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Salt The Wound - "Ares" (CD)

Salt The Wound - "Ares" CD cover image

"Ares" track listing:

1. Mutations
2. From My Hands
3. Foot of the Thrown
4. An Era of Revolution
5. When People Are Shameless
6. Jafar
7. Hail The Locust
8. Take A Bow

Reviewed by on July 20, 2011

"It’s not offensive and it’s not terrible, but 'Ares' is just an unexciting and stale release."

Big line-up changes are usually a career altering move in any band's life. While sometimes they can bring a fresh breath of air into a lifeless and tired group, other times they can completely kill off the act. But then again, in the world of extreme metal, sometimes the change of a frontman can actually mean that business will more or less continue as usual. Let’s not beat around the bush here – there isn't that much variety when it comes to growling and screaming, but for Cleveland group Salt The Wound, will the departure of original vocalist Kevin Schaefer affect the young group on their sophomore release “Ares”?

While their debut “Carnal Repercussions” was hardly the most original thing of all time, at least it was a pretty ear-catching album, but Salt The Wound occupy an unfavourable middle ground – not extreme enough to be picked up by the brutal crowd, but probably a tad too heavy for fans of straight-up hardcore. However, the biggest thing holding the five-piece back is that Salt The Wound plainly lack the ability to pen good songs. Now, you don’t need to write pop music to produce catchy tunes, but there are plenty of extreme metal acts who are swimming in hugely memorable tunes. Salt The Wound are just not one of these groups.

The first 20 seconds of opening tune “Mutations” hints that the group has started to pay attention to the ‘core’ aspect of deathcore, but unfortunately, things start to sound like C-grade At The Gates. A barrage of suitably heavy breakdowns and tempo shifts keep things interesting though. New frontman Mat Wessoly does a decent enough gig, but he’s hardly reinventing the wheel and basically does a faceless job.

Other tracks on the release are listenable and plenty heavy, like “An Era of Revolution” and “From My Hands,” but they barely deviate from the blueprint. “Ares” becomes a pretty tired album rather quickly, especially thanks to the overly long closing number “Take A Bow,” which is basically an exercise in pointlessness. Why the band just didn’t make three or four songs out of the 16 minute track is anyone’s guess.

It’s not offensive and it’s not terrible, but “Ares” is just an unexciting and stale release. With the deathcore genre flooded with heavier, catchier and more interesting bands, Salt The Wound’s second LP won’t need to be high on your shopping list.

Highs: Plenty of massive breakdowns

Lows: A big lack of variety between songs across the whole album

Bottom line: Other tracks on the release are listenable and pretty heavy, but they barely deviate from the blueprint and “Ares” becomes a tired album rather quickly.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)