Sunday, August 7, 2016

Video Review: CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED The Soulless by Heather Dawson

The Soulless
From the forthcoming album Creatures Watching Over The Dead (Metal Blade)
What fresh hell awaits us Fall of 2016 from the venerable halls of Metal Blade Records in the new effort by Charred Walls of the Damned? I can already tell you from listening to the early released track Dave shared with me amazing. Amazing, churning, lava pouring, screaming hell, and I for one cannot wait.
I cannot wait to listen to this entire album. This is some old school inspired metal you want to put on a turntable and lie on your bed and listen to over and over while the curtains in your bedroom undulate in the cool breeze of a September afternoon after a long, stupid day in 10th grade. Oh sorry, is it just me that has those flashbacks? It's not just that Ripper Owens' voice is a replica of Halford (it's not) or that the band could safely airlift into 1983 and feel right at home. These guys are more than that - they are fresh, without falling into the 'pop' traps that a lot of modern metal bands trip into. They are relevant in a way that the old guys just can't understand today. CWOTD give this old metalhead hope for the future.
Formed in 2009 as a metal supergroup by drummer Richard Christy from Iced Earth, CWOTD has that element of humor and self-deprecating humility that makes metal bands so endearing. In my head, I know these guys are in the studio rehearsing their craft for hours on end, but something about their demeanor makes me feel as if they just wake up playing like this. I don't know these guys personally but I have the feeling they genuinely like one another and enjoy playing together. Another of my 10th-grade fantasies; the band is all best friends, they live together in a cool apartment like the Beatles in Help and they have tons of adventures together. I guess this notion comes partly from how they stumbled upon their name while making prank phone calls to a Christian radio program for the Howard Stern show where Christy worked at the time. Regardless if it's true or not, the 'corpse de sprit' this outfit emanates is contagious. You want to bring your pals to a show throw your arms around each other's shoulders and scream along with Ripper. And a quick word about Ripper: this is not a novelty, not a Hollywood bullshit story, this man can SING... Not just a little but a lot. We all get our start somewhere and Owens was thrust into to spotlight when he famously replaced the irreplaceable. But whatever the reason he's here in the metal arena we are damned lucky he made it to the stage. Cause.... Boom.
This song, 'The Soulless', that I got to listen to just pushes all the right buttons to send a metal head into orbit. Christy is going to town on the kick drum like a Con Ed worker with a jackhammer and no overtime. I think it's no surprise to those who have read my other reviews how I feel about rhythm sections. Christy and bassist Steve DiGrigorio form the strong tall oak that provides a home for the songbirds. Guitarist / producer Jason Suecof's gorgeous playing builds a tower of sonic beauty complimenting Ripper's vocals. "The Soulless" is a perfect calling card for what promises to be one of the best albums of the year, metal or otherwise.
This album (and I pray to the Metal Gods that it's released on vinyl to make my personal experience complete) comes out September 23rd. All the kids will be back at school with their burgundy corduroys, Venom t-shirts, and new Pumas. Maybe I'll take a walk up to Slipped Disc see Mike and pick this one up - maybe they will even play the Rio ... Oh ... Wait ....
Seriously this is a show already on my schedule for this year... And a personal note to Ripper if he's reading; I could use your help with a few issues I have vocally - get my number from Dave maybe we can grab a beer... -Heather Dawson

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