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Ashes of Ares w/ Ghost of War // Virginia Beach // 9.10.15

Ashes of Ares with Ghost of War at Shaka’s Live, Virginia Beach, VA

Photos and Article by: Glenn Woodell & Wendy Podmenik Darugar


Shaka’s Live in Virginia Beach, hosted the heavy metal band, Ashes of Ares, on a rainy September 10th . The band, under the Nuclear Blast Records label, is currently traveling on their mini East Coast tour, being promoted by Infinity Concerts. They were originally supposed to play at the Canal Club in Richmond that night but were diverted to Virginia Beach due to a venue scheduling conflict. They came to Virginia Beach after having just played a show in Atlanta, as part of the sold-out ProgPower USA metal festival.

Shaka’s Live is right on the Virginia Beach ocean strip and hosts live music most nights of the week. They support both local and national acts and are famous for their battle of the bands marathons that start early and end late.


The show started early and included three local acts, Helafyde, Generator, and As the World Burns, all hard rock/metal bands. By 9pm, Baltimore’s Ghost of War was on the stage. They formed in 2009 and are sponsored by several supporters including Jägermeister. Releasing their first album in 2012 entitled, Only Death is Real, they showered the crowd with giveaways from their various supporters and in the middle of their set, lead singer Ronnie Peterson leaned into the audience and had several fans sing along with the band on popular metal hits including an Iron Maiden cover.


By 10pm, Ashes of Ares had taken the stage. The band formed in June 2012 by Matt Barlow, (lead vocals) and Freddie Vidales (guitar and bass), both well known for their work with Iced Earth, and Van Williams (drums) of Nevermore. They played a number of hits from their self-titled debut album which was also released in 2012. Barlow, being an active police officer of the Georgetown, Delaware Police Department, sang a tribute song entitled “On Warrior’s Wings,” which is dedicated to a fellow police officer who was killed in the line of duty. It can be heard as the third song on their album.


Barlow thanked Ghost of War for joining them on this mini-tour, and thanked the audience and opening bands for their support. The pacing of the show was hampered by frequent sound issues, particularly a low output on one of the guitar amps, however Barlow kept the audience engaged with his personal stories and sense of humor.

Upon introducing their song, This is my Hell, which was featured in a video production, Barlow thanked the video director for doing a “phenomenal” job of interpreting his lyrics into their video. Introducing Chalice of Man, he explained as a young child, he always had a fascination with vampires and one of his favorite actors was the late Christopher Lee, hence the inspiration for the song.


In spite of the crowd being small due to poor weather on a week night, the bands played impressive sets, the audience was enthusiastic throughout the night, and all the band members were friendly and worked together to keep the changes between the bands to a minimum. If you are a fan of metal, you would have enjoyed this multi-band lineup. You can still catch Ashes of Ares with Ghost of War as they travel northward to New York City on the 13th.

4 thoughts on “Ashes of Ares w/ Ghost of War // Virginia Beach // 9.10.15

  1. Good review of what was probably a great night of heavy, cool music. Couple of points though, shining out as pure hype/aka bullshit. One, Shakas is famous for nothing whatsoever, period. Least of which its all day marathon battle of the bands. Famous would be the Peppermint, which has been a parking lot for over a decade, you still hear talk of Pantera on the CFH tour tearing the roof off, people swinging from the rafters, literally. Two- they played a number of hits from the 2012 debut, really?? The actual number involved in this statement is Zero. No hits is not a bad thing in heavy music, its par for the course in this day and age. It could be a badge of credibility in fact, in a world gone mad and hit music being about the most contrived, awful no talent crap your ears will ever hear. Nobody went to hear these so called hits that never got played, they went for the misses that only heavy music fans embrace and adore, despite not being part of the mainstream . Hits? Too Hilarious!! Three- the crowd was small because of bad weather and it being a week night. This may be the biggest folly in the article. You cannot possibly believe what you are perpetrating here, indoor show at the infamous Shakas with all the hits has poor outcome because of mid week weather woes. If anything nobody was even remotely aware of the rescheduled show, save for a few heavy music fans last minute posts to social media, which did way more than the actual promoters to drum up bodies for these bands. It’s sad that you might actually believe what you write, all the while pissing on the heads of people and claiming its raining. Poor weather nor mid week will not stop fans of music from flocking to see bands play live. Fact is its not 2005 and Nevermore & Iced Earth credentials don’t amount to ticket sales in a black hole like VB. I have no doubt that musically it was a rare treat for all involved, I did not attend, so when I read the account of the nights events, I could not help but chuckle. It’s not rap, no hype man needed . Stick to the facts, not famous, no hits and no excuses for poor turnout. 3 local acts pretty much covers all in attendance, so aside from the smoke and mirrors, my take on the night was a great lineup of killer original music and good times had by all in attendance. Your review gets 3 of 5 stars Flavor Flav

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