CD Review: CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED ~ Cold Winds On Timeless Days
Release date: October 11, 2011
Actor, director, stand-up comedian, electrician, martial artist – just some of the astounding amount of talents listed for the mastermind behind US metal supergroup Charred Walls Of The Damned. However, Richard Christy is better known as former drummer of Death and Iced Earth.
Formed in early 2010, Charred Walls Of The Damned was born from Christy’s own vision, recruiting fellow metal musicians Jason Suecof (Capharnaum) on guitar, bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus) and former Judas Priest vocalist Tom “Ripper” Owens. As a multi-talented musician, Christy took the liberty of recording a demo of what would be the band’s first studio album. The self-titled debut was a musical triumph, capitalising on each of the band member’s musical talents and turning the record into something magnificent.
Cold Winds On Timeless Days (which I’ve just noticed has a matching acronym with the name of the band) is the second of Christy’s unique observations and is somewhat longer than the band’s debut album as a result of fan feedback, which Christy was more than happy to take into account. We’re treated to almost 60 minutes of one fantastic album which mashes classic rock influences with a modern metal attitude. Guitarist Suecof produces the record, and does a brilliant job of tightening the overall sound into a neat package, delivering the best that each performer has to give, especially Christy’s almost flawless work behind the drum kit.
Right off the bat, opening track “Timeless Days” carries a strong classic rock vibe with it, aided by the introduction of Owens’ powerful voice. It’s a nice touch to hear those high-pitched wails that were so significant during his Judas Priest days, as well as those often unfathomable yet beautious vocal harmonies. “Timeless Days” seems to morph from its classic rock roots to various modern metal stylings, which is a recurring theme throughout the album. Mixing so many styles into a limited space is a huge challenge for any musician, but here we see a fine example of how it should be done.
There’s something for everyone with Cold Winds On Timeless Days, from the older generation of leather-jacket.ed, forty-something metalheads who remenisce about the days when Iron Maiden ruled the world and Slayer was the heaviest band known to man, to the young and hungry generation of hairstyles, second-skin jeans and gig-obsessed metal-freshers. I think I just broke my hyphen key. Stereotyping aside, this album contains a sprinkle of every ingredient in the metal kitchen. The album’s single “Zerospan” kicks off with a heavy black-metal prescence, showcasing Christy’s impressive piston-like bass blasting and a fantastically vocalised verse section.
Steve DiGiorgio’s unmatched fretless bass-work twists and bends as we melt into “Forever Marching On”. Christy’s subtle drumming accompanies DiGiorgio’s bass perfectly, before Suecof bursts in with some complex low-end riffing. Suecof performs with precision throughout the record, although suffers slightly from a thin rhythm tone, often overshadowed by the plentiful amount of bass. His lead guitar sections are excellent, but refrain from commanding immediate attention from the listener.
“The Beast Outside My Window” takes initial form as a fragile acoustic piece, sounding almost like the backing track to a montage of the changing seasons. It’s a thought-provoking track which begs to be at least 2 minutes longer, instead ending abruptly and mashing itself into a metal frenzy. Closing the album is the brilliantly diverse “Avoid The Light”, which features a Job For A Cowboy style riff and spades of Christy’s unbelievable drumming.
Cold Winds On Timeless Days follows on neatly from Charred Walls Of The Damned‘s self-titled debut, exposing lashings of classic rock influences and twisted metality but the main strength of this album lies within its body as a whole, whereas it’s difficult to attach yourself to the tracks individually. It is a strong, sturdy record from four well-experienced musicians, and was orchestrated by a man with a passion for music. Charred Walls Of The Damned succeeds in delivering a great album for fans of complexity and music without formula. Richard Christy’s vast array of general talents would impress anyone, but his musical vision is something to behold.