ARES KINGDOM - Veneration (Nuclear War Now! - LP 2013)
It’s been a while since Ares Kingdom released their last album “Incendiary”. But finally the fans could be relived seeing a new recording with their logo coming out in 2013, titled “Veneration”. But could they? All in all, this is not another full length album in normal meaning of this word, but nothing more but just a cover album. Yeah… I know. It can be a disappointment, really, since there’s no new material of Ares Kingdom in it at all, but just a collection of some covers. And personally I am not a big fan of cover albums… I mean, I like the idea of playing / recording covers, I like to hear a cover as an additional song on the album, but somehow a whole LP filled with just cover songs is not something what I would be happy to hear. It’s just because most of such albums – like these Six Feet Under records called “Graveyard Classics” – were shit. OK, there are some exceptions, for example I quite enjoyed Vader’s “Future of the Past”, but it’s maybe due to a great choice of songs, which Vader played. I also enjoyed such CD like Throneum / Revelation of Doom, but it contains both new songs from each and as well as the covers, so it is a bit different. “Veneration” was a doubtful idea for me, also because when I saw the bands, which Ares Kingdom covered, it turned out that there’s hardly anything what I would know. I didn’t even plan to buy that album at first, but I somehow did get the vinyl, but only because it wasn’t that expensive and I just wanted to get another release of Ares Kingdom in my collection.
And you know what? I am actually very happy that I got “Veneration” in my hands. It turns out that even though Ares Kingdom recorded some totally unknown bands’ covers, the result is fantastic! Yeah! I’m seriously relieved and happy that this album turned out to be so awesome. And who would think that an extreme metal band, which makes a cover album without playing songs of such obvious bands like Celtic Frost, Sodom, Venom, Kreator or Death can still be a winner? Ares Kingdom definitely is! Their choices were completely unpredictable, but despite not being familiar with most of the stuff they recorded I liked it anyway. And it is probably because Ares Kingdom recorded these tunes in their own style, like they were their own songs, adding there that viciousness, aggression, feeling and dark atmosphere, which we all know from the normal Ares Kingdom songs! They’ve been spiced with real ferocious and relentless feeling, so the end result is simply… delicious hehe!
Most of the songs, which have been covered here come from the ancient times of mid 80’s! From these old days bands like Slaughter Lord, Sacrilege, Dokken and Mefisto (Sweden!) were chosen. Damn, you must admit that they’re not so popular choice, especially Mefisto or heavy / rock band Dokken! And from the 90’s there are R.U.Dead? and Nepenthe, plus on top of all there’s a song from Vulpecula. So, I think I only knew two songs from the whole set before hehe! But if you ask me how can Ares Kingdom play something like Dokken in their own, harsh and extreme way, then let me tell you that already in my review of the previous albums like “Return to Dust” I was pointing out that unusual mixture of rough death / thrash metal with some traces of classic heavy metal. So, these old, not always death metal, songs sound naturally similar to the usual Ares Kingdom style! Like that Dokken… you would never guess these songs (“Without Warning / Tooth and Nail”) can be coming originally from so different stylistically band. Ha, I actually listened to all songs, which are covered on “Veneration” in the original versions on you tube to compare them and I can only repeat that great job had been done here. Such Mefisto, who has a strong Hellhammer / Celtic Frost influence on their ancient “Megalomania” demo from 1986… So, why playing a hundredth version of “Circle of the Tyrants” if you can play “Act Dead”, which has similar style and feeling? And then why choosing something from more known bands like Hellbastard or Onslaught, if you can replace it with something completely unknown and unpopular like Sacrilege from “Within the Prophecy” album from 1987? At least it can introduce this band to some listeners. It did to me! Early 90’s death metal? Well, they could have done Poison, but instead did R.U.Dead?, who were also damn great band.
I like that Ares Kingdom chose a song from Nepenthe. Although I am not familiar with their demos (this band was active in early / mid 90’s and released three demos), but it’s a nice comeback to a past for Alex Blume, who played in Nepenthe back in the old days. And of course Chuck Keller had his Vulpecula, whose song “Celestial” has also been covered here on “Veneration”. It’s a nice tribute to their old bands I guess. This way “Veneration” show the roots and influences of Ares Kingdom. All songs have been played in absolutely fantastic way, my favourites here are definitely “Die By Power”, “When Your Heart Turns Black” and “Oblivion”. So, I recommend “Veneration” definitely, don’t get scared away by the fact that it’s a cover album. It is worth having and being played for sure. I like it a lot.
Standout tracks: “Die By Power”, “When Your Heart Turns Black”, “Oblivion”.
Final rate: 80/100