I've decided to somewhat expand the scope of albums I review to include select noteworthy releases from artists that currently do not have shows scheduled in the Twin Cities. First up is the mighty Charred Walls Of The Damned.Charred Walls Of The Damned – Charred Walls Of The Damned
Metal Blade, 2010
Charred Walls Of The Damned is a new eyebrow-raising project of drummer extraordinaire Richard Christy (Death, Iced Earth, others). All music was written by Richard, and he assembled a dream cast of musicians to execute his vision: Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen) on vocals, Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Testament, others) on bass, and Jason Seucof (producer of countless metal bands) on guitar. The real wild card here is the vocal prowess of Tim Owens. How will his soaring vocal style fit with the predominantly death metal pedigrees of the band? Exceptionally well, actually. The closest comparison I can draw is to the sole album by Control Denied, the progressive power/death metal project of the late Chuck Schuldiner (Death). Charred Walls Of The Damned isn’t death metal, but not quite thrash metal or power metal. The riffs are heavy and the vocals are strong, yet there’s enough breakneck rhythms balanced with melodies and guitar solos to keep each song interesting. Things are about what you’d expect from the union of death metal musicians with a power metal-style singer, but the quality of the songs raises this album to heights not usually seen with project albums. The album opens with “Ghost Town”, a furious statement of intent, and is following by “From The Abyss”, one of the best tracks that features awesome vocal melodies over a slow tempo. “Blood On Wood” nearly matches the vocal glories of “From The Abyss”, while “The Darkest Eyes” elegantly combines interesting guitar work with fast bass and drum work. There aren’t any throwaway songs in the lot of nine, but a couple unmemorable ones (“Creating Our Machine” and “Manifestations”) is all that’s holding back a 10 rating. One interesting aspect the recording is the heavy use of multi-tracked vocal harmonies, which adds to the strong voice of Tim Owens to create an impressive vocal sound. Hopefully this won’t be the last time we hear from Charred Walls Of The Damned.