Two weeks ago, singer Matthew Barlow revealed that he will be retiring from Iced Earth following their European festival commitments this Summer. However, it turns out that the band has already found Barlow’s future replacement in singer Stu Block (also of Into Eternity). According to a press statement, Block had landed the job after multiple phone conversations and meetings with guitarist/main man Jon Schaffer, which also included him re-recording the vocals on a few Iced Earth songs. However, as our friends at Metal Sucks point out, Block is likely to remain in Into Eternity since the band just recruited a new drummer.

Block had the following to say about joining the band:

“Iced Earth fans are wonderful, wonderful people. 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.

It’s a huge honor to be doing this, to be part of this team. It’s a dream come true, for sure.”

Schaffer had the following to say about Iced Earth’s new singer:

“I felt a lot of chemistry between us, we knocked out a couple of great original pieces of music in no time. 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…

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.”

Schaffer and the band are so excited about Block that they’ve already announced dates for the European leg of a world tour that will take them into countries they’ve previously never played in and well into 2012. It should be noted, though, that Barlow will still be performing with the band during their European festival commitments during the Summer. You can read the rest of the band’s official statement to find out the tour dates announced so far (in case you just so happen to be in Europe at the end of the year), as well as details about special VIP packages.

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