It’s nice to know that Ripper Owens (ex-Judas Priest vocalist) can still find work. Charred Walls of the Damned is a supergroup of sorts that also features Richard Christy (Iced Earth), Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus/Death/etc.), and Jason Suecof (Crotchduster), but unlike the average supergroup, Charred Walls of the Damned has a stable lineup. With the amount of talent in this band, two things are striking. The first thing is that there is a lack of wankerdom. The music is not overly technical, but it isn’t the average power chord-driven Metal. Most of the time, when a group of “name” players gets together to form a supergroup, there is a tremendous amount of ego and wankerdom on display. You’ve seen albums like this, I’m sure. Everyone gets to show off how well they play, and unless you’re a musician the music is essentially unlistenable. Charred Walls of the Damned doesn’t go there and that is a net positive for them. The second striking thing about this album is that it really lacks aggression. It’s just “blah.” The playing is good and the sound is great, but the music never grabs you by the throat. It kind of reminds me of Empire by Queensryche. After their awesome Operation Mindcrime album, Empire was too passive and it lacked all of the things that made Queensryche great - passion being the greatest commodity missing. With talent like this, you expect more and want more. This is a good album but I want a great album.
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