Label: Nuclear Blast Records
What do you get when you make a three piece band which is 2/3 comprised of former members of Iced Earth one of which is the prolific singer Matt Barlow? Well you get a pretty kicking album folks . Though you will still draw comparisons to Iced Earth just purely based on Barlow’s vocals to brush of Ashes of Ares as an Iced Earth clone would be unfair. This is not a poor man’s version of Iced Earth as Ashes of Ares does a very good job of standing on its own two feet. Read on and let’s see what we got shall we?
As I mentioned, people will of course draw comparisons between Ashes of Ares and Iced Earth based first and foremost on Barlow’s vocal style. This is understandable as Matt’s vocals were a BIG key to Iced Earth’s signature sound. What helps set Ashes of Ares apart are the songs themselves. While there are some similarities of sound to Iced Earth with the songs on Ashes of Ares being crushing, catchy and fun songs, Ashes of Ares goes beyond what Iced Earth have typically done on their albums musically and become a little bit more diverse. Again, Barlow MAKES the songs on this album with his great vocals to compliment the great guitar work of Freddie Vidales(also Ex-Iced Earth). Speaking of guitars…
The guitar work is the second key element that I found to be divergent from a typical Iced Earth album. It seems to me Vidales playing in Ashes of Ares is more expansive than some of Iced Earth’s work which is nice to hear. What you will hear are nice leads and melodies contrasted by some heavy, crushing riffs.
It would have been easy for Matt Barlow to get some guys together and form a glorified Iced Earth tribute band, instead he took some of the best parts of Iced Earth, his voice, went out with a former band mate and made an album that both Iced Earth fans should enjoy but more importantly METAL fans should enjoy.
Ashes of Ares is a solid metal album and band by Barlow & Co., with great guitar work that has hints of the Iced Earth sound but more expansive. If you like the power metal sound without the high vocals but more of a baritone, strong voice with crushing guitars and good songs then Ashes of Ares will not disappoint and marks a very strong debut album from a band I hope to hear more from in the future.
|Matthew Barlow | vocals
Freddie Vidales | guitar, bass
Van Williams | drums