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On November 16th, Heavy Metal duo Ashes Of Ares released their long awaited sophomore album titled Well Of Souls via Rock Of Angels Records (ROAR) featuring former Iced Earth members Matt Barlow on vocals and Freddie Vidales on guitar. The album is a Melodic, Heavy,  Power Metal journey and an excellent showcase of instrumental dynamics, intricate compositions and a natural chemistry between the two songwriters that is evident to the listener. Throughout the album there is a heavy presence of Neo-Classical elements on guitar, both in the riffs and solos and a wide range of "light-dark" dynamics that give the sections character and allow it to breathe.

The album opens up with "Consuming The Mana" which starts off with an instrumental classical piece with violins that gives the listener a very 'cinematic' vibe, building a lot of tension and setting the mood for the remainder of the album. The group made a music video for "The Alien" which features heavy, chugging riffs overlayed with vocalist Matt Barlow's melodic, low end power metal-esque vocals that contain a lot of grit and rawness. The solos are well composed throughout the entire album and guitarist Freddie Vidales's note choices are spot on. Any guitar player that listens to this album will be able to recognize the musicianship and technique behind the bends, scales and phrasing that make this record unique.

At times, the softer sections of the songs combined with the rough, snarling vocals reminded me a bit of Alice In Chains. However, during other points in the songs, the vocals reach screaming high notes that are reminiscent of vocalists like Rob Halford. Musically, it is apparent that it is a very modern album in terms of style, right down to the production quality. The album seems to be a fusion of now and then, reminding me of bands like Trivium, while still retaining a bit of the classic metal sound and spirit, like Iron Maiden. I think that with the world of heavy metal being such a diverse place regarding subgenres alone, most metalheads will be able to appreciate the quality musicianship behind this record even if the style is not their go-to. Any fan of Iced Earth will most likely also be a fan of Ashes of Ares for obvious reasons. The album ended with "The God of War" before going into a bonus track covering the Chris Cornell song "You Know My Name" as a tribute to the late vocalist. Overall, a solid album from beginning to end that seems to tell a story as it goes along without simply branding itself as a concept album. With such a massive sound, it is easy to forget that they are a duo. Go and pick up a copy now!!

As always, rock on my friends!      Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  8 out of 10

Artist: Ashes of Ares,  Album: Well of Souls,  Release Date: November 16th, 2018 (Order  HERE),  Label: Rock of Angels Records (ROAR)

Neil Metcalf

Writer - Los Angeles

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