th full length, album Incorruptible not long ago. I got asked to write a few words about this one, and since I ‘used to’ like them that much I decided I would love to hear some new material. When listening to the album I immediately got that same feeling I always had, those many years ago. Thís is the Iced Earth I fell in love with and adored so much.
Incorruptible is an energetic album with a clear sound and no loose ends. It’s obvious that they have put a lot of time and energy in recording the album; recording took place in Schaffer his own, new gained, studio Independence Hall.
The album is all that you would expect from Iced Earth. It is bombastic, has powerful riffs and Stu his vocals that reach from very high to very low are all over it. I know that this man can sing, I have witnessed it on stage, but he seemed to have given it all a little extra this time. On guitars, Schaffer doesn’t have to proof anymore that he knows how to play, but new kid on the block Jake Dreyer isn’t inferior to him as we hear in his many solos and general guitar play.
The general sound on the album is the familiar Iced Earth sound that you know from earlier years. From the enchanting intro at the start of Great Heathen Army until the last tunes of the anthem Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862) there is an epicness that doesn’t stop. There is a good balance in variety between the more catchier songs like Black Flag and The Veil, a (power) ballad like Brothers and some harder material like Seven Headed Whore or Defiance. Even an instrumental song, Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors) can be found on the album.
(Civil) War still takes the lead role, when it comes to the lyrics, and even though some of the songs fit perfectly into the Something Wicked area, Schaffer let go of this general theme and the lyrics of Incorruptible are varied.
In general Iced Earth made quite the comeback for me with Incorruptible. The album elaborates on the success story of the Something Wicked area. It might overrule those days, but it certainly is an improvement compared to Dystopia and Plagues of Babylon. The sound is familiar, but varied enough to not get bored of it. I can’t wait to see them live later on this summer!
Label: Century Media
Release date: June 16th 2017
1. Great Heathen Army
2. Black Flag
3. Raven Wing
4. The Veil
5. Seven Headed Whore
6. The Relic (Part 1)
7. Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)
10. Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)