Ares Kingdom - _Firestorm Redemption_
(Nuclear War Now, 2006)
by: T. DePalma (no rating)
With a precious few demo tapes released in the years following their tempestuous exit from Order From Chaos, Mike Miller and Charles Keller have remained as dedicated partners in Ares Kingdom. Now, as the group prepares for the release of their first album, they offer this splendid vinyl EP, featuring one cut from the upcoming full length and two re-recorded tracks unique to this release.

"Can the sheep be awakened?
I see signs of life flicker and die
Countless as the stars are our choices
The road has forked before us -- now choose
Not this time, a new way must be forged
Forged to or from hell -- We choose"
("Firestorm Redemption")

Like a crude industrial machine, Ares Kingdom grinds through their task wearing a surly mask of age, chuffing rhythms of loosely put death/thrash with a production caked in rust. Although fairly moderate in tempo, these tracks escalate into a lightning haze; war rages between crash cymbals and strings where Keller's melodies emerge victorious from well-spent rubble. This isn't the full scale riot of sound that made a reputation for its members, though it shares familiar traits. So far, more lyrically urgent and taken by a romantic sense of melody ingrained in the songs and especially the heavy metal soloing.

Conflict is furthered by vocalist Alex Blume, who intones failure and termination through a sludgy yet perfectly understood narration. Like some looming figure of Thanatos, Blume's dramatically low voice evokes dread blending easily into the guitar's sustained crunch, uniting technology with the bestial and a hint of the beyond. Hopefully then, this outfit goes on to fulfill the promise of their more calculating savagery.


(article published 18/4/2006)

4/18/2006 T DePalma Ares Kingdom: Ares' for the Taking
7/28/2006 T DePalma 8 Ares Kingdom - Return to Dust
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