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ARES KINGDOM
ARES KINGDOM
Return To Dust
(NWN! Productions)
42:28min

When you read my review on the ARES KINGDOM 2 track promo CD-R, you might be confused a little, as I had announced back then that the band's debut full length would be entitled "A Dream Of Armageddon"... Well, in the end the ARES KINGDOM guys obviously decided to go for something else as "Return To Dust" is exactly the album in question, just entitled a little differently... So, don't worry - you haven't missed out on anything yet and as planned both tracks off that promo ('Failsafe' and 'Return To Dust') are also still on here. So, does the full length live up to its expectations then? Yes, it certainly does! Even though it's a different band, you easily notice Chuck Keller's rather typical way of writing and (intentional or not) the old ORDER FROM CHAOS vibe is still very much present throughout the whole disc. The overall ARES KINGDOM style is also very rough and the vocals (courtesy of Alex Blume) always harsh and full of anger. But what I probably appreciated the most is the fact that the band luckily avoided many of today's most common "mistakes"... Instead of playing full speed ahead the whole time or focus on their technical abilities, they instead base each song on crushing and very effective riffs, no matter if it's slow, groovy or fast and the songs benfit from that a lot! "Return To Dust" is by no means a monotonous record which is brutal just for the sake of it! There's a lot of variety to be found in the writing which results in a very honest and 100% pure deathrashin' old school Metal offering! The whole production doesn't have this annoying digital / perfect feel to it, but instead comes across very natural and live sounding, while the layout of the CD's booklet is also based on 80s classics (with a cool picture collage in the middle). My only little complaining is addressed to the fact that among the album's tracks there's two instrumentals ('None Escape' and 'Sins Of The Father', both in a row), so that in total only six "real" songs are to be found on here. Don't get me wrong - those instrumentals aren't bad or anything, but could at least have been given a different running order on the album... But anyway, all in all "Return To Dust" should manage to establish ARES KINGDOM within the worldwide underground pretty easily and give Chuck's former bandmate Pete Helmkamp a hard time to come up with something of a similar (or even superior) quality. For more info head to www.ares-kingdom.com. The label can be contacted here: www.nwnprod.com

Frank Stöver

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