I think that both Matt and Freddie had... interesting exits from Iced Earth.
In an interview, Freddie was asked how he would feel about doing an Iced Earth/Ashes of Ares tour and he said "I wouldn't like it at all. Not interested." He also said there was a reason for his abrupt departure but that he would never comment on it. It could be a family issue or something, but from things that he's said, I somehow doubt it. The fact that both him and Matt left and started their own band...
And I believe Matt wasn't happy with how IE management handled his leaving the band again. They kept saying he was retiring and he mentioned that "retire" is not the word he wanted used. When asked how the recording process for the Ashes of Ares debut differed from recording an Iced Earth album, he said "It was nice not be told how to sing." Plus, I think they want Ashes of Ares to stand on it's own, so that's probably why there's no IE covers.
I think the Ashes of Ares album was a good effort. I'm hoping their follow up will be better though. I was really looking forward to it but A) I think the mix kind of sucked. Kind of really sucked. And B) A lot of the music was pretty generic for my liking. I sort of wish Matt had re-joined Pyramaze.