Review Summary: Waiter? Can I have some monotony with my cheese?Charred Walls of the Damned
Tim "Ripper" Owens - Vocals
Jason Suecof - Guitars
Steve DiGiorgio - Bass
Richard Christy - Drums
I want to rate this higher. I really do. On paper, Charred Walls of the Damned
sounds like a great idea. What’s that you say? Metal Vets from Iced Earth, Death, Judas Priest, and Testament
? Yes please! In this case the sum is not as great as its parts. The most upsetting point about this album is that if you’ve heard the first track, Ghost Town
, you’ve pretty much heard the whole album.
Here’s how it goes
0:01. Richard Christy throws down some crushing double bass work, Jason Seucoff kicks in with a decent riff
0:45 Vocals kick in and ruin everything, music slows down
0:59 Cheesy melodic chorus
1:34 Verse with some cool riffs
2:15 Interesting instrumental section or guitar solo that doesn’t last nearly long enough
3: 12 Outro with great instrumental work
3:27 End of song WTF!
Now you might be saying "Hey that's not fair, metal albums don't really have much variation in general." That may be true to some extent, but a good metal album uses things like tempo changes, key changes, time changes, dynamic song structures, or SOMETHING to keep it interesting. Granted there are a handful of excellent albums that are classics because of their simplicity, but this is not one of them. There's too much shreding and power metal nonsense on this album for it to be simple. All of the over-the-top elements of this album (guitar solos and high pitch vocals) become so predictable by the end of the album that there's nothing really exceptional about them.
I would think that with such an all-star cast of characters, someone would take hold of the songwriting, and do something interesting, but that never happens. This album just seems like a collaboration of musicians who are throwing down the same riffs, rhythms, and solos that they’ve used in all of their previous bands.
It’s hard for me to criticize the musicianship here. Christy seems to be nearly as speedy as he was on Death’s Sound of Perseverance
. He even throws in a handful of unusual rhythms into the intros that distinguish him from the average metal drummer. Unfortunately, the songwriting is so formulaic that his creative capacity is never fully explored. Take for example, the intro to Creating Our Machine.
This sounds like it has the potential to be a cool technical metal tune. SIKE! Not even 20 seconds can pass before Tim “Ripper” Owens belts out notes way out of his vocal range. From here on out, the drums become your typical 4/4 metal beat, only slower. Owens can’t stay quiet on this album for long enough to let some of the other members have fun. In The Darkest Eyes
Seucoff shreds some nasty arpeggio sweeps for a whopping 15 seconds before Owens comes back to do his worst Dio impersonation.
Every once in a while, it sounds like the song might take an interesting turn, and you think “OOH! This is kinda cool,” and then the song is over.
Now let me give credit where credit is due. All of the musicians on this album are technically capable. Even Steve DiGiorgio, whose bass is really only audible for three seconds for the intro in Blood on Wood
lets us know he’s capable. The problem is that no one is willing to take risks, experiment, or try anything new. Just by looking at the lineup, it’s obvious that Charred Walls of the Damned are talented, otherwise they wouldn’t be termed a super-group.
So we’ve reached the last song on the album, Fear in the Sky
. It’s a whopping 47 seconds longer than anything on this album. They’ll probably go off the deep and pull out all of their tricks with an epic ballad to close out this metal party. Right? Wrong! The album is over, and it ended just like it begun. With Cheese and Monotony.
Solid Instrumental Work
Tim Owens ruins everything
No Replay Value