Ashes Of Ares is a fine collaboration of ex-Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow and guitarist Freddie Vidales and ex-Nevermore drummer Van Williams. They come from bands with a great audience acceptance and there are no doubts about their musicianship.
First of all, I don’t know where to set my joy first, be it that Paradox released a new album, or because it is a great one. The Bavarians where once characterized Europe’s Metallica and that’s because they sounded quite American for being Europeans, also their crushing riffs and crazy song structures where another reason for this critically acclaimed characterization and the truth is that they never got into the great German thrash bands such as Kreator, Sodom and Destruction, but in terms of technique and composing approach, they were always a step higher, despite being a band that emerged about five years later than the others.
”Tales Of The Weird” is the third album of the band since 2008, a fact that’s quite impressive as they had done three more albums from 1987 to 2008. This shows that the band is back for good and they are willing to take back what they deserved all these years, mainly because they put obstacles on their band. Charly Steinhauer is healthier than ever (the fans of the band know the problems he’s been through so thumbs up for his will to return) and he delivers amazing riffs and guitar themes for another time, creating maybe the best Paradox album since their recent reunion and one of the best albums of the year 2012.
The title track opens the album offering nine minutes of molten metal evolving to a flexible track with numerous riffs and changes. Maybe it’s the best song he’s written since the title track of the ”Heresy” album and the best is that it doesn’t become tiring but mainly puts you in the mood of the further 55 minute pounding course. Great tracks follow such as ”Day Of Judgement”, ”Brutalized”, ”Escalation”, ”Slashdead” and ”The Downward Spiral” to mention some. The album is so fresh that could be an ideal lesson for newcoming thrash bands to follow the Paradox way of playing. Fast but not furious, above all mature and certain.
The new line-up which contains Obscura’s guitarist Christian Muenzner on lead guitars, Daniel Buld on drums and Olly Keller on bass give Charly the chance to write even more demanding material that raises the album a level higher than any other thrash release of 2012, overcoming albums of bands such like Kreator, Destruction, Tankard and Dew-Scented from the German side and it’s even better than the ones Testament and Overkill released from the American side. The leads are amazing and Charly’s voice sounds better than ever. All these produce an album worth repeating its listening procedure again and again.
I couldn’t expect something less than an album of quality but this one overcame my expectations. Paradox are back with an album which someone can proudly claim he loves thrash (don’t forget that thrashers are not the most open-minded metal fans…unfortunately). Many die-hards of the past may disagree but the only thing they’ll create is laughter. ”Tales Of The Weird” was made to be listened loud and make your head bang. I’m still smiling while thinking of the tracks, albums like this one make me feel good for many days, even months. The most certain thing is I’m going to dig it even further. Do the same without second thought.
|Track List||Line Up||
01. Tales Of The Weird
02. Day Of Judgement
04. Fragile Alliance
09. The Downward Spiral
10. A Light In The Dark (Rainbow Cover)
Charly Steinhauer – Vocals, Guitars
Achim Homerlein ”Daxx” – Lyrics
Christian Muenzner – Guitars
Daniel Buld – Drums
Olly Keller – Bass