HEAVY METAL ISN’T A FAD. IT’S A LIFESTYLE. IT’S A COMMITMENT.
“Iced Earth is my vehicle to write songs and to move people,” says founding member and songwriter Jon Schaffer. “That’s my thing, since the very beginning. Making records is a testament. They’ll outlive us. They’ll be here many years after I’m gone. What keeps the flame burning? I’m still hungry. I still have plenty to say as a writer. When the day comes that I feel that I have nothing left to express, well, then I’m done. Then, I’ll know it’s over. I don’t want the brand I’ve dedicated my life to, to fall to mediocrity, or worse. I want to end on a high note. That being said, the guys and I still have a lot of records left in us.”
Indeed, after nearly three dedicated decades, Schaffer, drummer Brent Smedley, vocalist Stu Block, bassist Luke Appleton, and new guitarist Jake Dreyer have assembled the fiercest Iced Earth record since 1996 milestone The Dark Saga and 1998’s chart-blazer Something Wicked This Way Comes. Titled Incorruptible, Iced Earth’s 12th record is inspired not by things political but by things personal. Since Plagues of Babylon landed in 2014 to heaps of praise and chart-topping success, Schaffer and team have weathered proverbial storms. Management shake-ups, Schaffer’s well-publicized and very serious neck surgery—he’s since fully recovered—and lineup shifts all played positively into Incorruptible. But that wasn’t always the case.
“The Judas Goat was the tentative title,” Schaffer reveals. “Had I focused on writing earlier, it would’ve been a much more negative and darker record. We were pretty pissed off. It was good that we calmed down. I focused on healing, and then building the HQ. It turned out positive. That’s why I called it Incorruptible. At the end of the day, no matter what I’ve gone through, my vision for Iced Earth has been incorruptible. There isn’t enough money on the planet to change why I do this. No matter the hardships, the ups and downs—things most bands wouldn’t survive through—I just don’t quit. I’m not going to give up. My integrity and my vision for the band are not for sale. We’re incorruptible.”