I don’t know, but when I see a band name with four words or more, I almost automatically think that it’s going to be some sort of Metalcore or related genre, which in most cases means that I shouldn’t even bother. When I read the name of CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, I didn’t have high hopes, but when I saw that we had Richard Christy, Steve DiGiorgio and Tim “Ripper” Owens on board, I thought to myself that this might be more than just “another one of those”.
And indeed, the somewhat oddly named band is not a run-of-the-mill/flavour-of-the-day project, but delivers some nicely edgy Power Metal with some Thrash Metal influences (or in some cases Thrash Metal with some Power Metal influences) and Owens’ trademark voice, so as a fan of this style that I was mostly introduced to by ICED EARTH (which coincidentally all three of the named musicians have been part of at one point or the other), I was intrigued. And “Ghost Town” wipes away any potential doubts with a furious sweep, starting out with a blastbeat barrage, which then turns into a Power/Thrash concoction that surely bears more intensity than many comparable bands out there. Especially in the drum department we get a lot of power (no wonder, since this is Christy’s brainchild), but it is not an all-out tour de force, but we also see slower and more melodic passages woven into the fury, a certain ICED EARTH influence is not to be denied, though.
“From The Abyss” slows things down considerably and delivers a very haunting melody line that shows us a slightly different side of CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED (maybe I should just write CWOTD...) and a third one would be “The Darkest Eyes” that is very Thrashy and fast. So the Americans are covering a fairly wide array of speeds and intensities, which is laudable, but with a playing time of just barely more than 35 minutes you need to have everything perfectly lined up, since there is not much margin for error or a drop in quality and unfortunately not everything is quite there yet, because some tracks don’t manage to either pack the same kind of punch or create the same kind of intense atmosphere that they would have needed to be fully up to par.
As to be expected with the participating members, the musicianship is absolutely flawless, don’t get me wrong, same for the production values and technically the approach to the genre is a good one, too. But sometimes good is just not good enough, especially if a band starts out with a press hype such as this one. Anyways, if you like your Power Metal varied and a bit on the Thrashy side, give CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED a shot, it is a good album nevertheless.
(Online October 17, 2010)