When Richard Christy finds time away from The Howard Stern Show, Jason Suecof takes a break from his producing jobs, and Tim “Ripper” Owens and Steve DiGiorgio are pried away from playing in their multitude of bands, they pull off a brilliant project like CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED.
“Ghost Town” immediately brings back memories of DEATH’s The Sound Of Perseverance as Richard Christy executes a timely drum intro, and starts to blast away with his unique drumming style. Fretless bass master Steve DiGiorgio‘s bass lines immediately draw your attention, and when Ripper‘s first notes hit, the listener knows that this is nice slab of classic heavy metal melted together with great musicianship. So many bands these days forget how to write “songs,” but this all-star group writes a few excellent and memorable tracks, as “From The Abyss” showcases the heavy metal sound with catchy riffs and solos that even extreme metal enthusiasts can enjoy. The entire album is a throwback album paying tribute to traditional heavy metal and reminding youngsters how to write metal songs with catchy hooks, choruses, excellent leads, and superb drumming without resorting to overused blast beats, generic vocals and mindless solos. Christy can out drum any of the so-called “technical” death metal drummers, but he chooses to be clean, basic, and solid, while adding his own technical flair, much like his days with DEATH and ICED EARTH.
“Blood On Wood,” as with a large chunk of the album, has a lot of NWOBHM and JUDAS PRIEST influence. And while the songs are on the short side, the length works out well as the tracks range mostly in the 3-4 minute mark. A track like “Manifestations” is one of those heavy metal tracks you can sing along to without feeling cheesy and just have fun belting out a long Ripper scream. “The Darkest Eyes,” the pinnacle of the album, showcases Christy‘s perfect and synchronized drumming, with Suecof‘s melodic solos and breakdowns which compliment Ripper‘s sing-a-long chorus and screams amazingly well.
CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED is finally a “supergroup” that lives up to its name and isn’t just a quick cash grab, like EX-DEO or OV HELL. This project can be comparable to a more traditional heavy metal version of CONTROL DENIED, but CHARRED WALLS definitely holds its own. Fans of any of these amazing musicians should dig this release, as would any heavy metal or metal fan in general. Do not overlook this band just because of the horrible name or cover art, because this album may very well be the surprise album of the year. (Metal Blade Records)