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Overblown and Underwhelmed - 55%

GuntherTheUndying, April 6th, 2012

Charred Walls of the Damned is a weird group. Featuring an amalgamation of metal musicians, the "super group" (I'm apprehensive to use the term accordingly) plays a cacophonic mixture of power metal themes mixed with some ideals and techniques often found in the extreme side of metal's realms, curiosity of Richard Christy and the gunning fingers of legendary bassist Steve DiGiorgio. Oh yea, former Judas Priest banshee Tim Owens is here too. Quite the group of super proportions, it seems. Alright, I have to honest: this is remarkably stale stuff. I like all four dudes; their previous musical outputs have been consistent and fun for the most part, so no quarrel on my end. The musical purge into power/thrashy metal itself isn't that bad either. However, "Cold Winds on Timeless Days" becomes a dull experience because it trips over a long-drawn-out process that is way too bombastic and fragile for its own good, and not even the A-list ensemble can resurrect the album once the erosion begins.

Tackling the individual performances, the picture is totally different: Tim Owens wails perfectly, Christy goes to town on the drums, DiGiorgio plucks and plods all over the place with his extravagant bass playing, and Jason Suecof's guitar work leaves a palatable impression on the record. Clearly, that's the strength of "Cold Winds on Timeless Day." Consequently, the several anthems deliver a nifty package of power/thrash metal semi-frequently using blast beats and technical bass work, yet there's still room for Owens' high-flying vocals and catchy choruses. Most of the tracks contain many layers and riffs boiling beneath the chilly atmosphere Charred Walls of the Damned so elegantly conjures like a silent soul singing in a crowded street, unheard yet very profound. And hey, the first few songs kick butt with fantastic lead guitar work and other instrumental performances. So what's the problem, you ask?

You see, it's not an issue of the band running out of ideas or desperately plugging in influence x or influence y just for the shit of it, but rather four dudes taking an enjoyable blueprint and relentlessly beating it into the floor. After "Forever Marching On," they are completely devoid of relevancy. Nothing sticks out, nothing works to enthrall the listener successfully, nothing dramatic appears and just about any other measurable quality one would expect in adequate music is nonexistent. By the time “Bloodworm” rolls around, it’s nearly an unbearable experience, and they consequently end the record on a dull note with the insipid “Avoid the Light,” just another song replicating the same genetic code. Was it really necessary to drag this whole thing out for an entire hour?

Although Charred Walls of the Damned has established a fantastic identity, this is hardly the work of veteran musicians coming together for something completely unique and perplexing. Rather, the accessibility crashes very quickly, and then what? Just add another seven songs that stretch out the redundancy and add nothing new? That’s what it seems like, anyway. This record had all the fundamentals of a stellar experience from the excellent lineup to the glorious edge of fatalism glaring within the group’s icy gimmick. However, "Cold Winds on Timeless Days" fails to reach the goals it should've easily obtained at a primordial state, leaving the album cold, breezy, and timeless like a loaf of bread. You’ll love this if you love disappointment.

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