Their Sound Is Definitely Incorruptible, That’s For Sure
Power metal once dominated the ’80s. Riffs are as agile and energetic as the vocals that accompany them in such a nostalgic genre. And one of power metal’s pioneering groups have got to be Iced Earth, who have been around in almost pure original form since 1985. Their purity comes predominately from the band’s heart and soul, Jon Schaffer, since he’s been one of the only constants — besides Iced Earth’s sound — since their inception. The band have now reached their 12th studio album, Incorruptible, which, with a bit more thinking, has a deeper meaning than what’s understood at face value. No matter the previous rotation of members or current music trends, Iced Earth have never let their aural fixations face corruption. The new album definitely proves that.
There’s nothing quite like the classics, and Iced Earth’s battle with their own series of vocalists has been an example of this. While many fans still crave for the first set of vocals (Gene Adam on Enter the Earth and self-titled, John Greely on Night of the Stormrider), Matt Barlow fronted the band for nearly two decades. The most recent lead singer, Stu Block, certainly had some hefty shoes to fill, but he’s done quite well for himself on Iced Earth’s last three albums. Incorruptible is no different.
“Great Heathen Army” is an epic of an opening track. It’s true to its name by sounding entirely like a battle song. Schaffer takes his riffing back to an OG era. It’s archetypal Iced Earth at their finest, setting the tone for the rest of the album — though not always as strong. “Raven Wing” and “The Veil” are slightly more melodic as a whole, with Block’s vocal delivery taking on more of a mainstream, hard rock feel than on his normal ambitious output. It seems like this pair of tracks was Iced Earth’s attempt at adding varying elements to the album, but their execution doesn’t fit in with the rest of the songs.
Another sort of curveball comes later on Incorruptible with a track called “Ghost Dance (Awaken the Ancestors).” It centers around hints of traditional Native American chanting in a borderline appropriative manner that modern fans probably won’t be so privy to. Following that with “Brothers,” a bro-love anthem of sorts, feels like a slightly weird placement for another respectful solidarity track. “Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)” ends Incorruptible, incorporating elements of all the past tracks in an ideally surmising way; but it could be cut down by just a couple minutes.
For their 12th release, there isn’t really much deviation in their sound from when they initially came onto the scene. It’s reliable and consistent, but can get pretty old, pretty quickly. That must not be a bad thing, though, since they’ve been steady kicking for so long. Incorruptible is just another one to add to the books.