Iced Earth dropped their 12th studio album entitled Incorruptible on June 16, 2017 through Century Media. The masterpiece was produced by mastermind Jon Schaffer, plays for 54 minutes and 33 seconds, and encompasses 10 brand-new tracks from which I especially love the closing title Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862).
There is no recurring theme when reading through reviews of Incorruptible thus far. Some reviewers like it, some don’t. Nevertheless, I have chosen to mention the ‘nicer’ reviews here, because I urge everyone who likes rock and heavy metal to listen to this gem.
Stefan Nilsson at roppongirocks.com puts it just like a feel: “In the current version of Iced Earth, guitarist Jon Schaffer is the only original member who is still in the band. It doesn’t matter, because on their new album, “Incorruptible”, they sound better than they have in a long time. This is great stuff.” Given that I can’t consider myself a fan, but a casual Iced Earth listener (who might turn into a fan!), I can state from my perspective, Incorruptible is one of the strongest efforts of the band to date. No other Iced Earth album has drawn me in like this one since the turn of the century.
ScreamingSteelUS at metalstorm.net underlines my point by noting, “I think it’s too early to tell if Incorruptible will be remembered among Iced Earth’s strongest works in the future, but some of these pieces unquestionably will be, and it’s good to know that the constantly changing lineup has once again failed to slow Jon Schaffer’s riff machine.” Oh yeah, important to mention: Jon’s riffs on Incorruptible are as fantastically heavy as always not more. In fact, the whole songwriting is top-notch, as well as the production. More kudos to Jon Schaffer for this.
And, Man of Much Metal underlines my statement, “Mind you, I’m struggling to pick out any of the songs on ‘Incorruptible’ that demonstrate a lessening of the quality as I genuinely like them all. In that respect, this has to be the most consistent record from Iced Earth for a significant number of years. In fact, […] this is without doubt their best release since ‘The Glorious Burden’ and it pushes the likes of ‘Horror Show’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ as one of their best ever releases. In short, ‘Incorruptible’ is unmistakably the sound of Iced Earth firing on all cylinders and I love it.”
I didn’t know what exactly to expect when I pushed play to listen to Incorruptible. The album felt like a concept album from a production point of view, as well as from a songwriting point of view – not sure Jon meant it to be, but it definitely led me through a wonderful heavy metal world while keeping me on a well-defined path. Lior “Steinmetal” Stein at metal-temple.com seems to have felt similarly, writing, “Ranging from the robust energies and heaviness, which made me a crazed follower of band more than fifteen years, through the climactic echoes to the alleviating moments, ICED EARTH is everywhere. As if setting the listener on a journey through the ever shifting mindset of their creation, their resolve be done. […] It would appear to me that ICED EARTH of the last decade has been striking gold, writing albums that should become one with the classics. “Incorruptible” joins the fold today.”
Dan McHugh at distortedsoundmag.com summarised the beauty of Incorruptible perfectly, “Incorruptible is a brilliant combination of memorable and thought provoking content that makes you feel an immediate connection with the music and the concepts encountered along the way. It has that aura about it that you feel it has the potential to stand the test of time and stand out amongst the abundance of phenomenal albums ICED EARTH have amassed throughout their career and it is a true testament to the hunger, drive and unshakable will of Jon Schaffer. The compositions are very approachable and digestible which will appeal to their ever expanding fan base as well as grasping the attention of any newcomers to the wonderfully intricate and vibrant world of ICED EARTH.”
In conclusion: Iced Earth’s 12th studio album Incorruptible is a heavy metal masterpiece that leads its listener through a well-defined thrash metal world touching upon a variety of traditional aspects of the genre. Jon Schaffer’s riffs, songwriting (including contributions by singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton), and production on Incorruptible will stand the test of time, given that the album is an instant classic in my book. If you’re not familiar with Iced Earth yet, this is the album you should pick up to get the foot in the door. I love it and can’t wait to hear some of these songs live. …Oh, and get the Deluxe CD and Double 10″ Artbook edition. It is gorgeous!
Here an interview we did with Jon Schaffer during the 2016 MTV Headbangers Ball tour in Switzerland for #fhtz: