Ashes of Ares - Ashes of Ares

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Despite being forced to part company with Iced Earth for a second time because their schedule of activity was just too heavy for vocalist Matt Barlow to continue is day job in law enforcement, it was probably inevitable that he would resurface before long with a new project, and that has come in the shape of Ashes of Ares. Along with former Nevermore drummer Van Williams and Iced Earth alumni Freddie Vidales handling both guitar and bass, their self-titled debut is the kind of pure metal record that could only be expected from such a trio. Unsurprisingly some of it does sound very much like Iced Earth (although not necessarily the Iced Earth that featured Barlow, but perhaps more akin the line-up fronted by Tim "Ripper" Owens), but where they've really excelled is on the tracks which sound entirely their own. The crushing Punishment, built around a modern metal riff, for instance sounds fresh and original, despite the strong familiarity listeners will undoubtedly feel to Barlow's unique voice. The album should really please everyone. Iced Earth fans missing Barlow's presence will find enough here to recall those glory days, while there is similarly more than enough new ideas to make sure Ashes of Ares are their own entity. Touring for the album will be slightly limited (the reason Barlow couldn't commit to IE long-term), but they will be in Europe supporting Powerwolf shortly after release, and will no doubt turn up at major European Festivals in 2014. Every old Iced Earth fan already knows how worthwhile watching them will be, and this album only reinforces that.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Albums, Heavy Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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