Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Matt Spall's 30 favorite albums of 2017: number 27

The British music critic Matt Spall came up with 30 favorite albums. This is number 27.
Iced Earth
Century Media Records
“The accompanying press release sees the ever-confident and bullish Shafer referring to this album as one of their strongest and whilst I approached this hyperbole with caution, I now must agree with him…
What I like about this album so much is that it manages to blend powerful riffs and heavy music with plenty of melody and strong choruses to make the music truly memorable and rather addictive. Add in to the mix a sense of theatrics, drama and storytelling for which Iced Earth have become known and synonymous and suddenly things start to stack up in the right way.
…this has to be the most consistent record from Iced Earth for a significant number of years. In fact, as I alluded to earlier, this is without doubt their best release since ‘The Glorious Burden’ and it pushes the likes of ‘Horror Show’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ as one of their best ever releases. In short, ‘Incorruptible’ is unmistakably the sound of Iced Earth firing on all cylinders and I love it.”
Iced Earth never disappoints me. They may have suffered with line-up instability over the past few years and this might have led to a few releases that haven’t fully ignited the metal world. However, to say that any of their records have been poor would be unfair. But finally, after well over a decade, Iced Earth have delivered something approaching their best. And, as we all know, when Iced Earth are at the top of their game, they are a force to be reckoned with. Enter ‘Incorruptible’ to prove my point most eloquently.
‘Incorruptible’ is easily the most hungry-sounding Iced Earth album for some time and it is certainly the most varied, powerful and focused release since ‘The Glorious Burden’, maybe even longer. Speedy thrash, mid-tempo stompers, emotionally-charged ballads and a good old Schaffer epic – they are all present and correct on this album, making it a thoroughly engrossing and absorbing listening experience.
As always, Jon Schaffer’s riffs are out of the top drawer but this time, the lead work or newbie guitarist Jake Dreyer (Witherfall) more than adequately supports them. And so do the melodies which are some of the most consistently memorable since the American’s watershed moment, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’. Not only that but vocalist Stu Block sounds more composed and commanding than ever; blessed with a great voice, he has really grown into this role and made it his own.
However, in similar fashion to yesterday’s choice at no.28, the best thing about ‘Incorruptible’ is that every time I listen to it, I am reminded in no uncertain terms of all the reasons why I fell in love with Iced Earth in the first place. I grin, I headbang and I air-guitar…frequently.

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