U.S. metal masters ICED EARTH have released a jaw-dropping video for the song "Black Flag", taken from the band's latest album, "Incorruptible". The clip, directed and produced by Serbia's iCODE, can be seen below.
ICED EARTH guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer told Shockwave Magazine about "Black Flag": "It's actually a very accurate telling of some pirate history. It's a pretty big piece of history. I had the challenge of writing those lyrics coming up with a song that's five minutes long but the history of pirates is huge. It was difficult, but I didn't want to write a song and have it be cheesy and yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. I wanted this to be a vicious 'fuck you' to the empires that employed them. This song was really to show that the pirates were actually employed by the empires to stir up trouble for the other empires. If it was the British empire against the Dutch and Spanish or whatever, they would hire what they call privateers or mercenaries to go out and steal their shit, create problems for them, and create havoc. It was just a game that empires played and still play to this day to a degree. So this song is essentially the pirates' side of the story."
ICED EARTH will embark on the North American leg of the "Incorruptible" tour in late February. Support on the trek will come from SANCTUARY and KILL RITUAL.
"Incorruptible" was released on June 16 via Century Media. The cover artwork for the disc (as well as additional illustrations to every song) was created by David Newman-Stump from Skeleton Crew Tattoo (pencil illustrations) and Roy Young (colors).
Regarding how "Incorruptible" compares to previous ICED EARTH albums, 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."
Asked if he is the leader of ICED EARTH and everyone else in the band takes cues from him or if they make joint decisions as a group about how to approach things, Schaffer said: "I am the leader of the band and [I've been] the driving force of the band since the very beginning. [But] that does not mean that I don't take in the input of the guys on anything, you know what I mean? But as far as starting a cycle… I'm the chief songwriter, so… What I did, for instance, on ['Incorruptible'], I talked to Stu [Block, ICED EARTH singer], and said, 'Hey, you've gotta give me some lyrical themes of where you wanna go, titles, subject matter, whatever,' because it's my job to create the soundscape for that. And I knew where I was gonna go with the direction of the songs I was gonna write lyrically. And so he sent me some titles, and then whatever resonates with me, I've gotta be inspired by it in order to create that landscape that really is sort of like the soundtrack of a movie — it's very, very important. And then the other guys will send me riff ideas, and if it's fitting in and if it's a cool part… Luke [Appleton, bass] wrote the majority of a song called 'Defiance' on this record. So it depends on the song and what the parts are doing, if they're inspiring me and I run with it and go somewhere else or whatever — it can happen in all different ways — but definitely it starts here and I drive it the whole way through."
ICED EARTH took a break from touring in 2015, primarily due to Schaffer's second cervical fusion surgery.