Monday, February 13, 2012

Voices Within The Walls

Before my extended break, I was drawn to explore bands featuring former members of Iced Earth while waiting for the new Iced Earth album. This time it's Charred Walls Of The Damned which features no less then 3 former Iced Earth members. Richard Christy, Steve DiGiorgio (Guest) and Tim "The Ripper" Owens. Each individuals involvement was not long lasting, but they have worked with Iced Earth.

I'll admit, I was not a huge fan of Tim Owen's time with Iced Earth (I'm a Matt Barlow supporter), but I can't deny Tim's talents. Therefore, when I had read some decent reviews on a new super group project with The Ripper, I decided to give them a shot. I believe Charred Walls Of The Damned is a perfect home for Tim Owens.

Tim's brand of gritty wails really shines with Charred Walls Of The Damned . I always felt he did not have the baritone sound that made Iced Earth unique. Looking back, he was a fine vocalist and the albums were solid, but here his voice is almost an instrument in itself and blends with the band perfectly. His soaring vocals and haunting melody lines brings this album to new heights.

Charred Walls of The Damned blend of classic metal, extreme metal and melodic power metal is brilliant. I remember listening to this album and enjoying it, but it sat to the side for a while until I started going through all my albums. I listened to it again and was thoroughly impressed. Richard Christy's brainchild is a wonderful blend of melody and brutality.

This is like extreme metal for classic metal fans. Christy's and DiGiorgio's work with Death seeps in with some blistering flourishes like on the opening track "Ghost Town" and "Darkest Eyes". Guitarist Jason Suecof doesn't have a large catalogue of work (mostly production credits) but his style of melodic and black metal like riffing works. Nothing super fancy, but very effective.

Songs like "From The Abyss" and "Voices Within The Walls" will stick with long after the album is over. Melodic without ever sacrificing their metal edge. This album is simply a benchmark in how to create perfect melodic heavy metal. At times I'm often reminded of Woods Of Ypres as for as the melancholic mood is concerned.

My biggest complaint is that this album is simply too short. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, I'm left wanting more. This was remedied come their follow up album (review to follow shortly). Overall Charred Walls Of The Damned is a solid effort from some metal veterans which does not feel like any sort of super group. This album flows well and the talent involved have a great chemistry. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Coming up, Charred's follow up album and the new Iced Earth album.