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4 out of 5 skulls
April 6, 2010 |

Ares Kingdom Incendiary

Formed in 1996 after the dissolution of Order of Chaos, guitarist Chuck Keller and drummer Mike Miller started Ares Kingdom and remained relatively unheard of from the mainstream metal world. With a string of EPs and their first full length (Return to Dust) under their belt the band is back with an impressive blend of traditional death metal and thrash with their sophomore release Incendiary.

I’m usually much more of a fan of the faster, more maniacally paced style that dominate the death-thrash genre, but there’s something to be said for a band that is able to tame the unrelenting hooves of Hades with slower to mid-paced tempos yet still retain a solid and quite powerful overall sound. While the pace may be slower for the most part, Incendiary is just that, a highly combustible, aggressive, yet melodic blend of bruising death metal and thrash with just about no filler at all.

Amongst the stacks of catchy, well written and transforming riffs that the band packs into the album is a tinge of melody that reveals a more unique approach to death-thrash that’s quite refreshing. Ares Kingdom seem to sense the perfect moment for each ebb and flow, each swell of discontent, each spleen rupturing blast — and deliver it with precision and feeling. This is one hell of an album!

Incendiary
The opening track is a beast of a song, letting loose right from the onset with a pretty up-tempo, bludgeoning pace and shredding riffs. Vocally, the band’s message is delivered with a raw, raspy and down right evil growl that is relatively easy to understand. The pace slows a bit for the the majority of the song, but picks up here and there to change things up on you, especially with the face searing lead around 1:40. There’s a bit of a blackened edge to this song that adds an additional dimension to the album’s aesthetic.

Descent of Man
“Descent of Man” is a more burly song with beefier riffs and heavy drum work. There’s a bit of a groove running through the song’s textured guitars and growling vocals. The band’s melodic elements aren’t as prevalent in this song as the album opener, but they do make an appearance here and there. This is another caustic, ripper of a song that at almost seven and a half minutes in length packs a boat load of everything the band has to offer. Holy hell, the lead around 4:40 is bad ass and just descends into the fire pits of Hell before rising once again into the world of mere mortals.

The Destruction of Sennacherib
A much more open, melodic sound greets the listener on this next track. It’s catchy, well performed and has plenty of atmosphere as the first lead comes in. The riffs that follow have a classic thrash vibe to them that just carries the song’s momentum along smoothly into the next bit of guitar fun as news sound clips fade in from the distance, giving the track a bit of a chaotic, disorganized feel. This short instrumental last but two and a half minutes.

Silent Mortal Flesh (Convergence)
After that brief break in the action, Ares Kingdom get back down to business with a hellified lead to open up “Silent Mortal Flesh.” The patterns to the lead vocals on this one match the groove of the song perfectly and only add to the head banging fun that ensues. There’s another stellar lead around 2:40 that really shows what Keller is more than capable of producing. Fucking awesome song.

Ashen Glory
“Ashen Glory” takes about 20 seconds or so to fade into light guitar work that has a vibe that reminds me of Cathedral for some reason. That feeling of similarity is quickly eclipsed, however, as the guitars eventually morph into driving, thrashing riffs along with pounding drum work. The overall feel of this song is a bit more raw and evil when compared to the fuller feel of the previous tracks. I love the riffing and screams that close out the song.

Beasts That Perish
Mmmm… sound effects. After the sounds of giant croaking frogs has passed the band really lets loose with a crazy array of disjointed drumming and riffs before settling into a churning, driving pace with pile driving rhythms. This is a no-frills, blasting death-thrash song if ever there was one. This is the kind of shit that gets me pumped for an album. At over seven minutes in duration, this is another song that has more than enough to keep you fully entertained without and meandering or stalling.

Consigned to the Ages
“Consigned to the Ages” is another short (2:43), well written instrumental that features acoustic guitar.

Gathering the Eagles
“Gathering the Eagles” has a bit of a blackened vibe to the opening guitar work that accompanies some seriously pounding drums — dude must have been pissed at something when recording this track. This is a slower moving beast of a song with melodic influences on the guitars and contrast nicely with the raw vocal barks and growls. I’m digging the hell out of this song.

Abandon in Place
Wrapping up the album is “Abandon in Place,” a song that starts off slowly with riffs and drums that fade in over the first 1:20 or so before the band gets into a frenzied pace with driving guitars, aggressively delivered vocals and unrelenting drums. The lead around 2:15 has a bit of a muffled feel to it, but it works well for the song. Man, these dudes picked the perfect track to close out an album — this thing is a bruising monster of a song that descends into temporary madness before arising from the dark pits on soaring guitars. Wow.

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Additional Notes:
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