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Great Dark North: An Interview with Into Eternity

Recently, Great Dark North caught up with Into Eternity. It’s been a solid ten years since the Canadian power metallers released new material, and the buildup to The Sirens has been fraught with pitfalls, first and foremost vocalist Stu Block’s departure to join Iced Earth.

But Into Eternity have never been ones to back down from a struggle. Now armed with a new singer and a decade worth of ideas, we spoke with guitarist Tim Roth about what’s been going on.

Indy Metal Vault: So guys, it’s been a while. Tell me, long story short, how have things been going the past decade?

Tim Roth: For us, it’s been business as usual. We have been rehearsing, writing and performing, but it’s been in a more limited time frame. In the old days we’d be out touring 200 days a year, so we’ve been more under the radar these past years. After we released The Incurable Tragedy, the band toured with Iced Earth and then in 2009 we went back to Japan for the second time. From that point on, my main concern was raising my new son Lucca, so the band had to pick and choose what gigs we would do, since our time was so limited. We ended up going into songwriting mode, which turned into us releasing a couple of new singles. That led us to going in and recording an entire new album, The Sirens.

IMV: What’s the biggest difference between now and then? Amanda taking over as new singer? The invention of Spotify? Just general changes in the metal scene?

TR: Back in our heyday it was more about fans illegally downloading albums, but now with these streaming services like Spotify, fans can now just stream any album they like for free. This has been a cool difference for me. I happen to love using Spotify, but at the beginning I was skeptical. The main thing for me is that fans have access to our music. Things for our band have changed, you’re correct, and we have a great new singer in Amanda. She has been a welcome addition to our band and she is just kicking ass. Amanda had some amazing and special performances on this new album. All the different changes in the music business now are just issues that we have to adapt to and we are willing to just go with the flow.

IMV: You released “Sandstorm” and “Fukushima” in 2011/2012 as singles. How close was the album to finished at these point?

TR: It wasn’t finished at all at that point. “Fukushima” was the first song that we wrote, and then “Sandstorm” was the second track, but that’s all we had complete. The response was so good with those two songs that we continued with the writing of The Sirens and we finished up late 2014.

IMV: Is there a standout track on The Sirens for you? One that took longer or more thought then usual?

TR: That is a tough question, but I would go with either “The Sirens” or “The Scattering of Ashes,” which is a tribute to the late Rob Doherty. The whole album took a long time in general, but we really took our time and finished the material when we had the proper time to do so. I’m proud of every song on this new album and I think there is enough ear candy and hooks for most metal fans.

IMV: What were some influences on The Sirens? Were they your usual influences, or did you pick up some new ones in the last decade? How have your musical tastes changed between then and now?

TR: Classic metal is my favourite music, I would say. Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Metallica and Megadeth are still our primary influence along with bands like Dream Theater and Death. We love most genres of heavy metal and we just like to play great metal music that we enjoy. Technical metal is also an influence on us. Obscura, Necrophagist and Cynic are bands that we enjoy, plus there are so many more. Our musical tastes haven’t changed and we still love metal as much as ever!

IMV: Have you gotten to know the guys in Iced Earth? Was that an amicable split with Stu? I see he is featured on the new album, but that could be from before

TR: All the guys are really cool in Iced Earth, and yes I have got to meet the guys and hang a bit on the tour bus. Stu left at a down time with our band and we weren’t as active, so it was perfect for him that he got the Iced Earth gig. Stu just lives ten minutes away from me in our hometown, and yes were all still good friends. He was featured on our new album, and we couldn’t be happier for him and his success with Iced Earth.

IMV: You’ve been active in the metal scene for two decades now. What have been the biggest changes you have seen? Would you say metal is more popular now then it was when you started?

TR: I formed the band in 1996, so it’s been 22 years already! Where has the time gone? One of the big changes is how fans consume music. It seems like a lot of fans enjoy the streaming services like Spotify, instead of downloading their music. Album sales are down, but streams and concert attendances are still way up, so I’d say metal music is still doing some great business. This is extreme music that’s not for everyone and we realize that.

IMV: Tricky question, but is Into Eternity a “party band”? Do you all let loose together or is it more professional then that?

TR: I wouldn’t call us a party band at all. The guys do enjoy a few drinks and we love hanging out together, but it never gets in the way of our music business. I know bands can get caught up in that rock n roll lifestyle, but the music we play demands all of our attention, so getting smashed and trying to play/perform just doesn’t sound appealing.

IMV: What would be your advice for a new band starting out?

TR: That’s another tough question. I’d suggest the band gets a lot of rehearsal time in and to play gigs as much as possible in the beginning. Get a decent demo going and start sending it to everyone. Social media would be important these days, but I doubt I’d need to explain that to young bands these days. Just try to practice individual instruments as much as possible and most importantly have fun!

IMV: Pick your dream tour mates for your next tour (living or dead, any time period, doesn’t matter)

TR: We’ve already toured with Megadeth and Dream Theater, so I’d have to say either Iron Maiden or Metallica would be a dream. We’ve been so lucky that we’ve played with Judas Priest, Symphony X, Opeth and Nevermore, so we have no reason to complain!

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