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Iced Earth - Incorruptible review


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Band: Iced Earth
Album: Incorruptible
Release date: June 2017

01. Great Heathen Army
02. Black Flag
03. Raven Wing
04. The Veil
05. Seven Headed Whore
06. The Relic (Part 1)
07. Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)
08. Brothers
09. Defiance
10. Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)

If there was one album that I really looked forward to in 2017, it was this one. But did Jon Schaffer and co live up to my expectations with Incorruptible?

Well, not really. Don't get me wrong; I still think this album has some really good songs on it, but I can't shake off the feeling that it's my least favourite album with Stu on vocals. I can perfectly imagine that many people will prefer this album over the previous one. But there are two main reasons why I like Plagues Of Babylon more: vocals and production.

Now, with vocals, I don't mean that Stu doesn't do a good job on this album. Dystopia always gave me the feeling that they wanted Stu to sound like Matt, while on Plagues Of Babylon I got the feeling that they gave him a bit more freedom to use his vocal capabilities. That contributed a lot to my overall fondness for that record. On Incorruptible it sounds like they want him to sound like Barlow again. I love Barlow as a vocalist, so in essence I have no problem with the vocals on this record. It just feels like they waste a lot of Stu's incredible range as a vocalist.

Is this album well-produced? Yes. Compare it to Plagues Of Babylon though and you get a feeling that the production feels more thin. What do I mean by that? Well, it feels less bombastic. The drums don't have a deep sound like on the previous album and the production of the guitars doesn't feel as aggressive. I miss a bit of atmosphere. While the previous album immediately gives a dark and deep vibe, this one just doesn't (at least not for me). Some of the songs do manage to capture some atmosphere (I'm thinking about "The Veil", "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)", and the intro to "Black Flag") but it's not as consistent as on the two previous records.

Lyrics-wise it's very similar to the previous records. Some cheesy moments, like "Brothers", "Black Flag", and "Defiance". Songs like "Raven Wing", "Seven Headed Whore", and "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)", on the other hand, have some very good lyrics, in my opinion.

"Seven Headed Whore", "Defiance", and "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)" have some great hard-hitting moments, some of the best moments on the album, in my opinion. The ending track especially is a very nice epic and a great finisher for the album (fans of the Gettysburg trilogy will definitely enjoy this one a lot).

Incorruptible also shows a bit more creativity. The addition of folk elements in some of the songs really contributes to that and also helps with creating a bit more variety.

Do I recommend listening to it? Yes. It's far from my favourite Iced Earth album but I still overall enjoyed listening to it. And while I won't be listening through the whole album very often, there are songs on here that I will definitely listen to on a very regular basis.

3 favourite tracks: "Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)", "Seven Headed Whore", and "Raven Wing"
3 least favourite tracks: "Brothers" (by far my least favourite track on Incorruptible), "The Relic (Part 1)", and "Black Flag" (starts off with a strong intro but becomes rather dull and predictable after that).

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written by tominator | 15.02.2018

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Incorruptible, like Plagues Of Babylon, lacks the visceral, unrelenting songwriting and crisp production of Dystopia; it doesn't hit as hard or as immediately. While that's a hard claim to back up when "Great Heathen Army" kicks off the album with Stu Block screeching, "VALHALLA!" at the top of his lungs, the first half of the album is more of a slow burn. It's the second half of the album - the folk-influenced instrumental whirlwind of "Ghost Dance," the earnest and moving tribute to camaraderie in "Brothers," and the second strike of epic lightning in "Clear The Way" - that really takes off from the moment of first contact.

published 10.06.2017 | Comments (8)

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