Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Charred Walls of the Damned : "Creatures Watching Over the Dead"

Knowing Ripper Owens is in this band certainly prepares me for power-metal. I like Ripper. Didn't like him in Priest, but he is my second choice for Iced Earth after Matt Barlow. This band also features former members of Control Denied and Death, so this meets at a place where melodic progressive death metal and power metal can find some common ground. I did expect Ripper to sing with a little more grit on heavier songs like "the Soulless". He does find that grit I was waiting for on "Afterlife". They are melodic in a manner more suited for Ripper's voice " As I Catch My Breath". When we get to "Lies" not only can you hear the influence singing in a Dio tribute band for the past few years has had on Ripper, but how the more melodic moments are coupled with the best song writing choices, where as the heavier moments sound like every other riff I hear every other day.

There is a balance of those polarities on "Reach Into the Light". The riff going into "Tearing Me Down" is pretty catchy and once again invokes Dio before accelerating into the bridge and back into a more hooky 80's metal influenced chorus. Midway into the song there is a flashy guitar break that doesn't do a lot for me. Rob from Death Angel comes in for the actual solo which is solid if you are into that sort of thing. By the time we get to "Living In the Shadow of Yesterday" they don't come across as really being all that heavy. I think if your band is called Charred Walls of the Damned then you need to be much heavier than this album gets.

We know they are all talented musicians in their own right, but this is really flaunted going into the last song. Normally I complain about songs being too long, but I think some of these songs might have made more sense if they were longer to make room for more of build up into the heavier sections or allow for a heavier to let the melodic parts bust out of . The guitar solo often takes up a good chunk when something more interesting might have developed. I don't really think Ripper was that inspired on the last song. The bass playing pretty much steals the show on that one. I'll give this one a 6.5. If you think Ripper Owens can do no wrong and also like ample amounts of cheese coating your metal then round this up to a 7.

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