Iced Earth - Incorruptible
Century Media
Heavy Metal
10 songs (54:33)
Release year: 2017
Iced Earth, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat

After Dystopia proved that Iced Earth still very much had it in them, it was hard not to be disappointed by 2014's Plagues of Babylon – not a bad album, but hardly an exciting or even interesting one. The band played well and Stu Block is still an incredible vocalist, but the usual songwriting spark that elevates Iced Earth material just wasn't to be found. Fortunately it returns in full force for Incorruptible, the band's thirteenth full-length and third in a row with Block; the best with Block, too. Opening with Great Heathen Army, a nicely epic intro full of choirs and aggressive percussion leading to an aggressive heavy metal pounder with Block at full power, and guitarists Jon Schaffer and new guy Jake Dreyer (Witherfall, ex-White Wizzard) providing solid chugging and some beautifully widdly backing.

It feels much shorter than its five minute running time, as does much of the album that follows, with an excellent set of lyrics that touch on everything from pirates (Black Flag, setting a dignified slower pace) and shamanistic shape-shifting (Raven Wing, seeming gloomy and dull initially but among the album's best growers) to the evil deep state (Seven Headed Whore, a falsetto-filled thrashing metal thriller that's probably the album's most fun song). Ghost Dance (Awaken the Ancestors) is a terrific six-minute instrumental with Native American chanting and something of an Iron Maiden gone tribal feel. Even the band's by-now-typical ballads in The Veil and Brothers aren't bad, the fact that Iced Earth aren't afraid of committing emotionally always giving their slower songs an edge that's especially impressive to this repressed Englishman!

Throughout, Block is fantastic, a choice of vocalist worthy of being up there with Barlow and Owens as among the band's best. He really comes into his own in the closing nine-minute epic Clear the Way (December 13th 1862), Schaffer returning to the American Civil War for lyrical inspiration and telling the story of the Union's Irish Brigade in the Battle of Fredericksburg. It's a fascinating historical topic especially given the relative youth of America (the British Civil War having taken place well over 400 years ago) and given current tragic events in Charlottesville, still very much having modern relevance. The song itself is a strong heavy metal pounder driven by a powerful gang-shouted chorus and more Iron Maiden-y instrumental galloping, with a perfect break for a mournfully atmospheric battlefield lament, before the fist-pumping anthemic chorus returns. It's a great closer to a great album, one that's less spotty than Dystopia and definitely the best Iced Earth outing this decade; my love for the Something Wicked duo and The Glorious Burden prevents me from saying so, but I can see people praising this as the best since 2001's Horror Show too.

Killing Songs :
Great Heathen Army, Raven Wing, Seven Headed Whore, Ghost Dance (Awaken the Ancestors), Clear the Way (December 13th 1862)
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Iced Earth that we have reviewed:
Iced Earth - Dystopia reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Iced Earth - Iced Earth reviewed by Storm and quoted 48 / 100
Iced Earth - Night Of The Stormrider reviewed by Storm and quoted 99 / 100
Iced Earth - The Crucible of Man - Something Wicked Part 2 reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Iced Earth - Burnt Offerings reviewed by Storm and quoted 98 / 100
To see all 16 reviews click here
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