In a swirl of fires ARES KINGDOM Kingdom spouts out phantom of Order From Chaos after long years has to forge iron charismatic Chuck Keller and his acolyte Mike Miller again insufflated about 1996 a metal bolting strong original drawing up a backdrop on such various influences the one of the others going from the thrash, death melodic metal with old black influences clarifying of heavy feeling showing an infallible devotion of capacities reaching the skies… All that went hand in hand they took the weapons under the influence of the gods of the Ares war coming from ancient Greek mythology dedicated with the destruction and carnage letting appear a mortal instint with the words. With this intention it seemed obvious to me of questioned the main protagonist at the court of which it started the offensive…
01 - Hailz Chuck! Thanks for accepting having an interview for my zine.
02 - Ares Kingdom aren’t newcomers, you made a demo as well as a promo in 1997. Well,the band were formed around 1996 by you and Mike Miller after Order From Chaos splitted up, so I let you tell me why Order From Chaos ceased their activity? I wonder what happened with Peter Helkamp as he formed Angel Corpse without taking participation in Ares Kingdom? How do you consider all the work you did since you first began?
When OFC formed in 1987 we mapped out a career path of 3 albums (and a number of EPs along the way) before our deliberate split-up. As the third album approached it became difficult to stick to the plan because we were gaining some notoriety, but by early 1995 we were out of suitable ideas for OFC and we disbanded.
03 - The topics of your lyrics have very dark connotations as well as a great determination against adversity... What is the ideological concept hidden behind that?
A common theme in my lyrics on Return to Dust is anti-complacency. Human nature desires and inclines towards complacency even though it opens the door to destruction. Scenarios in the lyrics on the album range from WWI (Lamentations) to a fictional future war (A Dream of Armageddon) to a nuclear holocaust (Failsafe), but the message is there in each.When I look carefully at one of your pictures, I notice you wear Thor’s hammer... What does nordic mythology symbolize for you? Could you please expose your deep thoughts about your veneration for ancient scandinavian gods?Nordic mythology is interesting to me for a number of reasons. My wife is from Scandinavia, so its part of my family’s heritage.
04 - What kind of a fight would you adopt to eradicate immigration?
I don’t have any problem with legal immigration. As for illegal immigration, I would begin by tightening control over our borders. For a nation that is so concerned about ‘homeland security,’ its frustrating that our government has adopted such a weak and politically correct policy. But, politicians being as they are, many are obsessed with placating voting blocks.
05 - Are you interested in the Second World War, if yes what do you think about the french “Charlemagne Division”? I think all wars were conflicts between various religions... so I’d like to know your own vision of the future regarding the current war in Iraq?
Wars are usually fought over wealth and natural resources. Religion is often co-opted by the belligerents, but it’s not accurate to say religion always causes wars. Yes, the Second World War is interesting, but I’m more interested in the First World War - the struggle from which you can say the current conflict in Iraq ultimately descends. Reforming Iraq from the brutal dictatorship it was into a modern parliamentary democracy is necessary. I expect Iraq will be a bit like South Africa for the next decade or so - a turbulent and often violent fledgling democracy emerging from decades of oppression. Like South Africa after apartheid, post-Saddam Iraq will struggle every day with the responsibility freedom brings. But it will be worth it for them in the long run.Another course for the United States (and the west in general) is to become self-sustaining in the production of crude oil. At the same time, the private sector should invest in alternative forms of energy and further decrease our dependence on oil, with the goal being to eliminate the need for fossil fuels altogether. This may never be achieved, but we can do better than we are now. Though OPEC and other producers would drop their prices in the short term to try to remain competitive, the world - if it is truly scared by the thought of “global warming” (LOL), should then continue to turn its back on fossil fuels. This would force meaningful reformation in certain areas of the world. Aid to middle-eastern communities with ties to terrorism should be tied to the eradication of extremists, and the adoption of more open, tolerant and liberal-minded cosmopolitan societies and approaches to international relations.
