Released: 2007, Nuclear War Now Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Kansas City´s own blackened thrash heroes Ares Kingdom haven´t decided to rest on their laurels for too long, but to keep on churning new stuff out from the band almost constantly. Well, if we are more specific, it´s actually Yosuke from NWN Prods. who does that for them. But anyway...
Ok, now let´s just cut the crap and let´s get to the point little by little. FAILSAFE, a brand-new, 4-song offering from Ares Kingdom, throws us a new version from "Failsafe"; a song that also appeared on the band´s debut album, RETURN TO DUST, which they put out last year on NWN Prods., too. I sincerely cannot make out any other difference between the album version and the one they have included for this EP, except the EP version has got a short intro added to the song. If there was something else, I´m sorry for not noticing them. However, "Failsafe" has always been one of my favorite A.K. songs due to being simply catchy and overall well-structured thoroughly. The band sounds honest, straight and raw in "Failsafe", presenting their blackened deathrash metal in an unique way, the way they can only do.
The same, aforementioned words could easily go for the next song, "Solis Lacus"; an old Ares Kingdom song that they already did for their self-titled demo back in 1997. This version of the song has been recorded in 2005 by the band, and that´s 1st of the three songs that didn´t make it on their debut album. The main, repeated riff in this song, is what caught my attention first. It nearly has a hypnotic grip on its listener. The further the song itself progresses, the better it gets. The band´s guitarist Chuck Keller, who usually doesn´t sow that many solos around the songs, has obviously been in a solo mood as this particular song in question seems to have a double amount of them. "Solis Lacus" still sounds as good as it has always done.
Most of us still remember well Détente´s classic album RECOGNIZE NO AUTHORITY, fronted by Dawn Crosby (R.I.P.), right? Since the guys of Ares Kingdom are all huge fans of Détente, it was only a matter of time when they would do their own tribute to the band, and record a cover version for one of their songs. Here it is. Ares Kingdom´s version from "Vultures in the Sky" pays a lot of homage to the original Détente version - excluding naturally the vocal parts. The song is heavy, crispy and powerful... These KC´s chaosmongers have done absolutely great work with the song, staying loyal to the original structure of the song and not raping it into several unidentifiable pieces.
"Imperium" - the last song, which the band has also recorded back in 2005 already for their AND I SAW ETERNITY EP under Order From Chaos´ name (released by Ground Zero Entertainment), ends the EP with a big bang. It´s a reworked instrumental tune, and it´s probably the heaviest song Ares Kingdom have ever composed during the entire history of the band. Its creepy, eerie atmosphere is honestly so ear-captivating that while you are listening to the song, it strangely urges you to play the ´Repeat´ -button ´til you notice yourself that´s what you have actually been doing for the last 30 minutes (please allow me to exaggerate a little bit, will ya?).
FAILSAFE is only available in limited quantities as vinyl only, either through the band or the label. There´s a so-called ´die-hard´ version available for FAILSAFE (w/ colored vinyl, patch and sticker), but please act fast if you are still going to grab your own copy of this.