Ashes Of Ares is former Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow, ex-Iced Earth bass player Freddie Vidales and Nevermore drummer Van Williams. The threesome got together to play metal, musically you can find reminiscences to both bands in their songs. The songs are more mid-paced spiced up with fast riffing here and there. In general the songs have a dark edge, are more epic than the recent Iced Earth songs.
The opener is called The Messenger, it starts slowly with guitars and vocals. And right from the start it's Matt Barlow's stunning performance which hooks you up. Then the tune becomes a heavy, riff-based metal track. The drum sound isn't up my alley. Drummer Van Williams always had a very unique style, and this gives the Ashes Of Ares sound a very solid basis - and adds another trademark soundwise. So far I only heard Freddie Vidales play bass, but at Ashes Of Ares he plays bass and guitars, beside writing songs. Move The Chains has a Maiden-ish vibe mixed with a bit of the more epic Iced Earth sound and a dash of King Diamond vocal-wise. The songs give Matt Barlow the chance to show his whole spectrum. They slow down for On Warrior's Wings, the song reminds me a bit of The Dark Saga stuff.. Later they speed up a little and add some heaviness, just to storm off for awhile. A dark, heavy tune is Punishment, during the lead guitar part it gets obvious that a crisp guitar sound would have giving the song the extra punch... This Is My Hell is one of the highlights and one of my faves off Ashes Of Ares! It starts slowly and very emotional with vocals and acoustic guitar, then they storm off. After a guitar solo they return to the opening theme, just to speed up again. The epic Chalice Of Man is another great one, but the opening passage of The Answer is giving me goose bumps. Hope this epic tune will be in their set list for a long, long time! The thrashy riffs of the fast What I Am surely has some Iced Earth elements in it. The closer is called The One-Eyed King, and Van Willliams' drumming adds some Nevermore-sque elements to this track, but it's still a riff-based track with a memorable vocal line.
To get an idea, check out Dead Man's Plight on YouTube:
The songs in general need a few spins to grow, even if there are some catchy passages it takes time till the songs will hook you up and haunt you.