06 - Agonia Records released « Chaosmongers Alive » as a limited edition single. How did you come to get in touch with them? Did they live up to your expectations? Did you get much attention to their old school underground acts signing, such as Witchmaster, Impiety and so on?
I don’t remember how we got in contact with Agonia, actually, but Filip was able to release the 7” on our schedule, so we went with him. We didn’t sign a contract, but the EP came out well. I worked with him again on the Barbatos album Fury and Fear, Flesh and Bone (I designed the layout, etc). We weren’t as satisfied with his support and promotion that time, but by then his attention had turned more towards signing black metal bands.
07 - Chuck, you joined Barbatos as a session lead guitarist and vocalist. How was your involvement like, did it happen well? Honestly, would you like to do it again with other bands if you were asked to?
I have written lyrics for Yasuyuki since around 1994 and I’ll probably help him again. He asked me for more lyrics in 2003 and that evolved into me helping with vocals and lead guitars on Fury and Fear, Flesh and Bone. I’ve also recorded a special solo for his cover of Vulpecula’s The First Point of Aries, which still hasn’t been released. I’ve also recorded a solo for Sigh’s new album Hangman’s Hymn, on the song Memories as a Sinner. In 2004 I wrote the music for (Storming Through) A Hail of Steel, which appeared on Pentacle’s Under the Black Cross album.
08 - In 2005 your 3rd demo saw the light of day as a CDR so the distribution went mediocre… What was the main reason for releasing it in such a limited number of copies? Was it to approach record labels or fanzines to get a new contract? How many copies did you sell?
That CDR wasn’t really a demo; it was a promo culled from a rough mix of our album. We put it together to commemorate our appearance at the Nuclear Holocaust Festival in Chicago in 2005. I think we only made 50 or 60 copies to give away with T-shirts, so wide distribution wasn’t the goal.
09 - Ares Kingdom played several gigs in 2006. I read on your website you had troubles at Island Bar, Lee's Summit, Missouri. Except for that one, were they good experiences?
Yeah, we played a few times in 2006, but the shows weren’t anything to brag about. We’ve played Chicago a couple of times and each show was good. Omaha is always fun mainly because we have a lot of old friends there like Filthy Few and Diabolic Possession.
10 - A die-hard version of the « Firestorm Redemption » MLP had been pressed. I’d like to know if that idea is yours or your label’s? Are you interested in seeing a part of your discography turning into collectors’ items later and selling at a high price on eBay?
NWN almost always does “Die Hard” versions of their releases and this was one of the deciding factors for us going with them. We’re interested in releasing the best-looking, most inspiring album we can. Many bands have a different set of career goals and their music is just part of a business formula. That’s fine for them, but not for us. Ares Kingdom isn’t the trendy flavour of the week, media darlings or outrageous kvlt heroes. At the end of the day, we want our albums to look as good as possible and no other label has matched NWN for quality. Will this make our releases collectible in the future? Probably. But future collectibility is not a consideration for us in the present.
11 - Dam, I noticed Vulpecula were your second band, with musical and lyrical influences different than those of Ares Kingdom. I suppose these two groups mean a lot for you... Could you explain me your reasons for having formed two bands in parallel. Which one gives you the greatest adrenaline rush?
Vulpecula was something I had wanted to do during the OFC days but did not match the outright brutality of OFC’s formula. It simply had to wait. Ares Kingdom is definitely the more adrenaline drenched of the two.
12 - The adventure goes on with Nuclear War Productions: in the same year the devilish full-lenght ‘Rising To Dust’ will be released as various formats. Are you satisfied with your collaboration with Yosuke, and with his promotional work? Did you personally give your approval for re-pressing these die-hard editions?
