Iced Earth - 'Incorruptible'

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Iced Earth - 'Incorruptible'

Finely honed Metal par excellence.

Showing remarkable parallels (sic) with the story of fellow Americans Fates Warning, Iced Earth started their journey more than three decades ago as strictly second division Iron Maiden wannabees. However, after a couple of fairly mediocre, some might even say directionless studio albums, something clicked, and by the time they hit 1998's watershed 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' opus, their emergent talents were (quite justly) receiving accolades from around the globe.

IE were always a band operating at the more extreme end of the Heavy Metal spectrum; whilst their drive and voracity has never diminished, an altogether more complex cloak of Progressive influences has seen them transcended their roots and turned theirs into one of the most instantly recognisable sounds in the business. Over the years they've had more than their fair share of highs and lows, line-up/management changes and health issues, but at the end of it all they've emerged stronger than ever. The one constant on that epic journey has been guitarist Jon Schaffer, his unwavering vision shaping the band into the finely honed machine it is today.

Two parts Maiden, one part Judas Priest, a dash of Technical Thrash, a pinch of Savatage and one part Queensrӱche, Iced Earth have always impressed the hell out of me for their steadfast refusal to do it any way but their own, an enviable trait once again embodied in full-on latest studio album 'Incorruptible' (their twelfth). Dark and melodramatic, intense and harrowing at times, yet at others starkly beautiful – check out the haunting 'The Relic (Part 1)' and you'll see where the latter comes from – their particularly caustic brand of bile-infused rifferama kicks you in the balls from the get go.

"New" guitarist Jake Dreyer (ex-White Wizzard) seems to have found his feet in a remarkably short space of time, the controlled ferocity of his interchanges with Schaffer really helping to define darkly complex compositions such as 'Raven Wing', 'Black Flag' and epic closer 'Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)'. Vocalist Stu Block also deserves special mention, his angst-ridden histrionics the closest Modern Metal has to classic Jon Oliva!

It'll probably scare the shit out of yer granny, but 'Incorruptible' is finely honed Metal par excellence nonetheless!

Dave Cockett

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