Charred Walls Of The Damned - 3 Track Sampler (Metal Blade/Riot)

What do you get when you put four talented metal musicians from some very different metal genres together? You get a metal anomaly called Charred Walls Of The Damned. Intrigued?

Being known within two fields as either a legendary metal drummer who has had stints in Death and Iced Earth or in the comedic industry as part of Howard Stern's radio shows, Richard Christy is one talented individual. After taking a sabbatical from the metal world to concentrate on his comedy career, he is back with a new project entitled Charred Walls Of The Damned accompanied by some very talented musicians within the metal world: former Judas Priest/Iced Earth vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, former Testament/Death bassist Steve DiGiorgio and producer/guitarist Jason Suecof.

This review is based on a three track sampler from the upcoming self titled debut, and is just a brief taste of what is due to come.

After listening to the three tracks, although they share similarities, they do have their own different traits and styles that make them unique without abandoning the metal roots.

The opener Ghost Town has a blackened death metal feel to it with its insane and technical drum work. It has some sweet blast beats, insane and complex guitar passages and basslines that follow suit. Foregoing a stereotypical black or death metal style vocal approach, it has a more power metal approach and it all somehow falls into place together. The middle passage does have an epic, grand feel to it, which ties it all together nicely.

The second track is the fast paced Blood On Wood, which has a thrash vibe to it similar to old school Death. Owens switches his vocal range when needed in the song and shows his versatility ranging from his banshee like wailing to a lower range which suits well. One of the stand-outs in Blood On Wood is the prominent bass work: DiGiorgio tears it up during the intro and can switch from holding the groove down to technical soloing without sounding too over the top.

The last track Voices Within The Walls is somewhat of a traditional/anthemic metal piece in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest brought to the 21st century. The old school fans will definitely find their heads moving up and down and their horns in the air.

From a performance perspective, the musicianship is world class. Christy's drumwork is tight and precise and shows no sign of deterioration from his years away from professional music; DiGeorgio's bass work is out of this world, and as mentioned above, is able to switch gears from plain, simplistic holding down the groove to insane bass soloing passages; guitarist Suecof has some amazing chops and feels like he summons his inner Chuck Schuldiner with some insane fretwork which would have made Chuck proud. Owens is in fine form and it is nice to see him get some leeway as a vocalist to display more than just his trademark higher range.

Some purists will love some elements/styles within the material and hate others, which is to be expected, but a metal fan with an open mind will definitely want to be Charred Walls Of The Damned a listen.

Overall, this sampler is a sign of good things to come, bringing together some of the best elements from many different styles of metal, if this is what the material is going to be like, Charred Walls Of The Damned is going to be one of the better metal albums of 2010.

Charred Walls Of The Damned's self titled debut album is out early February 2010.