Iced Earth
Incorruptible


3.5
great

Review

by manosg STAFF
June 18th, 2017 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More varied and dynamic than anything released post-The Glorious Burden, Incorruptible is a solid comeback and an album for fans of Iced Earth.

It’s been almost 20 years since Iced Earth were labeled by press and fans the next best thing in heavy metal. In a decade where metal was almost outlawed, Schaffer and Co. enjoyed their creative peak and released an array of material which ranged from great to classic within the genre. In the meantime, Jon Schaffer established himself as the best right hand of the ‘90s and offered us an infinite number of triplets played in every possible manner. Nevertheless, all of that had to end sometime and The Glorious Burden was a happy end especially due to the Gettysburg Trilogy, arguably the band’s greatest musical achievement. What happened after 2004 is to a certain extent a matter of perspective and partly factual. Iced Earth have been wildly inconsistent or painfully mediocre, but objectively far from their creative heights.

Incorruptible, the US power metal outfit’s 12th release, musically stands somewhere between the band’s golden days and The Glorious Burden. In fact, if it was released after Something Wicked This Way Comes, it would be perceived as a very logical progression. While listening to the LP, longtime fans will likely experience numerous instances of deja vu and a strong sense of familiarity. This might deduct a few originality points but at least we get to avoid the bloated, over-produced mess that came with Framing Armageddon and Crucible of Man.

In addition, even though we might not have another “Dante’s Inferno”, a “Something Wicked Trilogy” or “A Question of Heaven” in our hands, Incorruptible features some of the strongest material in the band’s recent history. The pirate-influenced Black Flack features some very catchy vocal melodies – an element which made Dark Saga a classic – and a solid guitar solo, courtesy of new lead guitarist Jake Dreyer (Witherfall). The same apply in the case of “Raven Wing”, a very representative sample of the mid-tempo moments of the album. Of course, there are thrashier tracks such as the energetic opener “Great Heathen Army”, “Seven Headed Whore” (with the Slayer-esque opening) and “Defiance” which give singer Stu Block the chance to show his Ripper (or Halford)-type high pitched vocals.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of songs which are not as strong as the aforementioned ones. “The Veil” is somewhat flat and borders on filler and “The Relic (Part 1)” is saved by some nice guitar leads, drum fills and its atmosphere. However, what separates Incorruptible from previous average albums is the lack of clunkers. For example, “The Relic (Part 1)” might be average, but works almost ideally as a link to “Ghost Dance (Awaken the Ancestors)”; Iced Earth’s best instrumental since “1776”, it features some memorable harmonies and melodies even though it could have been slightly trimmed. And of course, no Jon Schaffer album can exist without a true epic. On Incorruptible, he revisits in a sense the Gettysburg Trilogy with the addition of “Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)”; a 9-and-a-half minute epic which describes the Battle Of Fredericksburg from the perspective of the Irish Brigade. In typical “Gettysburg” fashion, it transfers the listener to the battlefield with folk instruments and cannonball-like drumming. Needles to say, it is one of the album’s highlights.

At the end of the day, the album’s biggest merit might be its most significant weakness and it is no other than the brand name on the cover and the body of work that comes with it. Remove it and you’ll instantly lose the largest percentage of listeners but try to imagine if Iced Earth never existed and an album of such quality gets released in 2017 by another band; what would its reception be?



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user ratings (74)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (3.5)
...

John M (3.5)
Another solid release from Iced Earth. Here's hoping they keep this singer....


Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This one felt slightly underwhelming on first listen but has grown significantly on me. As a whole it is greater than the sum of its parts.

Digging: Sorcerer - The Crowning of the Fire King

EvoHavok
June 18th 2017


7191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So this ended up being the 100th review, eh?

Good to see a more positive, well-written outlook.

Digging: Ningen-Isu - Ijigen Kara no Hoko

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Due to lack of time yes but the anniversary review isn't off the table yet. Probably at some point during my summer holidays, I will try to review something more special/celebratory ;)

dante1991
June 18th 2017


635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Enjoyed this album far more than Plagues, which was quite boring in parts. Ghost Dance and Clear the Way in particular kick ass.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely, this is much more dynamic. Plagues wasn't bad but as you say boring in parts and nothing special really.

ChaoticVortex
June 18th 2017


484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dystopia was very solid IMO. Will check it out, but I hope the production is better than Plagues, the thin as paper guitar sound on that still haunts me.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you won't disappointed, Vortex. Haven't jammed Plagues since it came out but the production on here is pretty good.

rodrigo90
June 18th 2017


3129 Comments


I actually try to listen to European power metal bands, but this band and symphony X are excellent.

rodrigo90
June 18th 2017


3129 Comments


I want a sequel of the spawn album.

deslad
June 18th 2017


597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review manos, congrats on your 100th! Pretty solid album and great production agreed.

Digging: Fenton Robinson - Somebody Loan Me A Dime

Piripichotes
June 18th 2017


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guitar tone is good, reminds me of demons & wizards' debut. It shares some vibes to that album, and manosg you're right when you say that this would've been the logical progression to SWTWC.



IMO this is somewhat better that the glorious burden...

Digging: Enslaved - E

Piripichotes
June 18th 2017


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hated horror show... I couldn't connect it to SWTWC.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks des, I appreciate it!



Agreed Piripichotes, the guitar tone here is very good and your comment reminded me that Schaffer and Kursch are preparing and new D&W album which is good news.

kingdedethefifth
June 18th 2017


3933 Comments


Sweet review as usual manosg, maybe I oughtta check Iced Earth someday.

Flugmorph
June 18th 2017


17298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

rodrigo



never change

Digging: Enter Shikari - The Spark

Piripichotes
June 18th 2017


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't know about that manosg, I thought they argued back in the day because Schaffer had used some songs that were gonna be used for the next D&W... am I wrong?



Great review BTW!

south_of_heaven 11
June 18th 2017


5489 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Starts off great, drags a bit in the middle, finishes really strong. Overall, good album. Definitely been enjoying it.

Ebola
June 18th 2017


2842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is surprisingly decent

BlackLlama
June 18th 2017


2145 Comments


I will listen to this at work tomorrow. Dark Saga/SWTWC was an excellent one, two punch.

Flugmorph
June 19th 2017


17298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this type of metal is doing nothing for me anymore

rip



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