Iced Earth are set to start work on a new album after mainman Jon Schaffer’s recovery from neck surgery.
Schaffer went under the knife last year to repair a long-standing problem in his neck – the second time he has been through the procedure. The band were forced to cancel a number of shows in the run-up to the surgery.
But with the guitarist back to full fitness, the band will shortly begin writing their 12th album, tentatively titled The Judas Goat. They plan to launch a full touring cycle in early 2016.
Schaffer says: “The recovery after this surgery has been more difficult than the first time around in 2000. Although there have been a few setbacks, I am confident that I’m ready to resume my duties in Iced Earth, directing my full attention to the creative process, production, and touring future of the band.
“We are looking forward to songwriting and getting back in the studio. The creative direction of the new album is rife with intense and heavy emotions, as one would expect from an Iced Earth record, as well as a wide variety of lyrical inspirations and themes.
“I am 100% confident that the bond our band has forged in these last several years will shine through in the music. It’s a brotherhood in every way, and the fans will feel that. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys and everything we’ve achieved together.”
And there’s more good news for fans, as drummer Brent Smedley will return to the band after stepping down in 2013 to deal with personal family issues before the recording of last album Plagues Of Babylon. Raphael Saini handled drums on the 2014 release.
Schaffer adds: “We are very pleased to have Brent joining us once again. He’s always been a brother and an important part of the Iced Earth legacy.”