ARES KINGDOM - Incendiary (NUCLEAR WAR NOW! - CD 2009)
I can’t believe how criminally underestimated this band is and in the times, when the metal underground praises many absolutely crappy bands, such jewels remain unnoticed and their awesome albums seem to have disappeared in the flood of releases, which pop up every week. But I seriously advice you to consider getting interested in Ares Kingdom, as this band will truly kick your ass with gigantic metal riffs and killer songwriting, all presented in the most traditional of all ways. And with the outstanding production, which from one hand is rightfully clear, but which also kept the feeling of playing live and the necessary distortion and obscurity of the genre, in the end the band is delivering the energy, with which every metal album should be filled with and which we – diehard metal maniacs – love to get, when killer songs hit you right in the face and you react in the only true way - with maniacal headbanging. Yeah, “Incendiary” has it all. And I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised that this band has managed to deliver such a high class metal album, as it has got some very experienced musicians in the ranks. Mentioning Chuck Keller from the Order From Chaos fame is the most noticeable, this man stood behind one of the most impressive and relentless US death metal bands known to mankind and while Pete Helmkamp chosen the unstoppable brutality of his Angel Corpse, Keller opted for slightly different, but equally killer sound, which is what Ares Kingdom plays. I also must mention Keller’s Vulpecula here, another fine band, which sadly split up, but whose “In Dusk Apparition” LP, which Invictus Productions released in 2006, eight years after its recording, is another highlight in the career of this guitarist. But I can truly say that “Incendiary” is definitely the best album this man has composed, although I must also admit that I haven’t heard the previous full length, “Return to Dust”, so I don’t know whether such brilliancy only just appeared with the second album or it was also present on the debut (I’ll check it out soon though, my copy of “Return to Dust” has been already ordered).
OK, but let’s focus on “Incendiary” more, shall we? In the previous paragraph I called Ares Kingdom’s music simply “metal”. Because this is METAL!!! I mean it. Ares Kingdom sounds 100% metal, with classic instrumentalism, classic arrangements and only 100% metal riffs. The base of the whole sound and style of “Incendiary” lies in death metal of course, but the way this genre has been played here is so epic like no other death metal album I’ve heard in my life! This truly is monumental and powerful music, sometimes it’s even melancholic, but still such feelings like rage and aggression are present also. The songwriting is fitting this epic style perfectly, pushing some of the songs to the length of over six minutes (and “Abandon In Place” is eight minutes long), and during this time Ares Kingdom uses every opportunity to impress the listener, changing the tempos (although the album is never really fast, it’s rather mid paced or slow), smoothly making the transitions between the riffs and their mood and first of all, incorporating almost all metal subgenres into this one album. There are many heavy metal parts here (“Ashen Glory”), as well as the classic thrash metal riffs (to mention the title song could be enough here, I guess), speed metal… You name it! At many occasions it even reminds me the epic black metal style of recent Immortal albums (like in “Abandon In Place”)! But of course the death metal shadow floats over everything, with raspy vocals of Alex Blume (which are like a combination of Pete Helmkamp’s throaty shriek and early David Vincent’s more clear style of growling!!!) and dark atmosphere for instance.
And the songwriting... Yeah, Ares Kingdom composed amazing songs, which really stick with you and are relatively catchy in many fragments while keeping the intensity, aggression and energy. For instance I love this instrumental track titled “The Destruction of Sennacherib”, what a great song! The title track is another killer and such are also “Beasts That Perish”, “Abandon In Place” and “Gathering the Eagles”, which probably is my favourite track from the whole album! All in all I can tell you that Ares Kingdom is a special band and “Incendiary” is an album, which provides just awesome music. In many ways I can consider Ares Kingdom to be similar to what Wannes Gubbels is doing with his Pentacle. Both bands share the same kind of music and influences, both do that in great way, the atmosphere of their albums is similar and the lyrical themes are also close. So, if you consider yourself a metal fan, then I cannot imagine you not giving a chance to “Incendiary”. This is killer album and that’s it.
Final rate: 90 / 100