ICED EARTH is set to begin the writing process for its twelfth studio album this spring.

After a short hiatus — primarily due to founder, chief songwriter, and guitarist Jon Schaffer‘s second cervical fusion surgery — the band is planning their schedule for the remainder of the year.

ICED EARTH fans can expect the next album, tentatively titled “The Judas Goat”, and the subsequent touring cycle to begin in early 2016.

Schaffer comments on his recovery and the direction of the new album: “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.”

He continues: “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 percent 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.’

Longtime ICED EARTH drummer Brent Smedley will return to the band for the next recording and touring cycle. Smedley had to step down due to personal family reasons in 2013 shortly before the recording of “Plagues Of Babylon”.

“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,” says Schaffer.

ICED EARTH ‘s latest album, “Plagues Of Babylon”, sold around 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 49 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was recorded at Principal Studios (KREATOR, IN EXTREMO, GRAVE DIGGER) in Senden, Germany and was mixed at NHow Studios in Berlin, Germany.

Jon Dette (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX) sat behind the drums for ICED EARTH‘s most tour, taking over for Raphael Saini, who filled in during the summer 2013 festivals, the recording of ICED EARTH‘s new album, and the club leg of the VOLBEAT 2013 tour.

Dette made his live debut with ICED EARTH on November 6, 2013 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany.