Charred Walls Of The Damned - Charred Walls Of The Damned
Metal Blade
Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal / Power Metal
9 songs (35:36)
Release year: 2010
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Elias
Surprise of the month

First off, let me vent my spleen just a tiny bit. - what the hell? I’ve seen some ridiculous names among Metal bands, but this is a lot worse, given the fact that it still sidles the line with the serious. It sounds like a brainstorming session degenerated into adolescent silliness. What is truly ironic, however, is that the name was inspired by an enraged Christian radio host who scolded drummer Richard Christy for making obscene prank calls to the Christian show. Christy made the prank calls during his stint on the Howard Stern show, and the target of his hilarious mockery responded by promising that he would be praying for them, thus "saving their soul to be saved by God's grace... not in the devil's hell where you'd be putting your nails in the charred walls of the damned". Which, of course, makes the adolescent melodrama of the moniker all the more plausible, as well as ten times funnier.

Unfortunately, however, the adolescent traces of the album go a bit beyond just the name. Charred Walls Of The Damned is something of a supergroup, with drummer Christy having played with Iced Earth and Death; bassist Steve DiGiorgio with Death, Testament and Iced Earth; guitarist Jason Suecof being a renowned producer in the metalcore/deathcore scene; and singer Tim Owens being one of Metal’s biggest musical whores, with abundant side projects, not all of them worth investigating. All extremely talented musicians; yet the final product for some reason fails to highlight this. It could be because the songwriting was entirely Christy’s- or it could be that a group united by shared fame rather than naturally developed harmony just doesn’t function as well as it should. All the elements are there, the playing is flawless and technically impressive, even to the point of over-saturation sometimes; the production leaves everything audible; and the melodies manage to avoid redundancy. Yet somehow it just doesn’t click.

It might be stylistic vagueness. Christy and DiGiorgio’s death and thrash heritage is clearly audible, as the record presents an attitude to songwriting and individual riffing much more aggressive than the power metal one would associate Owens with, yet this is neither a thrash nor death recording. The slight feel of “copy-paste” that one gets from the song structures at times would indicate a similar conclusion. The relentlessness of Christy’s drumming, which, albeit technically superb, could appear as overcompensation for the ineffable missing puzzle piece, a veritable je ne sais quoi of missed perfection, also fits this theory.

But don’t let the nagging shadow of incompleteness detract from your enjoyment of this album. The album is full to overflowing with aggressive chugging, overwhelming energy, and highly virtuosic soloing- all hallmarks of the ideal metal record, and as an adrenaline inducing drug, it’s damn effective. To add to the superficial delight, it seems as if Owens has finally found his niche after drifting from project to project, most of which never quite seemed to give him enough room to indulge in his full potential. I always felt Owens worked best in Judas Priest and Iced Earth, and possibly working with Christy, a veteran of Jon Schaffer’s team himself, allowed him to find the best of himself again. I look forward with huge anticipation to Christy and co.’s next offering, which I expect will blow me away if they manage to find exactly what aspect of their ensemble needs readjustment.

Killing Songs :
Ghost Town, From The Abyss, Voices Within The Walls
Elias quoted 84 / 100
Goat quoted 77 / 100
5 readers voted
Your quote was: 80.
Change your vote

There are 12 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:59 pm
View and Post comments