Interview with Tim Roth (guitar and clean vocals) - Into Eternity (September 23rd 2008)

This August Into Eternity came with the outstanding record 'The Incurable Tragedy'. This was a very special album, certainly for Tim Roth, who lost 2 of his best friends and his Dad to the cruel sickness called cancer. Time for to ask Tim about the album and the band. 

Congratulations with your new album, it must have been very difficult to write it after such big losses. Was it a kind of therapy for you and can you tell us something about the process?

Tim: The real bulk of the writing happened after we got home from the Edguy USA Tour at the end of October 2007. There were some ideas that we had, but only a few songs were completed at that time because we were always on the road. It's easier to concentrate on the writing when were not distracted. At the time I wasn't sleeping that great, so I'd find myself coming up with ideas at odd times of the day or night. I can see now that it was a sort of therapy for me. Usually when things are going bad, I pick up the guitar and get through it somehow.

Did you get many support and understanding from the other bandmembers, I can imagine that Into Eternity has been put a little bit in the fridge.

Tim: Yeah, all the guys are great and they are also understanding of the situation. They have always shown complete support.

Did you write all the lyrics and who wrote the music?

Tim: No, Stu and I split the lyric writing job. I'm not a fan of writing lyrics to begin with, but obviously I had some inspiration this time around. Stu and I always work as a team when it comes to that. Justin wrote all of "Indignation" and half of "Diagnosis Terminal", which is one of the best songs on the album. Steve chipped in with the beginning riff pattern on "Spent Years of Regret". I was at home and not working or anything, so I had a lot of free time to write a lot of music on the new album.

I lost my mother (64) last year also to cancer. In my review I wrote that I hear the frustration, the anger, the grief etc. in the music, and then especially in the vocals, do you agree with that?

Tim: I'm sorry to hear about your loss. My mother was 66 when she died of cancer and she was just retiring and ready to start living life. Frustration and anger were real feelings that I was going through. After my Dad died I felt extremely depressed, so I would always be picking up my guitar to keep my mind of things. I guess a person goes through a lot different emotions during a stressful event.

What is in your opinion the musical difference between this one and 'The Scattering of Ashes'?

Tim: Musically we wanted a more diverse album with different feels and with peaks an valleys. Sometimes we'll have a heavy song and the next will be a piano ballad or instrumental. There also is some acoustic guitar on the record, so it was cool to go back to that style. There also are way more off time riffs than ever before, which can really throw the listener off. How ever we wrote the songs though, we keep to our signature style. The album still sounds like classic Into Eternity.

I think that the heavy parts are heavier and extremer and are more in contrast with the clean ones, do you agree?

Tim: Yeah, it is still a really heavy album, but just a bit more varied. It was cool to have the real clean parts back again.

Can you tell us something about the 2 new members?

Tim: We got Justin Bender on guitar and Steve Bolognese on the drums. Both guys came on 2 years ago in time for "The Scattering Tour" cycle. Justin put on a show for us one time and we had done shows with his band he had. He learnt all the material by ear and he was in. Steve lived in the USA and we met him a few times at shows we played near Boston. Steve knew all of our songs and he was always asking if we could try him out. He sent us a video of him playing "Point of Uncertainty" off the 'Burried' album. It was cool, so he flew to our hometown and we tried him out. He actually did know all of our songs. They are both permanent and they have done a great job on the new record. They were there the whole way of the writing of the album. I made up demos of riff ideas to Steve and the guys through email. It worked out pretty good.

The band changed from a 4-piece band into a 5-piece again, was that necessary?

Tim: I was always a big fan of 2 guitar bands growing up. Bands like Megadeth, Judas Priest and Exodus always has the 2 guy guitar teams. In a live situation we need the rhytm to be playing under my leads, so yes this is a must for us. The band would sound way to thin without Justin banging out the riffs.

The vocals are done by Stu Block, but Troy and you also do some vocals, are this only backing vocals or perhaps some growling or clean ones? And who is responsible for the extreme high vocals?

Tim: It's not a well known fact, but Stu actually did ALL the death vocals on the new album. He did all the high extreme vocals as well as all the low ones. In a live situation Troy will do some background death vocals. I only sang clean vocals on this album and they mainly come in on all of the chorus and during the ballads. In a live situation I do death vocals as well, but I'm not into doing them as much anymore. Stu can handle everything, so I can concentrate on my guitar parts.

'Buried in Oblivion' had an orange cover, 'The Scattering of Ashes' blue, and your new one 'The Incurable Tragedy' has green all over, what is that with the colors?

Tim: We always like to have a color theme for each album. It seperates each album visually because I always think that the artwork is very important. Mattias Noren did another great job on this new album. I knew in advance a few years earlier that I wanted to have the cover green. Before Dave died, he got a killer green Into Eternity Icon tattoo. From that day forward this album was always going to feature the color green. It's too bad Dave never got to live to see it!

Are there touring plans for the months to come? Can we expect Into Eternity in Europe?

Tim: The USA Iced Earth Tour starts in a few days and that takes the band up until November 2nd 2008. The plan will be to head back to Europe in 2009. It will be close to 5 years since we have been there, so the guys want to make sure that it happens!

How would you describe your music to a person that has never heard your music before?

Tim: We call ourselves Progressive Death Metal. It's hard to describe us, I realize. We have clean high singing, progressive riffs, shred type solos, but yet we have fast double bass and death vocals. Into Eternity is really a hybrid metal band. There are a lot of different changes and tempos in our music, which can challenge the average listener, but we always try to have clean sung parts that everyone can sing along with.

You can leave here some words you want to share with your fans.

Tim: Thanks a lot for the continued support. Please check out our new album 'The Incurable Tragedy' and come say hello to us on our myspace page or website. Keep it metal!

Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Into Eternity- The Incurable Tragedy

Album available on Century Media.