ICED EARTH has completed work on its new album, “Incorruptible” (formerly “The Judas Goat”), for a mid-June release.
The track listing for the effort is as follows:
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)
10. Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)
Regarding how “Incorruptible” compares to previous ICED EARTH albums, guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer told Metal Wani: “They’re all kind of their own thing, but I have a very strong gut feeling about this, and so does everybody in the band, that this is one of the really special ones. So I put it up there with ‘The Dark Saga’ , ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ , ‘Dystopia’  — it’s in that league of records — so it’s really gonna be something special, man. I know musicians always say that, but there is something going on here, so it’s cool. We’re all very excited about it.”
On the topic of the concept for the lyrics on “Incorruptible”, Schaffer said: “There is no concept on this record; it’s just ten individual tracks not related to each other. Actually, on ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ , it was only the first six that were related to the ‘Something Wicked’ story; it was like a zombie apocalypse within the ‘Something Wicked’ framework. But this album, it’s just ten individual songs. We have one called ‘Clear The Way’, which is about the Irish Brigade at the Battle Of Fredericksburg — very tragic, actually — but that’s a big epic, like ten minutes; and then we have one called ‘Black Flag’, which is a pirate song. It’s quite a… I think I pulled it off pretty well with the lyrics, to be able to tell such a big story in a very short amount of time. I think it’s gonna be a highlight of the record. And then on [the last European] tour, [we opened] the show with a new song that will be the opener on the album — it’s called ‘Great Heathen Army’ — that’s got a Viking kind of a vibe to it. So there’s a lot of different things, and none of it’s really related. There’s one called ‘Raven Wing’… I can’t really think of all of them righ now… ‘Seven Headed Whore’ — that’s one that’s actually pretty brutal; it’s like a total kick in the balls. But, you know, there’s a lot of varied emotions on this, and it’s cool stuff, man.”
Asked about singer Stu Block‘s contribution to “Incorruptible”, Schaffer said: “Well, he came at the end of… for about the last month or so of pre-production… maybe a little bit more… five weeks… and we worked on his vocal parts. We do it like Stu and I normally do it. Some of the stuff we write together. I mean, I write the musical arrangements and do all that — he doesn’t play any instruments — but he comes in… At the end of the writing process is when we focus on his parts. And the lyrics that we worked on together, on a song called ‘Brother’, which is about our brotherhood, [between] Stu and I and within the band… We’ve gone through a lot of shit together and we’ve had a lot of great times together, but the bond is very strong, and that’s clear. So it’s just a song, really, for us. And then he wrote the lyrics for ‘The Great Heathen Army’. I’m trying to think… I can’t think of ’em, man; I have to look at the list [of songs]. But usually, he goes to an area and works, and I go in my area and work. And, like I said, on some songs we collaborate sometimes. On this one, the only we did was ‘Brother’… We work in the way we always work. And it’s a very cool chemistry.”
ICED EARTH took a break from touring in 2015, primarily due to Schaffer‘s second cervical fusion surgery.
Longtime ICED EARTH drummer Brent Smedley returned to the band for the current recording and touring cycle. Smedley had to step down due to personal family reasons in 2013 shortly before the recording of “Plagues Of Babylon”.