By Carl Begai
It takes remarkable strength of character to throw yourself to the wolves knowing you’re going to get bitten and potentially ripped to shreds. So it goes that, regardless of what Into Eternity fans may think of vocalist Amanda Kiernan stepping in to replace Stu Block – now a member of Iced Earth – for the band’s live activities, they have to respect her for willingly putting herself in harm’s way. It turns out that Kiernan had made more friends than enemies amongst Into Eternity fans even as they mourn Block’s absence, the majority of fans willingly giving her the benefit of the doubt. It’s anybody’s guess how the future will play out now that the band essentially has two singers and Block’s Iced Earth career has exploded, but the bottom line is that Kiernan is committed to shedding even more blood, sweat and tears in order to make things work.
Her journey began in November 2011 when Into Eternity put out the call for a “touring only” singer. She jumped in with both feet.
“I found out about the audition and called (Into Eternity drummer) Brian Newbury right away,” Kiernan says. “I just wanted to push myself to the top and prove to myself and others that I can actually do this, and that there are no limitations. After I called him we both went to my studio and spent two days recording the audition songs that Tim (Roth/guitars, founder) wanted me to do.”
Roth recalls the events leading up to having to place the ad that eventually snared Kiernan…
“We (the band) were rehearsing on a Friday, and after a whole weekend of rehearsals Stu hit me with the news that he’d joined Iced Earth. And then he hit me with a CD of him singing some new Iced Earth stuff. So not only did he tell me, he showed me some of the material they’d already recorded. I was just floored. Stu and I are best friends, and we weren’t doing anything at the time, so it makes sense that someone would come in and invite Stu to join their band. Jon Schaffer (guitars) knows talent, I know talent, and Stu has always been that shining diamond in the rough. When I’d seen him in his previous band he really impressed me. I knew I had to have a guy with his kind of vocals in Into Eternity.”
At press time Into Eternity had just wrapped up a string of Canadian west coast tour dates, the first of two tours taking place this summer to “re-introduce the band to the fans” according to Roth, based on the strength of their ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Fukushima’ singles, released in early 2011 and early 2012 respectively. By all accounts, what could have been an unpleasant uphill battle turned out to be a career affirming experience.
“The fans are amazing,” says Kiernan. “At first they’re very skeptical and they don’t know what to think and I understand all of that. But it seems by the end of the show they respond positively. They’ve all been so supportive. I never know how it’s going to go and I get nervous, but the way the fans have reacted… so very awesome! And it blows me away when they say the things they do. It makes me blush (laughs).”
“It feels really natural working with Amanda,” Roth adds. “She has the set down plus some new songs we threw at her. ‘3 Dimensional Aperture’ is a new song in the set that we haven’t played since 2005. She’s really stepped up to the plate for us. The fans have been falling in love with Amanda. She’s been getting marriage proposals and full-on love letters via Facebook; she’s been overwhelmed by the great responses, so thanks to all the understanding fans.”
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Live photo used with kind permission of Amanda Kiernan and J Kiernan Photography.