Ares Kingdom call declaration for war, dominance on hellish, crushing ‘The Unburiable Dead’

Ares KingdomWaging war might not be humanity’s greatest attribute, but alas, it’s seemingly what we do. Over land disputes, religious disagreements, fossil fuels, or just for the hell of it, we’re always tearing at someone’s throats. And as long as we have heavy metal around, there always will be bands that will write about it.

Kansas City, Mo., trio Ares Kingdom is one of them, and their nasty, wholly destructive sounds have amassed followers and admirers the world over. Maybe not as well-known as like-minded bands such as Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets, and Asphyx, this band is just as nasty and violent as anyone else out there. Their blistering, penetrating style has become their trademark for the past two decades, and over three full-length releases and a slew of compilations and EPs, they have become a go-to band for ideally translating the hell of battles and the struggle for dominance into their drilling death metal. It’s not pretty, but weirdly, it can be quite catchy to take in. Those riffs, right?

Ares Kingdom coverThe band’s latest record “The Unburiable Dead” is more from their bloody vault, and it certainly will please anyone who’s been along for the whole terrifying ride with the group. This record is seven tracks spread out over 45 minutes, and there is nary room to breathe during the entire excursion. Ares Kingdom—vocalist/bassist Alex Blume, guitarist Chuck Keller, drummer Mike Miller—have been doing their thing ever since formation in 1996. Over the years, they’ve blasted out their 2006 debut album “Return to Dust,” as well as 2010’s world-toppling “Incendiary,” finally returning five years later with their current work. It’s just as heavy and menacing as anything in their arsenal, and it’s bound to get your blood flowing hard.

“Ubique” tears the lid off this thing, blasting open and pouring buckets of molten steel and heavy death thrash into the mix. The growls are gruff, and the howls of, “Wave upon wave upon wave upon wave!” over the chorus not only provides perfect shout-back fodder, but actually seem to describing what you’re witnessing before you. The soloing catches fire and charges gloriously, while the final moments explode with power. “Nom de Guerre” has rapidly-spat vocals that drub you, as well as blinding and vicious playing that leaves welts. The drums are just crushed, while the mauling gets thicker and thicker, and soloing tears out of the final moments, leaving everything scorched. “Salient and Redoubt” has a nice helping of tasty riffs, with menacing thrashing and vocals that sound like they’re trying to destroy Blume’s throat. The pace is savage and fierce, with everything fading out in a pool of noise. “Demoralize” has gigantic, surging riffs, with classic-style thrashing, a simple chorus where the song title is bellowed over and over, and soloing that just torches the skin. More gut-wrenching growls come out of that, with the track ending in blistering hell.

“Writhe: Fettered to a Corpse” is a skull-mashing instrumental, with meaty riffs meeting up with glimmering guitar work. The song is plenty heavy, and even without any savage growls from Blume, the level of violence is unquestionable. The title cut follows, with clean notes echoing out and the track taking on a slow burn. “Death gives life its meaning,” Blume howls, as the band lets loose every piece of their sweltering artillery. Closer “Stultifera Navis (Armistice and League)” is the longest cut on the album at 11:08, and its super-thick bassline runs headlock into the charging guitars, kicking up a suffocating cloud of smoke. The song has a great give and take over the course of its epic run, leaning into vicious clubbing one moments, pulling back and letting the atmosphere breathe in others. Tribal-style drums surface at one point, with voices swirling, and later on the guitars rise up and show their dominance again. The darkness shifts into the scene, with the sound of an old warship creaking, and the track keeps building the intensity until the fire hits its apex and the fury melts away.

As raucous and fire-breathing as ever before, Ares Kingdom sound punishing and gut-wrenching on “The Unburiable Dead.” The record never stops, piling body upon body, blast on top of blast through its run time. This is one of the most consistent, molten of all death metal bands, especially those painting bloody horrors of battle. They’ve yet to let us down, and this new opus indicates their fires are far from being extinguished.

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