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Charred Walls of the Damned: Charred Walls of the Damned

Former Death/Iced Earth/Control Denied drummer Richard Christy has been busy the last few years fulfilling a dream as the sidekick to satellite radio shock jock & funneyman Howard Stern, which has left him little time to partake in his other passion, heavy metal drumming. Well, an opening came, and Christy has put together this very lethal band called Charred Walls of the Damned. Along for the ride here is vocal demon Tim 'Ripper' Owens (ex-Judas Priest/ex-Iced Earth/Beyond Fear/Yngwie Malmsteen), producer/guitarist Jason Suecof, and bass legend Steve DiGiorgio (Death/Testament/Iced Earth/Sadus/Control Denied). Charred Walls of the Damned quickly created a buzz about their debut album, and Metal Blade Records signed them up for this self titled release.

Not sure whose idea it was regarding the crappy digpack cover design, but once you get past that initial disappointment, the music contained in this CD is top notch heavy metal. Part thrash, part old school metal, some NWOBHM, some power metal...you get the picture, just quality music that doesn't try to fit into any modern trends or pretend it's something it's not. Christy shows why he's a drummer that's been missed on the scene, as his rapid fire and intricate stick work are all over these nine songs, reminding us of just how good he sounded on those late Death & Control Denied records. DiGiorgio's nimble fretless bass lines are in fine form as well, but the real surprise here is the supreme guitar talents of Suecof. Honestly, other than hearing his name as a producer, I had no idea the guy could shred like this. His layers of massive riffage and neo-classical solos abound throughout, especally on cranking numbers like "Blood on Wood", "Ghost Town", "Manifestations", and the complete mind cruncher "The Darkest Eyes".

Now, on to Mr. Owens...honestly, this guy is one of the best metal singers out there, and he's right at home here, delivering what could be his best vocal performance ever. In many aspects, he steals the show on this CD, unleashing the fury that we all really wanted to hear from him on the recent Malmsteen album, and to an extent even his time with Iced Earth. Hearing his deep mid range and wailing screams on "Fear in the Sky" will send shivers up and down your spine.

The end result is very much a 'band' effort, though the inclusion of Ripper on vocals is what takes this project into the stratosphere. Metal fans are going to be salivating at the thought of this act taking this on the road, but Christy is going to first have to decide if he can put his career as a joke man on hold for a bit while he 'gets his metal out' so to speak. Drawbacks? Well, the CD is kind of short at barely 35 minutes, and to repeat, the cover art is really cheesy, but other than that, this thing cooks from start to finish.

Frighteningly good stuff, and a 'super group' that really is super!


Track Listing
1. "Ghost Town" 4:56
2. "From the Abyss" 4:25
3. "Creating Our Machine" 2:53
4. "Blood on Wood" 3:26
5. "In a World So Cruel" 3:31
6. "Manifestations" 3:06
7. "Voices Within the Walls" 3:48
8. "The Darkest Eyes" 3:37
9. "Fear in the Sky" 5:42

Added: March 31st 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 1109
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Charred Walls of the Damned: Charred Walls of the Damned
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-03-31 21:13:32
My Score:

If you like a good old fashioned dose of kick ass, old school heavy metal every once and a while then you're going to need to check out the scorching self titled debut album from Charred Walls of The Damned.

By now you probably know the story of how former Iced Earth drummer Richard Christy put his metal career on hold for five years to become shock jock Howard Stern's sidekick. Well fast forward to 2009 and Christy is back in the game, with his recent woodshedding yielding enough material for an album. He enlists bassist extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio who has played with everyone from Death to Testament, producer / guitarist Jason Suecof (the definite wild card here), and everyone's favorite hired gun, vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens. The rest is history and what you'll be ultimately holding in your hands or loading into your ipod's are nine lethal tracks that will take you back to the glory days of studded wrist bands and bullet belts.

While it's a bit of a drag that this album only clocks in at a shade over thirty minutes, the band is certainly going for the jugular on each and every track, so it's clearly a case of quality over quantity here.

Christy and DiGiorgio lay down an absolutely crushing foundation as Suecof peels off a seemingly endless arsenal of massive sounding riffs and blazingly complex solos. As for "Ripper"…well he may well have turned in the most complete performance of his career as he just sings the hell out of these metal anthems. The man has one of the best set of pipes in the biz and this disc just confirms what metal fans have known for years. He just keeps getting better and better every year, whether we're talking about his last solo record Play My Game, his 'other' super group Hail, and now Charred Walls of the Damned, the guy has definitely been bringing the goods to the table every single time.

This album is an absolute tour de force from beginning to end. There's no filler to get in the way, just thirty five minutes of bombastic, old fashioned, in your face metal. I don't know what more you can ask for. I have a feeling this album will be a on a few 'best' of lists at year's end.



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