Based out of Kansas City, Missouri, Ares Kingdom combines death and thrash metal to a devastating effect – complete with compelling lyrical content. Featuring members from the legendary Order From Chaos (who are doing some reunion shows currently), Ares Kingdom has unleashed their second full-length disc of destruction entitled Incendiary. Here is a recent interview we conducted with two of the members to find out more about the new album as well as their take on the current Order From Chaos shows. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Ares Kingdom and how long the band has been together.
Chuck Keller: Guitar.
Mike Miller: Drums. Chuck and I began putting together ideas for Ares Kingdom in 1996.
Where is the band currently based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
Mike: Kansas City. The scene here is marginal at best. The locals have no interest in bands that dont play a style that is “flavor of the day”. There is one promoter that is into underground metal and puts on some pretty cool shows, other than that, not much.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Incendiary? Where did you get the ideas for some of your lyrics this time around? Please cite two songs from the new CD and what the lyrics are about.
Chuck: Well, the band’s name acknowledges the age-old axiom that the world is governed by the aggressive use of force. With this as a philosophical backdrop, lyrical themes on Incendiary explore other significant ideas and events, historical and contemporary, through subjects like religious extremism (Incendiary), the Creation vs. Evolution debate (Descent of Man), elitism and nihilism (Beasts that Perish), anti-complacency and the dangers of appeasement (Gathering the Eagles), and the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 (Abandon in Place).
The CD booklet is quite extensive and looks like it took a lot of time to put together. How much input did you have on the artwork on the booklet? Please comment on the cover painting as well and the history behind it.
Chuck: The booklet was entirely our creation. We think that if you’re going to make the effort to record an album, you should also make an effort on packaging it as artfully as possible. Unless you’re a freeloader, er, downloader, you most likely expect value for money, and we are trying to do our part to provide it. The cover art is by Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), and is titled “That Liberty Shall Not Perish From the Earth.” It was a poster for the USA’s Fourth Liberty War Loan in 1918, and was originally intended to shake a complacent America out of its dream of detachment from “Europe’s War.” Its lesson remains clear. Complacency and appeasement in the face of an enemy that wishes you harm at all costs signs your own death warrant. We resurrect the image here as the imagery connects vividly with the title track’s theme and sound.
What could one expect from a live Ares Kingdom show?
Mike: I’d like to think that people would come away thinking “that’s how metal is supposed to be played!” I want to see a band play as close to the record as possible,but with the intensity playing live brings.
How has the Order From Chaos show been going?
Mike: For not having played together for a few years, they’ve been pretty good.
Would Order From Chaos and Ares Kingdom ever want to do a full on tour together? Would certain members in your band be able to play two shows a night?
Mike: OFC and AK are playing 5-6 shows together in 2010, with Chuck and I doing double duty.
Some of your members have been involved with metal bands since as early as 1987. Is creating music and playing live still as exciting for you now as it was back then?
Mike: Much more so now, because we didn’t get play out much in the early days. Writing and playing music is better than working anyway.
Chuck: Mike and I have been playing together since 1986, but creating music and playing live is certainly more exciting now than it was then. Now we feel like we know what we’re doing!
What CD would someone be very surprised to find in your music collection?
Mike: Anything from Deadbolt (Alex makes me listen to them)
Chuck: Linda Ronstadt – Winterlight.
Chuck, please comment on your work with Vulpecula. What do you think of the project in retrospect, and is this something you’d like to bring back some day?
Chuck: I love everything Vulpecula did, without reserve; in fact we’re going to resurrect Celestial from In Dusk Apparition to re-record on our next project. As for bringing the band back, no. AK can cover whatever Vulpecula tracks we want.
What are the future plans for Ares Kingdom?
Mike: We’re working on a collection of covers that we’ll put together in the next few months,plus we’re playing quite a few shows this summer/fall , then start working on the next full length AK record.
Any messages for metal fans here in the Los Angeles area?
Mike: Thanks for coming to see us and going insane at the Black Castle (R.I.P) shows , we’ll hopefully be back soon. Die by Power!!
Chuck: Thanks, Ken.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Ares Kingdom on Myspace