Reviewed: May 2010
Released: 2010, Metal Blade
With former Death drummer Richard Christy at the helm, Charred Walls of the Damned was never going to be an exercise in minimalism. Taking time out of his regular gig on The Howard Stern Show and backed by larynx-for-hire, Tim \”Ripper\” Owens, as well as Steve DiGorgio and Jason Suecoff – none of whom are known for their timidity in a recording studio – this supergroup\’s debut would, on the face of things, appear custom designed to thrill.
On a purely technical level, it most certainly does just that. Christy in particular sounds terrific as he transforms his drum kit into a veritable crime scene amidst a flurry of ridiculously technical blasts, breaks and fills. His bandmates provide solid backup too as you’d expect; listen to DiGorgio’s gloriously twisted basslines snake their way through “Creating Our Machine” for proof of the talent at play here.
Unfortunately the same praise can\’t be leveled the group\’s songwriting prowess. Their collective virtuoso brilliance elevates the effort, but with choice few exceptions you can\’t shake the feeling that when stripped of their bells and whistles, these are distinctly average songs. Nothing ever quite clicks, “In A World So Cruel” being a perfect example of the band applying theory rather than intuition when a mix of both would have put this disc over the top. For musicians of their pedigree such tepidity is nigh on criminal.
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