Definitely. Yosuke does a good job getting his releases out to grassroots fans that most appreciate what we do. Things build naturally from there. The limited edition die-hard versions are a sort of reward for these grassroots fans and we take extra care to design something special for them.Another question comes to my mind, I read on the single that this album was supposed to be released by the german Merciless Records label under a different name: “A Dream Armageddon”. Please explain all these radical changes that leave me perplexed!Merciless was Vulpecula’s label for Fons Immortalis. Ares Kingdom intended to go with Merciless initially, but the label had several other things going that were ultimately going to delay our release, so we had to consider other options. NWN surfaced and quickly gained our respect.
13 - How would you compare the 80’s underground scene (represented by bands like Bathory, Hellhammer, Mefisto, Sabbat...) with the current one? What is your point of view about the orthodox black metal scene?
Some things haven’t changed about the underground between the ‘80s and now, but others have. The media attempts to report on the more outrageous aspects of it from time to time, but I don’t remember that happening much in the ‘80s. There are certainly more bands now than before and its easier to release albums…which, if you ask me, isn’t necessarily a good thing.I don’t know what orthodox black metal is, but apart from a few bands in the 1990s, black metal doesn’t do much for me.
14 - I am glad to discover on your MySpace page that you are influenced by mighty underground bands I worship from the beginning of it all, let me sing your infernal praises...Have you ever traded records with some motherfuckers (names please!)?
Sure. Lots of guys from Quorthon to Stephen from Varathron. Too many to mention…
15 - Have you been recently impressed by bands you had never heard about before?
I just heard the Warning album Watching From a Distance and liked it very much. Batallion from Norway kills…
16 - Do you chat with some fuckin’ bitches (porn actresses, strip-teasers) on MySpace? I ask you about it because I notice Exciter and Slaughter have lots of pervert contacts. If yes, have you got some invitations to fuck? (laugh) Do you sometimes have to refuse such requests from some fans?
No, that sort of shit doesn’t interest me. The less time I spend on the Internet, the more time I have to concentrate on my family and band.
.17 - Now your turn to ask me a question…
What aspect of the band attracts you to Ares Kingdom? Music, lyrics, production, ugliness, etc?
Ron :It’s hard to say Chuck! Sincerely, I think the first thing for the listener is the music which is the most important aspect. However the lyrics have to match perfectly to the compositions otherwise the music is senseless. Indeed, production is really important to me because it reflects the image of the band and as I have bathed in the 80’s, my nerve cells don’t tolerate the new gay metal Productions lol! As for the cover, I don’t always focus on it, I’m not 16 anymore! If you look some artworks from old 80’s bands, the design was really childish but when you listened to the music you hallucinated. Nevertheless each musical style have its own touch. What do you mean by ugliness? Sorry I haven’t fucked Lori Bravo from Nuclear Death till now haha!
18 - Chuck, you’re a Bathory die-hard fan and wear a fuckin’ nice Bathory T-shirt from the ‘Blood Fire Death’ era on a picture from your MySpace page; the link to the official Bathory website is also included on your website, I am proud to see that. How was your reaction like when you learned about Quorthon’s death? Have you read the interview I did, if yes have you appreciated it?
Quorthon’s death was a terrible shock and I still haven’t quite come to terms with it. We had talked about his supposed death in 1990 before, so at first I thought this might be another rumor gone mad. When he didn’t answer my email the day I found out, I knew something was wrong. A couple days later Black Mark made the official announcement. Glad you liked my shirt, though. It’s 19 years old (and a bit shredded) but still looks good.
19 - Thanks a lot for having spent time for this interview as well as for your fuckin’ great support. Please end this interview by telling me about the future plans for Ares Kingdom.Stay heavy!!!
We’re currently finishing up the next single, « Failsafe » and working on music for the next LP. We’re planning on playing a few dates across the US this spring and summer, so we have a full agenda ! Bookmark www.areskingdom.com for up-to-the-minute news and to order our albums, CDs, singles, shirts and bullion patches ! Let us hear from you ! .
Interview : Kanz-Noz