Ex-ICED EARTH Singer MATT BARLOW: 'Everybody Needs To Be A Lot Less Judgmental'

January 5, 2022

In a new interview with Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf, former ICED EARTH and current ASHES OF ARES singer Matt Barlow said that we must try to get along better, regardless of political, religious or socioeconomic differences. "We're very divided as human beings right now," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "And it's somewhat disturbing. Well, actually, it's very disturbing — it's very disturbing that people profit off of it. That's probably, to me, the more disturbing thing, is the idea 'if it bleeds, it reads' [sic], that old [expression] from the media, we see that every single day, man — every day — and it's horrifying; it's really horrifying to me."

He continued: "[We have to be] open to the other side. That's kind of the point of it. We all don't have to agree on everything. Let's agree on that. Let's agree that we don't have to agree, and be honest about it and be true about it. Because the thing is I can't know what your life experience is; I can't know what background you come from or really anything about that… So we have to find common ground as humans for each other and understand that just because I feel a particular way, it's okay that I feel that way. I don't feel that way because I'm slighting you; I feel that way because this is my experience. And much in the same way I have to understand that, hey, I don't know what your background is, I don't know what anybody's particular life is about. So I have to be less judgmental, and I have to understand that I have to be. And everybody needs to be that way — everybody needs to be a lot less judgmental of everybody else's position, man, because otherwise we're doomed. That's all there is to it."

ASHES OF ARES, which also features former ICED EARTH member Freddie Vidales, will release its third studio album, "Emperors And Fools", on January 21 via ROAR! Rock Of Angels. The LP ends with the eleven-minute-long epic "Monster's Lament" which includes the long-imagined joining of forces between Barlow and another former ICED EARTH singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens.

"Emperors And Fools" was produced by ASHES OF ARES, and mixed and mastered by Byron Filson at Villain Recording in Phoenix, Arizona. The cover artwork was created by Kamil Pietruczynik.

A little over a year ago, Barlow reunited with ICED EARTH founder, songwriter, guitarist and producer Jon Schaffer to celebrate the holiday season with an EP called "Winter Nights". Released under the SCHAFFER/BARLOW PROJECT banner, the effort contained the duo's unique spin on five Christmas classics and two ICED EARTH songs.

Last April, Schaffer pleaded guilty to his role in the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot. As part of the plea deal, Jon entered into a cooperation agreement with the government.

Following the initial reports that Schaffer was involved in the riot, his ICED EARTH bandmates distanced themselves from his actions. Singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton later posted separate statements on social media announcing their resignations. BLIND GUARDIAN frontman Hansi Kürsch also quit DEMONS & WIZARDS, his long-running project with Schaffer. The allegations also apparently affected Schaffer's relationship with his longtime record label Century Media, which had released albums from both ICED EARTH and DEMONS & WIZARDS. As of mid-January, the Century Media artist roster page did not list either band.

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