There’s nothing better in metal than a bone-crunching band that can deliver tight and exciting riffs, crunchy beats and stunning vocals. Charred Walls Of The Damned is all of the above and a bit more. If Iron Maiden was to come out as a new band today, they would sound very much like the musical pedigree of Charred Walls Of The Damned – progressive, exciting and refreshing.
The band was formed by drummer Richard Christy after a five year absence from the metal scene, since joining The Howard Stern Show in July 2004. Not taking away from Christy, it’s the entire band of superstar talent that makes this album work. Christy, producer and guitarist Jason Suecof (producer and writer for Trivium), bassist Steve Digiorgio (Death, Autopsy, Control Denied, Testament) and the incredible vocals of Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen) make for a band with the fury of Cattle Decapitation and Napalm Death, but with clean operatic vocals, melodies and harmonies of Iron Maiden.
Not really sounding anything like any of the members previous bands, Charred Walls Of The Damned is really a new brand of melodic thrash (with some speed and grindcore sounds) with a whole bunch of musical flash and balls to match Owens’ powerhouse voice.
The first single and the opening track on the album, Ghost Town, kicks off a new generation of metal with and exciting twist (the video is even getting play on MuchMusic’s Loud). There’s enough drums and guitar in there to make up three different songs for any lesser a band – and that’s without the vocals.
Other standouts include The Darkest Eyes, the slightly slower and thoughtful From The Abyss and the Black Sabbath-like In A World So Cruel.
Sadly missing from the album is the Japanese bonus track Nice Dreams, a suitable cover of under-rated speed metal band Powermad. The Powermad single was originally from the 1989 album Absolute Power. There are actually some similarities between Charred Walls Of The Damned and Powermad, but Charred Walls Of The Damned takes everything a bit more extreme and 1989 may not have been the best of times to launch melodic thrash into the world.
Hats off to Christy and his all-star band for bringing a bit of melody and harmony into the world of extreme music.