If you hail the long-defunct cult U.S. Death / Black powerhouse ORDER FROM CHAOS, but (somehow?) remain an ARES KINGDOM uninitiate, you will find those ORDER FROM CHAOS elements (production deficiencies and Helmkamp’s acidic vocals notwithstanding) that you treasure in this thunderous act featuring former ORDER FROM CHAOS members Chuck Keller on guitar and Mike Miller on drums. And if you are an iconoclastic headbanger who maybe heard ORDER FROM CHAOS before and thought them too noisy or too uncompromising – or perhaps you never heard them at all – I entreat you: Consider ARES KINGDOM and their second full-length album “Incendiary” as the salve to anoint your raw Metal soul with the purest of what it needs to survive and thrive. For herein this excellent offering, guitarist and mastermind Chuck Keller effectively refines the disorder of ORDER FROM CHAOS’s ultra-bass heavy grinding sound, so raw and uncontrolled, while still harkening to its essence to achieve a fascinating capstone to his prior band’s legacy and chest-pounding Metal record. What certified my opinion of this album from the first listen was the second track, ‘Descent Of Man’, with double-bass drums charging forward into a pumping break-beat groove, then building to a triumphant, ascending melody line that repeats before finally soaring into awe-inspiring rounds of dueling-aces guitar solos. This is truly an irresistible, glorious-sounding song that cannot miss its mark straight through the heart of a true Metalhead. At times, I thought of BOLT THROWER. At others, peak METALLICA. But most of all, it reminds me of ORDER FROM CHAOS, albeit with a much clearer production! Here are substantial influences from the ’80s Speed Metal sounds – the speed setting throughout this opus invites headbanging, as pounding Thrash rhythms steamroll onward like MOTÖRHEAD before breaking into half-time Thrash dances. The songs abound with infectious, carefully and intuitively refined riffs, yet the drums are the engine to the indomitable feel of momentum which makes for great songs that rock the house. There are also darkly felt instrumental pieces. ‘Consigning To The Ages’ is very illustrative of what I mean, with its death-affirming, chorused-to-shimmering-glass, clean electric guitar sounds. Then comes the track ‘Abandon In Place’, and its lingering outro which might just be the closest anyone will ever come to capturing the feel of John Christ’s work on “How The Gods Kill”. Personally, I love those types of pieces in contrast to the aggression, as they add feel and texture and lend sumptuous complexity to an album, as is the case here. Taste is manifold in the many guitar solos. Prominent in every song, they never wear out their welcome, but instead bring something more to the songs without ever detracting. These solos demonstrate technique without indulgence in wankery – a true lesson! Probably the most important thing about ARES KINGDOM (besides that they bring the rock) is that the music feels meaningful. It is executed with absolute sincerity and it speaks to truths (whichever these are remain open to personal interpretation, yet I think it is simply the truth of what differentiates powerful, real Metal from all that which is false Metal) – call this Truth Metal! For further information online or to buy a copy from the band, go to www.ares-kingdom.com, or visit the website of their label, www.nwnprod.com.
• ARES KINGDOM - Return To Dust (Frank Stöver)
• ARES KINGDOM - interview (Luxi Lahtinen)