Written by Alex Stojanovic
Great Heathen Army
Seven Headed Whore
The Relic (Part 1)
Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)
Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Label: Century Media Records
Stu Block - Vocals Jon Schaffer - Rhythm, lead guitars & backing vocals Jake Dreyer - Lead guitars
Luke Appleton - Bass Brent Smedley - Drums
The hair-raising choir chants that lead off "Great Heathen Army" set the table perfectly for the storm that follows. The main riff then comes charging out of the gate like a stampede, accompanied by a piercing scream from Block. The chorus on this track is one of several on the record that stand out. A couple other examples of tracks with stand-out choruses are "Raven Wing" and "Defiance". Every Iced Earth record has those songs with that anthemic vibe that you know will work so well in a live setting. A perfect example is "The Veil". With soaring vocals in both the verses and chorus, you know that crowds will be singing along to this one. The musicianship is top notch, just as you'd expect with Iced Earth. The skilled interplay between Schaffer and new lead guitarist Jake Dreyer is astonishing. Drummer Brent Smedley and bassist Luke Appleton also make a fantastic rhythm section.
"Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)", the album's instrumental, will be a clear favourite with all those who appreciate great guitar work and are moved by incredible and uplifting melodies, like me. There's also no possible way that you can listen to the song and not have Iron Maiden in your head. If you love the thrashier sound from Night Of The Stormrider and Burnt Offerings, then "Seven Headed Whore" is just for you. The gallop in the riff might not be as fast as it is on those records, but it's still one of the most aggressive songs on this record. Block does an impeccable job as usual in the vocal department. One of his strongest moments is "Raven Wing" where during the intro, he really sounds like Matt Barlow a bit. I believe it's also one of the best songs Schaffer has written, and it sits in the echelon of songs like "A Question Of Heaven", "Damien" and "Watching Over Me".
Lyrically, "Brothers" talks about the bond between Schaffer and Block and all that they went through together. There's no doubt that many people will relate to the lyrics, especially with lines like "Moving forward, we will triumph / And our trust will never crumble / Every challenge we will face / Our bond is stronger every day." "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)" is nothing short of an epic closer. It's a 9 1/2 minute journey talking about the Irish Brigade during the Battle Of Fredericksburg with captivating riffs, excellent vocal work and a fantastic chorus. Unlike Plagues Of Babylon, which may have contained a few more slightly softer sounding tracks, but is still a fantastic record through and through, there aren't any ballads or soft tracks to be found on this record, except for a few softer moments in some songs.
Incorruptible delivers everything we've come to expect from Iced Earth, while still sounding new, fresh and exciting, without really any moment of redundancy to be found. Not a lot of bands can do that. This is a band that doesn't rely or needs to rely on their previous efforts to survive. Schaffer's creative juices are still flowing strong after almost 30 years and 12 studio releases, and this record is just another worthy addition to your record collection.
Highs: "Great Heathen Army", "Raven Wing", "The Veil", "Ghost Dance" and "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)"
Lows: Those looking for something different from Iced Earth will not get it.
Final Rating: 9.5/10