Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ashes of Ares / A Sound of Thunder / Ghost of War / Martyrd @ Empire 5/17/2014

I Went to see Ashes of Ares ($10) with a solid set of openers. I saw a ton of people- Kris, Ariel, James, Nathan with a J, Sean, Lisa, Brian B and Samjhana, Maery and JASON, Bobbie + Nick, Nina and Willie, Dave, Dickie, Joel, Ethan, my boot brother TJ, Martin, Cascade, Allie,Greg n Sako, Mike and even met some new friends (Erika, Jorge).

To my surprise there was a line to get in at Empire when I got there around 7. It'd been a while since I have been in a line at Empire!  So that was a good sign, right?  I chatted with many people in line, a lot of familiar faces!  Overall there were about 80-100 people there. I think I knew about a third of the crowd. Wow. This was not a great turnout, but there was a lot of life, movement, and chatting throughout the crowd, it felt like about 3 times as many people were there! A lot of positive energy and happy faces all around (except for Ariel hating for about 30 minuts).

Merchandise wise- Ashes of Ares had a new shirt ($20), and some old ones too. They had their one from last year's tour for the steal of $10 ($25 last year d'oh, should have waited)! Ghost of War and A Sound of Thunder had their huge merch set ups with CDs, shirts, (and various Jagermeister merch for GoW) etc.  Martyrd had their shirts and CDs as well.

 Martyrd was kind of like Death Angel, Act IV

Martyrd was on first. I think they had the same setlist like last time.  I had only heard Ghost of War and A Sound of Thunder advertize the show until a couple days before, when I saw that Martyrd had also been added.  They were added pretty late too, on the first show I saw them at- Metal Church.  They sounded a little worse this time, which I think was due to the sound being a little too loud (or maybe I'm too old?) this evening.  They seemed to get the crowd going, but I couldn't really get into their kinda meh thrash. 

 When you hear Ronnie wail, you will love it
The always energetic Ghost of War was up next! They started off maybe a bit too ambitious with trying to get the audience to sing along to "Heavens Burning" (I would have swapped it with the next song). The melodic guitar work and soaring vocals were petty amazing, about as great as the last time I saw them.  They pulled out a new song ("Shadows of ?") which was cool, and an appropriately timed Black Sabbath cover ("Children of the Sea") near the anniversary of Dio's death. They were going to do a song with Freddie from Ashes of Ares ("Wasted Years"- Iron Maiden), but somehow ran out of time. That still didn't ruin the solid and fun set, and the vocalist Ronnie was very professional and gracious to everyone, a real stand up guy!

The Nightwitch yus
Local true metal favourites A Sound of Thunder were touting an 'old school' set that would feature many songs that we'd not heard in a while, so I was pretty excited about that. They sounded pretty tight, especially on songs that pretty much turned their recent setlists on their sides! I must have been very rusty because I def couldn't remember "Walls" title and I thought "Just Another Fool" was "Out of the Darkness" for a minute, it had been probably years since I've heard it.  I did like the throwback set withthe trippy "Reign of the Hawklords" and Nina busting out that damn theremin being my favourite one. OH besides "Blood Vomit."  "...Doom" was on the list, but they cut it...

Jeese was pretty much like this last night

So, A Sound of Thunder had a series of problems on stage- singer Nina's big biker boot broke during one song and she had to change shoes in between songs. Jesse's bass strap broke, and he somehow cut himself and was bleeding on his bass- and he was playing like that for 80% of their set! Pretty metal! They had "...Doom" and "Queen..." on the list, but they had to cut things short, like Ghost of War. I do not know the reason why both bands seemingly had less time, but each played about what I would have thought their sets would have run (28  and 43 minutes, respectively).

 No Jokes about your "One Eyed King" please
I last caught Ashes of Ares at the much maligned Rock Harvest II, and I loved them then as well as this time!  Matt Barlow's (ex-Iced Earth) return to heavy music with Van Williams (drums, ex-Nevermore, so you KNOW he can play) and Freddie Vidales (guitar, ex-Iced Earth) was a slab of crunchy metal in that prog/power/true vein that is pretty Iced Earthy.  I really enjoy the album (they only have one), and totally recommend it if you like Iced Earth.  Setlist wise, there were no surprises, they played the entire album.  I kind of wanted more, but what else could they play, a cover (though A Dio one would have been timely)? I don't think Matt would play an Iced Earth song now tho. 

Soundwise, Ashes of Ares sounded the best of the night. Matt was a little sick at Rock Harvest, apparently, but sounded great then. This time he was even better, spine chilling at times even. Everything was sufficiently heavy, and the solos were pretty clear and spot on.  Even better than the album! No complaints except the short set (tho it was only $10 for all these!).  But is it REALLY a short set if they play all their songs!?

Overall it was a pretty great night full of metal and friends- a real treat for a small intimate show and getting to hear the whole album (again). \m/ 

Next Show: finally get to see RITCHIE BLACKMORE ('s Night) at the Birchmere!


Martyrd (8:02- 8:31)
  • ?
  • Pain of Reason
  • ? (Sinner)
  • The Mortal Coil: Succumb
  •  ? (Faceless)
  • ?  (Never Wake)
Ghost of War (8:52- 9:20)
  • Heavens Burning
  • Falling Into Eternity
  • ?
  • Shadows of ? (new song!)
  • Children of the Sea (Black Sabbath cover!)
A Sound of Thunder(9:40- 10:23)
Ashes of Ares (10:43-11:40)

  • The Messenger
  • Move the Chains
  • On Warrior's Wings
  • Punishment
  • This Is My Hell
  • Dead Man's Plight
  • Chalice of Man
  • The Answer
  • What I Am
  • The One-Eyed King