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Ashes Of Ares - Ashes Of Ares

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: CD download
Released: 2013
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7/ 10


On paper, looks like a no brainer, with former Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow joining forces with ex-Nevermore drummer, Van Williams and then add Iced Earth’s last bassist Freddie Vadalise, switching to guitar. ‘The Messenger’ opens with double-tracked, deep resonating Barlow spoken word, atop lone guitar, before launching into a mid-tempo stomp where the singer can unleashed some of his patented higher register. The music is gritty, staccato riffing, but not without melody and at times, veering on the progressive. Williams’ drumming is front and center in the mix.

 

‘On Warrior’s Wings’ is an acoustic begun power ballad that takes off at the 3:00 mark, before ending as it started. Brooding and moody the ten songs all but avoid retracing Barlow’s career, especially the (surprising) lack of piercing screams. The familiar Paul Stanley (Kiss) stylistic similarity first raises its head on ‘Punishment’. While missing that standout, over-the-top signature track, still a classy, new entity to watch grow. A speedy, snare bashing ‘Chalice Of Man’ comes closest to truly stepping outside the box.

 
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