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Iced Earth
Incorruptible
June 2017
Released: 2017, Century Media Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

Here we are again. Jon Schaffer and his assembled metallians called Iced Earth have returned with their 12th full-length of original material. It’s the third straight album with the irrepressible Stu Block at the mic and you can make a case that this is now one of the most productive eras in Iced Earth’s storied history. The only lineup change of note this time out is that Jake Dreyer has joined the band as lead guitarist, replacing 9-year veteran Troy Seele.



Fans pretty much know what to expect from a new Iced Earth album and INCORRUPTIBLE delivers it in spades. The album kicks off with a building choir vocal before ripping into a trademark aggressive Schaffer riff for “Great Heathen Army”. Block then joins the fray with powerful vocals and just owns the place, as he has done since he joined the band. Heads are banging, and all is right with the world. From there things get even better with “Black Flag”, perhaps the angriest pirate metal song that Running Wild never wrote. Again, Block’s performance is charismatic as hell, taking the mid-paced cut to a higher level.



The album predictably moves through the Iced Earth catalogue of styles with a full-on thrasher (“Seven Headed Whore”), anthems, epics, quiet moments, and all points in between. I realize that may make it sounds like more of the same, and to an extent it is, but at this point in his career, Schaffer’s is out to please a very select group: himself and his fans. INCORRUPTIBLE delivers everything an Iced Earth fan will want to hear. If I have any complaint, it’s that there are a couple of tracks that just don’t stick with me (“The Veil”, “Ghost Dance”).



I should also mention the excellent rhythm section of Luke Appleton and Brent Smedley. Smedley’s been with the band for a long time now, and both he and Appleton are rock solid. As well Dreyer, by far the youngest member of the band at age 25, proves his worth with excellent lead guitar work throughout the album.



We’re now three albums into the Stu Block era of Iced Earth, bringing some much-needed stability to the band. With continually excellent performances, Block has clearly staked his claim as the equal of Matt Barlow and if not the best, then certainly the “co-best” vocalist the band has ever had. As well, each album has been terrific, proving the band is in a renaissance period equal to their past glory days. For fans, INCORRUPTIBLE is mandatory.
Track Listing

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)
8. Brothers
9. Defiance
10. Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)

Lineup

Stu Block: Vocals
Jon Schaffer: Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Jake Dreyer: Lead Guitar
Luke Appleton: Bass
Brent Smedley: Drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Iced Earth - Incorruptible
Previous review: » Iced Earth - Horror Show

Iced Earth
Incorruptible
July 2017
Released: 2017, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

Here in the U.S., June 16th was a long wait for and Iced Earth fan once it was penned this was to be the release date for their 13th studio effort INCORRUPTIBLE. Not that it was such a horrible wait due to the timelessness of their last release PLAUGES OF BABYLON. Yet as with any geek fan, (myself included) we always want more.



Many Iced Earth fans and metal heads in general have their Iced Earth eras they prefer. I don’t believe I can actually pick one. I have pretty much been a diehard fan since I picked up THE DARK SAGA shortly after it was released. So yes, this is going to be a little bias. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments in Iced Earth’s career where I questioned the music, but I can be as critical as I want and do so with all my favourite bands.



INCORRUPTIBLE in many ways sonically is an extension of their last offering. Maybe not lyrically, but musically. Schaffer and company do not disappoint on this one with plenty of galloping riffs which at times are almost thrash sounding. Melancholy to mid-tempo intros which are a staple in Iced Earth’s song writing all filled in with their signature bombastic head banging rhythms that charge full-speed ahead mowing down all in their way. Iced Earth is at the top of the heap when it comes to the U.S. power metal scene. Maybe even the world.



INCORRUPTIBLE may not be on the top of every ones list. One thing I never understood. But with that being said, this is an album that should be on the top of everyone’s year end list. By far the best album I have gotten my hands on so far this year. And to be fair, maybe I haven’t gotten too too many, but I got a lot.



Iced Earth has been, and will continue to be one of my favorite bands. Again, that does not automatically make this a great album. The fact that it is a great album makes it a great album.
Track Listing

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)
8. Brothers
9. Defiance
10. Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)

Lineup

Stu Block - Vocals
Jon Schaffer - Guitar, Keyboards,
Jake Dreyer - Guitar
Luke Appleton - Bass,
Brent Smedley - Drums,

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Iced Earth - Incorruptible
Previous review: » Iced Earth - Horror Show

Iced Earth
Incorruptible
August 2017
Released: June, Century Media
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

For a band that’s been around for nearly as long as I have, it’s definitely difficult to keep releasing new material and still sound fresh. That said, these guys have got through almost as many members as Spinal Tap, so that probably has something to do with it. Apparently over 500 guitarists auditioned to play on this album, with a chap called Jake Dreyer (who was born eight years after the band) winning it.



Two other newcomers are Luke Appleton (bass) and Stu Block (vocals). Now, whilst I really do admire Stu’s vocal range, and I really do, I do always find singing with those kind of falsettos a little bit ridiculous. Do you remember that OXO advert from a few years ago about Shepherd’s Pie (if you dont google it and you'll see what I mean)? I had a friend who was obsessed with King Diamond and every time I was drunk with him and it came on I’d start singing ‘shepherd’s pie’ in a falsetto as high as I could. It led to one of the only two times I was forcibly asked to leave Garlic and Shots. I digress.



Fans of the band are in no way going to be disappointed. This has got an epic style opener in the form of ‘Great Heathen Army’. ‘Raven Wing’ is a classic ballad-esque metal anthem, and everyone has crisp, technical playing, that is above all melodic rather than technical for the sake of it. ‘Seven Headed Whore’ is probably my favourite, even though their press release doesn’t claim it to be amongst the songs of metal greatness; if it’s only there as a filler, it’s a bloody good one.



Overall though, it’s a little lacklustre. There’s a heavier sound to the album from previous releases, but not by much, and whilst I’d never call them a one trick pony, it is a bit more of the same. But then, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Especially not if you like your metal to have a shepherd’s pie kind of a feel.
Track Listing

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)
8. Brothers
9. Defiance
10. Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)

Lineup

Jon Schaffer – rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, occasional lead vocals
Brent Smedley – drums
Stu Block – lead vocals
Luke Appleton – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jake Dreyer – lead guitar


Next review: » Iced Earth - Live In Ancient Kourion
Previous review: » Iced Earth - Horror Show





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