“Gone” is one that’s pretty important to me. I just think it’s one that I wrote, really. All of that came from the heart. So I think people will hear that, I hope. That one. “I Am The Night” and “By My Blade”, are both comic characters, tribute to because I’m a comic fan. Comic nerd. We try to keep it as eclectic as possible.
As a longtime Iced Earth fan who always thought the band was at their absolute best with vocalist Matt Barlow, I was both disappointed when his second tenure with the band ended quickly, and excited to hear his new project Ashes of Ares when it started in 2012. Working with fellow former Iced Earth member Freddie Vidales and Nevermore drummer Van Williams, the trio released an excellent debut in 2013, to much fanfare. Williams left the band in 2017 while continuing to contribute as a session member, and the band released a solid follow-up in 2018 called The Well of Souls, which seemed to go by largely unnoticed due to coming at a busy time. Now, though, the duo of Barlow and Vidales is back and ready to release their third full-length album, Emperor and Fools, and it is every bit as good as either of their previous albums, with a couple of tracks, in particular, standing out as their best work to date.
I mean, that’s what life is to me. I just want to have all of these albums that all be remembered by people forever. So I’ll vacation when I’m dead!
While I’ve focused a lot on the vocals, I can assure that everything else about the album is also top notch, and on the whole it’s a very strong debut and highly recommended for fans of Iced Earth, and also for fans of traditional heavy metal in general.