Keefy from Ghost Cult magazine recently conducted an interview with ICED EARTH frontman Stu Block. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the diversity currently found within various tour packages that ICED EARTH takes part in:
Stu: "I think it's a big thing. It's a big thing that's happening right now, not even just having, I'm noticing a lot of packages that are diverse within the genre. They're doing more and more festivals, which are getting that way, too. They're really mixing things up a bit. I think that's the way things are going. Diversity is a big, big thing. You can't have a package of bands that all sound the same, right? I think when you have that, it's more attractive. I'm a fan, too, man. When I go out to see a package, I'm like, 'I get to see all these cool bands.' I'm getting the bang for my buck. I think it's a really important thing to have that and the differences. We're noticing that as we tour and as we're out there with different bands; especially I'm noticing with the festivals. There's more and more crazy, different bands that you never heard of before that are maybe even different genres of music, different genres of rock and all that kind of stuff. They're emerging together. It brings new fans together and it exposes new fans to other bands that maybe they haven't seen before. I think it's very important for the emerging music scene and the emerging touring scene. With the way the music industry is changing, we need to change and adapt and become diverse in every aspect of what we're doing."
On whether this is a good time for the melodic and power metal scenes:
Stu: "It is, especially for emerging fans. There's a lot of young JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN fans out there still, right? They're going to be able to go to their first concerts or maybe or second or third and these bands are still putting out quality music. No matter how you want to look at it — it's still good. But, I think that's really awesome they're continuing to do it. It's sad when they do retire, it sucks when it happens, but we're only human, you can only do it for so long, until they pickle us somehow and Bruce Dickinson [IRON MAIDEN] can do it forever and we're in. Until then, age catches up and all that kind of stuff. I think it's really cool. And the stage shows are still awesome. They still put 100 percent into it and I think that's really important, too."
On his performance on ICED EARTH's most recent studio album, 2017's "Incorruptible":
Stu: "We like everything we do, but I agree with you: This record is a very strong record. We always have to take into considerations the bands go through certain events and certain events when each record is being created. 'Plagues [Of Babylon]' was a whole different beast and there were things going on. I don't want to get into details and stuff like that, but everything is sometimes, we step out of the comfort zone and things happen. I think this record really came together because we had that time off, we did a lot of soul searching, there's a lot of personal things, really very, very close and emotional and personal things that came out in this album. We had a lot of time to really think about it. Those were some really beneficial factors. Now we have our own studio; we have HQ, we have Independence Hall, which really helps Jon [Schaffer, guitar]. There's still money to be spent, but it's a lot less than sitting in the studio where you're under really time constraints. There are still time constraints, but it's not like it's thousands of dollars going out the window every day, as opposed we're able to control things a little bit more financially and control things at our own pace a little bit more. I think it came out really great and having Chris 'Zeuss' [Harris] helping us. He was really amazing. Not only a great engineer and of course, he's a great producer as well, but Jon produces most, 99 percent of it. He's our producer, but he's a really great guy. We were laughing, we all clicked in the studio, we were having a great time. That's a big part of it as well. There's a lot of factors involved in why this album came out the way it did. Comfort levels are always a big thing for us. With 'Dystopia', I first joined the band and we wrote, it was a different way we wrote there. Jon and I always write with each other. There was a different environment there. 'Plagues', there was a different environment. This album, different album. We're finding that comfort. I love each album, I really do. I think they're all really special to me and near and dear to my heart. This album, I think there's something going on there that I don't think we can even explain. There's just something happening. It's going to continue to keep happening. I think it's really cool. Me being new, I'm still discovering myself, and I mean, I learned so much, every time I record an album, especially with Jon, especially these last three albums, I've learned so much. It is brought me to a whole different level as a singer, as how I record, my mentality and all that kind of stuff. I think it's just me maturing as a singer as well when we're talking about the singing especially, when we're talking about the overall aspect. I think it's the maturity level of how Jon and I write together and, of course, that magic that just happens. That's the thing we can't explain, that words really can't describe. But we're happy and I think the fans are loving it and I'm really happy with it and I think Jon is and the whole band is. Like I said, I'll repeat myself: I think the fans are really enjoying it too."
"Incorruptible" came out in June 2017 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).
Block joined ICED EARTH in 2011 after fronting Canadian progressive metallers INTO ETERNITY for six years.