Released: 2010, Nuclear War Now! Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
It´s been 4 long years since Kansas City´s most known underground metal act, Ares Kingdom, released their very well received and highly praised debut album, RETURN TO DUST, on Nuclear War Now! Productions. Even if 4 years have passed by, Ares Kingdom haven´t wanted to rest on their obviously well deserved laurels, but have kept on writing constantly new material for their next follow-up album for these past 4 years.
To every Ares Kingdom fans´ immediate joy, that 2nd album has finally been released, so naturally people tend to ask: ´Was it worth all this wait then´? Well, after listening to the album for the last 2 days in a row (which by the way carries the name, INCENDIARY) - so devotedly, full of sheer excitement as one possibly can, I can safely yet securely say, it definitely was. The old saying ´all the finest wine ripens in due time´ holds so much truth inside as far as Ares Kingdom´s new opus is concerned. I would be lying if I stated something else regarding this fine outcome of these Kansas City blackened deathrash veterans (´veterans´ in that sense the AK line-up features ex-members from such cult UG metal acts as Order Fron Chaos, Vulpecula, Nepenthe, etc.).
INCENDIARY, with its 9 new Ares Kingdom tracks, is much more advanced sounding yet more varied opus than its predecessor, RETURN TO DUST. What you can find more from this ripping nine track package, is that aforementioned variation of the songs - from slower passages ("Descent of Man" and "Gathering the Eagles" both have some really nice, heavy passages) to more aggressive assaults ("Beasts That Perish"; probably my favorite track out of the 9 songs on this record), to longer, amazingly catchy instrumental sections to a radically increased amount of solo work by the courtesy of Order From Chaos fame Chuck Keller (lost my count already how many solos there actually are on the whole record) - among other things. Other than that, the album sounds quite much more a refined work from them, like every part for each song would have been thought out hundreds of times before nailing these parts together in the studio for good. Analyzing the album through song by song seems very pointless and somewhat even unnecessary as INCENDIARY needs to be heard as its own firm wholeness - without raising some songs over the other songs. But what is definite already, the band has really topped themselves as far as the album´s both musical as well as lyrical aspects are concerned - and I believe the fans can also see and appreciate that when they get to hear the record.
To put it in short, the songs on INCENDIARY represent old school death/thrash in its best form that should absolutely please both the fans of the band as well as fans of this particular genre in question too.
Then the lyrics on INCENDIARY. I have always said - and will say it again, but in my sincere and honest opinion Chuck Keller has always been one of the better and more ingenious metal lyricists in my books of respect and admiration. In fact, the info kit that arrived together with the CD (thanks Ares Kingdom!), sums up Chuck´s sharp and beautifully flowing lyrical approach on INCENDIARY, saying, ´... lyrical themes on INCENDIARY explore significant ideas, historical as well as contemporary, through subjects as varied as religious extremism ("Incendiary"), the Creation vs Evolution debate ("Descent of Man"), elitism and nihilism ("Beasts That Perish"), anti-complacency and the danger of appeasement ("Gathering the Eagles") - and the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 ("Abandon in Disease"). Couldn´t possibly have put it myself any better than this. Anyway, be sure to read his lyrics on this record as they all reek of perfectionism and genius.
Our beloved chaosmongers in Ares Kingdom have truly made a great and worthy return with INCENIDIARY. You neither can possibly live without it - nor die without hearing it first. I am already certain that this album will not get too many contenders this year to conquer its massive throne as one of the genre´s finest albums to date. Who actually knows, probably INCENDIARY will stay on the top of its well deserved throne ´til the end of this year? Let time tell that... ;o)