Chris Akin of “The Classic Metal Show” recently conducted an interview with former ICED EARTH and current ASHES OF ARES vocalist Matt Barlow.
On the importance of trying new things in a career that spans over several decades:
Matt: “I wanna expand. I wanna kind of spread my wings a little bit. WE ARE SENTINELS [Barlow’s project with composer, keyboardist and pianist Jonah Weingarten], that was the prime example, like, ‘Hey, fuck it. Let’s do something completely different.’ I don’t wanna do that for ASHES. I mean, I know ASHES is a metal band, and I have certain expectations for myself to give to Freddie. Freddie is a metal guy, man, and he deserves it — he deserves every bit of metal that I can give him. If I can squeeze in some harmonies here and there that he’s okay with, or do some crazy little high, jazzy bits up there that he kind of cringes at, but goes, ‘Okay, it’s cool,’ then that’s great — that’s what I shoot for. I do wanna make it different, but I wanna stay within the realm of metal, obviously, with ASHES and make it as heavy and kind of gritty as we can as well. But also, yeah, man, have fun with it. I mean, why not? That’s what we’re here for. And doing the carbon-copy stuff, man — what’s the point? What’s in the point in that? Nobody wants to hear that.
“Sometimes it’s hard to escape the comparisons [to ICED EARTH], because my voice is still my voice no matter what, and I’m still gonna deliver things emotionally like I have before, so people are always gonna draw comparisons with ICED EARTH, and that’s fine; I’m completely cool with that. I’m proud of my time in ICED EARTH, proud of everything that I’ve done with them, proud of them right now, going on and kicking ass. So I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever — the comparisons. But, that being said, I want ASHES to have its own identity as well. I think, again, as my writing partner, Freddie deserves that — he deserves to have his own identity in ASHES — and I think that’s really important; that’s what we’re striving to do. And also, hey, man, there’s already an ICED EARTH out there; they’re touring and they’re kicking ass, as I stated before. Why would I wanna do ICED EARTH stuff?”