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Ares Kingdom - By the Light of Their Destruction

Ares Kingdom
By the Light of Their Destruction
by Martin Knap at 19 June 2019, 10:00 AM

ARES KINGDOM is a Kansas City based trio, that was founded by two members of a band called ORDER FROM CHAOS, that was quite influential on the US Blackened Death scene in the early 1990s. Drummer Mike Miller’s and axeman Chuck Keller’s ex-bandmate Pete Helmkamp went on to form ANGELCORPSE and was involved in REVENGE too – goes to show that they were a force to be reckoned with. Whereas ANGELCORPSE adopted a beefier Death Metal sound, ARES KINGDOM stick to a rawer, old-school Blackened Thrash sound – think of bands like SARCÓFAGO, IMPIETY or SABBAT. Their sound hearkens back to simpler days when Metal wasn’t divided into innumerable sub-genres and styles, where there was only one “true” Extreme Metal that was all about sticking it to “fake” Glam Metal. ARES KINGDOM are, simply put, raw, savage and “trve”, but they are also musicians that have been in the game for quite some time, and there is a level of sophistication and maturity in their music that may not be immediately apparent from the rough surface, but will can be appreciated if one listens attentively.

ARES KINGDOM’s fourth full-length album, “By the Light of Their Destruction,” is short and sweet, the seven songs that the album contains are all short to medium length, but this is a band that makes every minute count. Their style re-creates perfectly the sound of late 80s Extreme Metal releases (down to the production), but the level of musicianship is so high here that it makes for a great listen, even though it’s almost the same as the music from a bygone era. This is in large part due to the great songwriting: all the songs have aggressive, thrashy parts but there are always groovy breaks, or a middle-tempo section that provide some space for the song to breathe – the opener “The Hydra Void,” for example, has a slow, sinister middle section and some nice grooves sandwiched between the blasty parts. The aggression here is not what you’re used to form your run-of-the mill Thrash band, the music has some really savage vibes, similar to the blackened Metal or “proto-Death Metal” bands of the 80s, which is where ARES KINGDOM’s roots are after all. While the music is nasty and savage it can be surprisingly refined, I’ve mentioned the good songwriting, but there are also little details – a melodic riff or change in rhythm etc. – that come from the left field that just elevate the songs and make for a great listen. “Dark Waters Eridanus,” for example, is a short, intense song, but it has an almost sweet-sounding solo – something that you’d never expect, but that sounds cool nonetheless.

ARES KINGDOM is a band that makes zero compromises. The music is raw, but the band always adds a nice touch to the primitive foundation. Their level of musicianship makes them stand out from the crowd. You can tell that this album is a labor of love and will surely be appreciated by “trve” Metal aficionados.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Hydra Void
2. Burn, Antares (Scorpius Diadem)
3. Dark Waters Eridanus
4. Eighteen Degrees Beneath
5. Allegory
6. The Bones of All Men
7. Iconologia
8. Talis Chimera Est

Mike Miller - Drums
Chuck Keller - Guitars
Alex Blume - Bass, Vocals

Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions


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