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Ashes Of Ares - Well Of Souls

Ashes Of Ares
Well Of Souls
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 November 2018, 12:29 AM

I wouldn’t lie, with the masses of albums that have been flowing like a raging river, I completely forgot that ASHES OF ARES is a project that is still running. Though it has been five years, numerous reports and evidence that came to light showed that a comeback with an album was imminent. Once I knew about it, I took listen to the debut self-titled, which instantly reminded me why I was impressed by it. What can I say, I am a Matthew Barlow fan, especially after his time with ICED EARTH, yet, the joint effort with ex-ICED EARTH’s bass player, Freddie Vidales, proved that ASHES OF ARES was more than a mere vocal favored effort, but a rather an inspiring piece of determinant Heavy Metal.

Recently the duo signed with the Greek label Rock Of Angels Records for the release of their sophomore in question, “Well Of Souls”. As mentioned, the debut made its first appearance five years ago, and I believe that period of time, which was probably due to various reasons, actually did it for the better for ASHES OF ARES.

“Well Of Souls” pounds harder than its predecessor, once again unveiling the ICED EARTH elements that appear to be undeniable for the two creative songwriters. I guess that it would be hard for them to escape the juggernaut’s casted shadow for some time, yet, who can blame them really, ICED EARTH’s sound and musical direction are heavily addictive and of course, they were there, tasted the steel. However, while crushing with utter heaviness, showcasing a barrage of devastating melodic riffs, bursts of pure Power / Thrash Metal attacks, which have always been favored by yours truly. Vidales certainly knows how to draw in ICED EARTH fans into his creations’ fold, composing meaty intensity while Barlow gathered his whole with a bombastic vocal performance that made me wish he was once again with his previous band.

On the other hand folks, there is more than meets the ear other than just plain force. The featured songwriting on “Well Of Souls” illustrated a variety of qualities that weren’t in focus on most of the songs of the previous album. There is a kind of appeasing depth, a chunk of melancholia, and dramatics in the songs, probably due to the overall theme that surrounds the release, these gems are to be savored, creating a stronger foundation. It might sound like a cliché’ and somewhat obvious, the partnership of Barlow / Vidales gained further experience and the shrewdness of the songs clearly ascertains that notion.

I believe that the top of the crop actually comes later in the album, as it slowly draws to a close, with the emergence of the overpowering melodic fist of “In The Darkness”, where I was witness to some of the finest riffs and melodies I listened to in a while. The song itself is more or less catchy, yet that aspect wasn’t my guide, there is general sensation that is hard to shake, but ask yourselves this, had I ever wanted to shake it in the first place? Hell not. Next in line, “Spirit Of Man”, didn’t need to bare teeth as the former tune in order to hail as mighty, its tasty riffs and mood swings, caught my attention right from the get go. I really missed Barlow’s passionate style of singing, well done track. They just couldn’t go any closer to the borders of ICED EARTH with “Time Traveler”, that itching melody at the intro as a servant for the upcoming speed onslaught that overcame it, that is no less than a wow. Certainly the album’s catchiest song, join in the short and sweet sing-along. Also recommended are: “Consuming The Mana”, “Let All Despair”, “Sun Dragon”, “The God Of War” and the bonus “You Know My Name”.

Though I rated the debut and this here album the same, I think that “Well Of Souls” has a tougher edge, stronger in its vibe and deeper in its hold on the listener. Now I wonder what the third album will do.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Consuming The Mana
2. The Alien
3. Unworthy
4. Soul Searcher
5. Sun Dragon
6. Transcending
7. Let All Despair
8. In The Darkness
9. Spirit Of Man
10. Time Traveler
11. The God Of War
12. You Know My Name
Lineup:
Matthew Barlow - Vocals
Freddie Vidales - Guitar / Bass
Van Williams - Drums
Record Label: Rock Of Angels Records
     


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