Sound — 9
Charred Walls of the Damned features two ex-members of Iced Earth: vocalist Tim Ripper Owens and drummer Richard Christy. So, yes, it is smart to assume that the self-titled debut is thrashy, power metal with lots of guitars and soaring, skyscraping vocal acrobatics. The music is as large and in charge as the band's vivid name! Noted metal producer Jason Suecof plays guitars here, showing off another side of his musical personality, as he fires off galloping guitar parts! He also produced the album, so it has a crispness to it, as well. Steve DiGiorgio, of Sadus and many other metal bands, plays a fretless bass. So there's a lot to talk about with this all-star, thoroughly metal lineup! Charred Walls of the Damned is power-riffic metal that could have been born in the 1980s, on a blanket of Priest/Maiden jacket patches! It's robust, it's well-played and it'll get your blood flowing at dangerous speed! If classics like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden get you going and really, how can you be a self-respecting metalhead if they don't?- then Charred Walls of the Damned is an easy record to like, to bang your head to and to get those fists pumping high over your head. Suecof proves himself an able guitarist and Christy is an apt sklinsman, proving that he is much more than a purveyor of hilarious jokes on the best morning radio show ever known to man! Blood on the Wood is certain to claim status as an anthem; it's under four minutes and makes its points effectively, while Ghost Town is an epic full of riffs so metallic they could fill cavities!
Lyrics — 8
It's Ripper. Need I say more? He's got a set of lungs on him that could wake the dead and capture the attention of even the most disconnected and disinterested in angels in the heavens. While I wasn't the biggest fan of his work in Iced Earth, he certainly fits what Charred Walls of the Damned are doing. There are no trends, no hot right now conventions and no fleeting moments on Charred Walls of the Damned. On Voices Within the Walls, Owens delivers a chorus so catchy, I found myself humming it long after I shut the music off and after I shut my eyes. The album has a positive note to it, as well. Everything about this self-titled efforts projects good vibes. Good metal vibes, that is!
Overall Impression — 8
On paper, the experienced metal pedigrees of the individual members of Charred Walls of the Damned are impressive. In theory, there is absolutely no way this project/band/album couldn't sound awesome. And in practice, Charred Walls of the Damned do not disappoint, not one bit. The album is molten metal from back to front and the members have chemistry and have penned seamless songs. It's not too 80s and not too thrashy; in fact, the music manages to be a throwback without sacrificing moments of modernity. Nice work, gents!