Ashes Of Ares

Ashes Of Ares are back with a new album and this time I’m kinda sure that after a long time Matt Barlow has found a very trustful and matching buddy as they can work together well and deliver the goods properly like the old days. Read what matt told us about Ashes Of Ares, the new album, Iced Earth and several other interesting things below…
Ashes Of Ares band pic
Hi Matt, I’m glad we’re given the chance to talk about the new Ashes Of Ares album “Well of Souls”.
M: It is my pleasure to do so. Thanks!
5 years have passed since your debut. What happened on the band’s camp in the meantime?
M: Well, life happens (haha)! We all have personal lives and careers outside of music. There were also some health issues with family that took some time away from writing. We also changed labels in the meantime, so all of these things contributed to a later release than we would have liked.
How did all these changes (during these 5 years) affect the band in general?
M: The biggest change would certainly be that Van is no longer a formal member of the band. However, Van did perform on the record, and did a fantastic job!
So why Van Williams (Ghost Ship Octavius, ex-Nevermore) is not a member of the band anymore? What happened? Have you found someone to replace him in the meantime?
M: Van was actually out of the band prior to getting signed with ROAR. He had decided to go full force with GSO and had also had to family matters that needed more of his time. We asked Van to perform on “WoS” because he was familiar with much of the material already and thought he could use some extra cash... as we all can. We were happy to work with Van again, and think he did an awesome job! Freddie and I have been really fortunate to work with some amazing musicians and will continue to do so during our live shows.
You’ve also signed to a new label – ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records. Why did you leave Nuclear Blast Records and how did the cooperation with the new label occur?
M: Nuclear Blast had the option to pick us up for second release and decided to pass. Our manager then started shopping “Well of Souls” demo to other labels, and ROAR liked what they heard. Everything has gone really well since then. It’s nice to have a good working relationship with ROAR!
Which are the main differences and similarities between the new album and the debut?
M: The similarities are that all of our influences are the same as they were on the first record, and that tends to make it sound like AoA. Outside of that, I think we intentionally went for a darker/heavier tone for this record.
Did you feel any kind of stress releasing a new album earlier or you just go with the flow, so as to get the best possible result?
M: We had the record written and a lot of the tracking, as well. We just completed record when we got the deal with ROAR. There was very little stress to the whole thing, besides just wanting to put out a quality product for folks to enjoy.
Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze, Teramaze, Echoterra) on keys also contributed to the album. How did the cooperation come about?
M: We just asked him... he said yes! Haha!! Seriously though, we knew we wanted to have a big, epic intro for the record and we knew that “Consuming the Mana” was going to be the first track. We floated the idea to Jonah and he produced a kick ass intro!!
What is the “Well of Souls” and what does the album title declare?
M: The “Well of Souls” is part of the story that is included within the trilogy on the record. The trilogy is kind of spiritual, horror, sci-fi story that was a lot of fun to create. Many of the tunes on the record have a similar dark fantasy vibe, as that is the kind of stuff that we enjoy.
Give us a hint about each track…
M: “Consuming the Mana”: Hawaiian warriors…
“The Alien”: Superhero…
“Unworthy”: Pushed to the edge…
“Soul Searcher”: Desolate vampire…
“Sun Dragon”: Planet on fire…
“Transcending”: Spiritual metamorphosis…
“Let All Despair”: Trilogy begins…
“In the Darkness”: Earth in peril…
“Spirit of Man”: Humanity pleads…
“Time Traveler”: Our legacy…
“The God of War”: Anger and fear…
Why did you decide to cover, the Casino Royale soundtrack, “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell?
M: First, Freddie and I are huge Bond fans and we both think that Chris Cornell’s theme is the best that has ever been done for a 007 film. Second, it seemed like a really nice way to honor Chris’ life and his effect on the rock and metal world.
Do you plan to stay a duo or are you thinking of adding some permanent members too so as to do some touring as well?
M: Freddie and I will remain a writing duo. I think it will keep things more streamlined for the writing process. We, of course, will be working with other musicians for live performances. We are very blessed to have some very talented friends in this business.
Which are your expectations from “Well of Souls” and what does the future hold for Ashes Of Ares?
M: We really just want folks to enjoy the record and of course, purchase it, so that our label can get there investment back. I think that our folks to understand, if they aren’t buying records, we can’t continue to make them. It’s basic economics.
Some fans say that Ashes Of Ares’ music remind them of your Iced Earth days. What do you think of that?
M: I think that if folks think of I.E. as the records that I perform on, that would be a natural reaction. I have my own style of singing and I can’t (and won’t) change that. Outside of that, AoA has a different musical style, but it is still metal. We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. We are doing what we love to do.
Have you ever thought of playing or recording again with Iced Earth at some point?
M: I don’t foresee that happening. Stu is Iced Earth’s singer. He has done far more performances with I.E. than I ever did. And is a fantastic frontman.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Ashes Of Ares initially?
M: I thought of the name and passed the idea to Freddie and Van. I love writing in duality and using wordplay. This was no different really. The way I saw it, the ashes could represent either the ashes of mankind after Ares has pushed us all to total war, or the ashes could represent the death of Ares once mankind has evolved beyond his reach.
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
M: The “dance beat” that allows every modern dance song to be linked together without missing a single-overly processed-extremely bass-beat. I firmly believe that this is a binary program that causing people to lose their minds... myself included (haha)!
Which are the best 3 Heavy Metal albums according to you?
M: That’s really a tough question! I don’t know that I can answer, only to say that there are so many great albums that have influenced me. Far more than three.
Fill in the phrase… “Heavy Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
M: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Judas Priest!
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
M: I’m going to go with folks that have really influenced me personally. I will say that Rob Halford always showed so much emotion in his delivery and it always made his performances really memorable. In that same spirit, I will say that Pat Benatar (I know she’s not metal) did the same. Though she’s not a metal vocalist, she always delivered in a “metal” way imo.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
M: Black Sabbath!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
M: Probably one that I think I might have written better than the original artist. That being said, I wouldn’t want to touch any of the beloved music that I have come up listening to and have been influenced by.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
M: Dio – “Dream Evil”… the song “All the Fools Sailed Away”!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
M: The future... I’d be too afraid that I’d screw something up in the past!
We’re done Matt! Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care dude!
M: Thanks for the opportunity and thanks to your readers and folks that have been supporting Ashes Of Ares for these many years!