CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED – CREATURES WATCHING OVER THE DEAD (Metal Blade Records)

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charredwallsofthedamnedcdcovercwotdReview by Stefan: Charred Walls Of The Damned was founded in 2009 by Richard Christy, best known for being the former drummer of bands like Lash Law, Iced Earth, Control Denied, Death, Acheron… to list only the most famous ones. Back in 2004, Chris’ activities in the world of Metal were suspended, he moved on to New York to join the The Howard Stern Show as comedian. Another hidden talent of Chris emerged as he was actor in multiple home made independent movies written and directed by himself. Finally in 2009, he returned to the Metal scene with his newest creation Charred Walls Of The Damned. Not a regular band but an All-Star US Power Metal institution featuring vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (ex-Brainicide/Winter’s Bane/ Judas Priest, Beyond Fear, a.o.), bass monster Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death, Testament, Iced Earth, a.o.) and guitarist Jason Suecof (producer, engineer, mixer bands like Trivium, Death Angel, Deicide, Atheist, and many more !). Charred Walls Of The Damned released its debut, self-titled album in 2010 followed by the sophomore “Cold Winds On Timeless Days” (2011). A while ago, album number three made its appearance through legendary Metal Blade Records, may I present you all to “Creatures Watching Over The Dead”, CWOFD’s brand new killer record signed and delivered in a very professional and pleasant way.

When a band composed of top musicians, and with regards of launching a new effort, the assumed expectations are running high… that’s a normal reaction. Opener ‘My Eyes’ immediately fulfills all my expectations, each musician shines like a twinkling star in the sky. Tim seems to be in a super good condition, his wide ranging type of vocal delivery get chills rolling downwards my backbone. I’m familiar with all the bands he played, or still playing in and never disappoints me. Both high pitched , lower tuned vocal chords and everything in between are presented in this first song, masterfully ! And of course, I want to announce the rest of the band with equal enthusiasm. Guitars roar like thunder as plenty of technical riffs and eardrum pinching leads tear me apart, the double bass drum kicks and upper limb movements are phenomenal… finally Steve’s bass actions anew reaching the highest step on the ladder.

“The Soulless” comes out of my speakers in a thundered way, ultra fast rhythms will leave you breathless in no time and very interesting fact, every single move is carried out without one single failure. Technical to the bone and pure as can be, only the most skilled bands are able to act like this. The pace on ‘Afterlife’ is rather languid and compelling while a dark character is breathing down your neck. As the song progresses, more power emerges to please me once again. The vocals on both ‘As I Catch My Breath’ and ‘Lies’ following the pathways of almighty R.J. Dio, next ‘Reach Into The Light’ brings back the good old memories of Judas Priest during the ‘Painkiller’ era, manufactured from pure Metal made guitar works and purebred, cutthroat high pitching vocal service… this is what Power Metal is all about !

I’m a longtime fan of shred guitar tactics and being into Metal since my teenage years (about 40 years go), I met numerous great artists able to slay me out of control with their own ways of pulling string to the extreme, as technical as can be. Charred Walls Of The Damned’s axeman Jason Suecof treats both electric and acoustic guitar actions with so much passion and talent, now he belongs to my personal shred kings at the moment. He plays hard and honestly at once, fluently and full of elegance, Jason offers me a real good time… feel free to lay an extra ear on the track ‘Tear Me Down’ where he shines like a glittering diamond stone… awesome !

Final conclusion is that the band has made the right choice to start a band, the musical background of each one in the band has led to something superb. “Creatures Watching Over The Dead” spews pure Metal in different layers ranging from Heavy Metal to Power Metal, drenched with thrashing moments. No doubt about, this is a must-have for aficionados of US Power Metal mainly. Yet another proof that this gem is far from retiring, as some dare to claim. To those, read this: US Metal Still Reigns Supreme ! Show your support and respect to Metal the way it should be, check: https://www.facebook.com/charredwallsofthedamned/

My rating: 97/100 (High valued albums & Classic One… a direct purchase is advisable)

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