Earlier this month, Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow announced his retirement, leaving behind a successful career and some pretty big shoes to fill. Among the many resumes and demo tapes sent to the band's management team, one name stood out from the rest - Into Eternity vocalist Stu Block, who has become Iced Earth's new singer.
At the recommendation of Robert Kampf, CEO of Iced Earth's label Century Media, guitarist Jon Schaffer got in touch with Block, and had his management team send Block a set of Iced Earth songs with the vocals removed. Block recorded the vocals, sent the tapes back, and within days he and Schaffer had hit it off in the studio.
"I felt a lot of chemistry between us, we knocked out a couple of great original pieces of music in no time," said Schaffer. "He's very good at coming up with catchy melodies, and will help with lyrical duties as well. There's no doubt Stu has an amazing vocal range and a lot of energy, but he also has the touring experience, which is a big plus for our plans of performing in all corners of the world."
Schaffer added "Stu is charismatic and understands the depth and varying emotions in Iced Earth's music. So he will embody not only the emotion of our songs, but he will be able to perform them in a dynamic way. I believe fans are in for some incredible records and live shows in the coming years."
Block will be joining the band officially this fall for the European leg of Iced Earth's massive 2011-2012 world tour, the largest tour it has ever undertaken. Matt Barlow will continue to sing for the band throughout the summer festival season.
On joining the band, Block said: "It's a huge honor to be doing this, to be part of this team. It's a dream come true, for sure."
"Iced Earth fans are wonderful, wonderful people," he said. "The music is so passionate. So they're passionate, and very loyal to the band. I am, too. I'm a huge fan of Iced Earth myself. So I share that same passion, and I will show it on stage. I think the fans are really going to dig it."