Matt Barlow, may have left Iced Earth , but that doesn’t meaning h’s been sitting around, doing nothing. He got to work straight away with his former colleague Freddie Vidales and Nevermore’s Van Williams to form a new project called Ashes of Ares. Their debut is out right now on Nuclear Blast.
Just looking at the band name you would think the lyrics would be inspired by wars and conflict, but I find them to be much more about the search for redemption?
Sure…I get that as well. I just started writing, and that stuff came out. I think that I approached things on a more personal kind of level. Though not all of the ideas are not about personal experiences, I wanted to speak to a larger audience.
What prompted the departure of both yours and Freddie‘s departure from Iced Earth?
Well, I can’t speak for Freddie. My reason for leaving was because Iced Earth needed to tour more. Because the record industry has changed so much, working bands need to tour more to support themselves. I was not willing be away from my family for the length of time that touring would require. Besides that, I have a career that I really love and allows me to continue on with music.
In your day job you are a police officer for the Georgetown Police Department? Do you find it feasible to combine that with your musical activities.
I have great people that I work for, and work with. Since I have been a police officer, I have recorded three studio records and a live DVD/CD and toured around the world. I’d say it is pretty feasible.
How do your colleagues react when they hear you’ve such a long standing career as a heavy metal musician?
They are all really supportive. They may not all be metal heads, but I think that they appreciate what I do in the musical realm.
How did you team up with Van Williams, formerly from Nevermore?
I have known Van since 1996. We have toured together on several occasions, and have still remained friends after all these years…ha, ha! Van is a great guy and a fantastic drummer.
You continue to find inspiration in Todd McFarlan’s comic book character Spawn. What do you find so intriguing about him?
Actually, if you are referring to the song “Punishment”, it’s not about Spawn. It is based on another comic character, but since I didn’t get official permission to use the name, I won’t say the name of the character…you might be able to figure it out, though.
Is that your only foray into the world of comic books or are you like myself a fervent collector?
I’m not that active in collecting anymore, but I still enjoy the classics. I expect that my boys will be comic nerds like me someday, so I will pass my collections on to them.
Going back to the lyrics, they often try to show a positive, encouraging viewpoint like in “Move the Chains”. Is that what you try to pass along on your songs, the will to keep going?
I think that is always a good way to approach life. If you give up or give in, it will never work out in your favor. Keep informed and pay attention to what life has to offer, both good and bad. That is the only way to stay on the right path.
Any last words?
I would like to thank you for your time and dedication in writing about Heavy Metal. Keep up the good work! Also, I’d like to thank the metal fans for the many years of dedication to the stuff that I have been a part of. I hope to see you guys at an Ashes of Ares show...Cheers!