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Review: Charred Walls of the Damned - Charred Walls of the Damned
Charred Walls of the Damned
Charred Walls of the Damned

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 35:28
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: February 7, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Charred Walls of the Damned

Rated 3.71/5 (74.29%) (7 Votes)

I read quite a few enthusiastic comments about this supergroup – which counts among its ranks Tim "Ripper" Owens, Richard Christy, Steve DiGiorgio and Jason Suecof – so I guess I came in with some high expectations. But I should have learned from experience: People fellate supergroups like there's no tomorrow.

This is not bad, just not "great" or "excellent". This reminds me a bit of later Iced Earth (which I'm not particularly fond of), a mix of heavy and power metal with some thrashy edges here and there. Owens' vocal performance is what you'd expect from him – great set of pipes, great range and almost flawless. Where things hurt is that he sounds a bit too... mechanical? Not unlike "just going through the motions", if you will. You know he wants to convey some emotion with his voice, but it sounds kind of clinical. Personally this has irritated my ears since the first listen, and now after some 15 listens, it's just not getting better. Too much time in the studio? I wouldn't know, but it sure sounds like it. Still you've got to admire the guy's vocal prowess from a technical standpoint. I just need more. ;) Despite all this, there are quite a few very memorable vocal lines in there.

Musically, this is really nothing you haven't heard a few times in the past 10 years or so, as they piggybacking on a heavy/power sound that's been used and reused, though not so much in recent years (except for Iced Earth.) The difference here is that unlike many bands that jumped on that sound, these guys are pretty damn good at it, though the music does also suffer from the same "clinical" feel as the vocals. But again, from a technical standpoint this is very well executed. I found the guitar is sometimes a bit difficult to hear, especially when Christy drowns it by abusing the double bass (seriously, dude, that pedal could sue you for sexual harassment...) When not drowned by the rest, the guitar melodies are quite catchy at times – the kind of stuff that makes you stop and pay attention.

Not nearly as great as some people claim, but still a nice slab of well-played metal if you don't mind the frigid production and execution. If this is your kind of sound and you've got nothing else to get, this is a relatively safe purchase – check some samples first.

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