Charred Walls Of The Damned - Creatures Watching Over The Dead review



Reviewer:
7.2

44 users:
7.34
Band: Charred Walls Of The Damned
Album: Creatures Watching Over The Dead
Release date: September 2016


01. My Eyes
02. The Soulless
03. Afterlife
04. As I Catch My Breath
05. Lies
06. Reach Into The Light
07. Tear Me Down
08. Living In The Shadow Of Yesterday
09. Time Has Passed


I was *this* close to binning Creatures Watching Over The Dead. I could never really crack open Cold Winds On Timeless Days, and after five years of trying, I've determined that it's because there is nothing to "get" about that album. When I found Creatures Watching Over The Dead similarly difficult to dive into at first listen, I assumed that it was also devoid of deeper value; after multiple sessions, however, it seems that Charred Walls Of The Damned has actually succeeded in releasing an album that challenges the listener to do more than simply wait until the boredom ends.

20 years after his global debut with Judas Priest, Ripper Owens still sounds powerful and lean - definitely older, but very much in command of his recognizable sky-piercing screams. Richard Christy and Steve DiGiorgio make for one of the best rhythm sections ever seen in metal, and Jason Suecof has proven himself more than capable of holding his own as a guitarist against his titanic bandmates. Despite the presence of such overwhelming musical acumen, I do not believe that Charred Walls Of The Damned has ever really lived up to its potential. All three albums now have played host to a handful of devastating instrumental combos and big, epic screeches that make the discography worth owning, but for the most part, it seems that Charred Walls Of The Damned is fated to produce lukewarm blandscapes populated by quotidian riffs and the relics of pre-owned melodies. The self-titled debut at least had a couple of standouts, but the second half of the album through to the end of the band's sophomore release runs together, and with the pedigree these members have, a "good, not great" album feels like a much bigger disappointment than it should.

I had expected the same ennui upon engaging with Creatures Watching Over The Dead, and whipsawed by my disappointment at the band's consistent wasting of potential and discouraged by my failure to immediately detect something memorable about this album, I was ready to dismiss it. Having now learned to listen to the album the band released and not the album I thought I was getting, I have noticed that the songwriting has taken a big step up this time around. Creatures Watching Over The Dead has multiple songs ("The Soulless," "Reach Into The Light," "As I Catch My Breath," "Afterlife") that have kept me coming back to the album even after I decided there was nothing worthwhile about it, and ultimately changed my mind after sufficient consideration. Perhaps the ultimate truth of Charred Walls Of The Damned is that it comes off wholly unremarkable at first listen but becomes more endearing the more you listen. Who knows? Perhaps with this in mind I'll even manage to give Cold Winds On Timeless Days another shot.

Even with better songs in tow, the band has been shackled to this flimsy, forgettable sound for three albums now and cannot seem to shake the sense of dispassionate boredom that enervates some potentially kinetic material; there's still room for improvement, and only so much of that can come from my changing tastes and perceptions. After several sessions with Creatures Watching Over The Dead and revisiting the first two albums, I still have to fight my initial disappointment over the band's unfulfilled potential in order to appreciate this album - and I do think the album is worth paying attention to, but it's definitely little more than a hastily-written, beautifully-performed heavy/power/thrash album the likes of which show up not too infrequently.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7


 



Written on 25.09.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 151 users
25.09.2016 - 06:20
psykometal
A staff guy...
I've not listened to this band since [also] being disappointed with the output of such a potentially stellar lineup; hell, I completely forgot they even existed until seeing this review is how unmemorable and disappointed I was by the debut.

Anywho, I decided to check out some of the new stuff on YouTube ("Soulless" is what came up), and Ripper sounded a lot like Dio on that track. The song itself was still rather bleh, but it struck me as intriguing only in that if anybody ever wanted to try to pull a "Death To All" type of Dio band tribute/reunion tour thing, Ripper could very well be the best candidate for the vocalist of such a tour, and I would certainly go see such a show with Ripper fronting if it's not just a fluke that he can only pull off sounding like Dio on that one song.
----
~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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25.09.2016 - 11:20
Susan
Smeghead
lukewarm blandscapes

Amazing phrase

Ok, I came for the cool band name, stayed for the build-up with your interest finally piquing, lost interest at the words "Ripper Owens," but then regained interest at the words "Richard Christy and Steve DiGiorgio." I'm not sure why I haven't heard of this band before. I'll check out these lukewarm blandscapes and see what happens.
----
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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25.09.2016 - 15:17
Druss
Written by psykometal on 25.09.2016 at 06:20
Anywho, I decided to check out some of the new stuff on YouTube ("Soulless" is what came up), and Ripper sounded a lot like Dio on that track. The song itself was still rather bleh, but it struck me as intriguing only in that if anybody ever wanted to try to pull a "Death To All" type of Dio band tribute/reunion tour thing, Ripper could very well be the best candidate for the vocalist of such a tour, and I would certainly go see such a show with Ripper fronting if it's not just a fluke that he can only pull off sounding like Dio on that one song.

Seen as you mention that, Ripper was involved with "DIO Disciples" for a while, a Dio tribute band, after his death, there's some clips of it up on Youtube.

As for the album at hand, never could "get" the previous two releases much like the reviewer. Will give this one a go and see if they're finally amounted to something, good review.
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25.09.2016 - 22:09
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Quote:
20 years after his global debut with Judas Priest, Ripper Owens still sounds powerful and lean




I don't know what you live in but I currently live in 2016 and not 2010.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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25.09.2016 - 22:37
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.09.2016 at 22:09

Quote:
20 years after his global debut with Judas Priest, Ripper Owens still sounds powerful and lean




I don't know what you live in but I currently live in 2016 and not 2010.

I was referring to his ascendance to Judas Priest in 1996. I know he had Winters Bane and such before that, but joining Judas Priest is what put him on the map and made him a widely-recognized figure that people might care to know (hence "global" debut).
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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25.09.2016 - 22:39
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Susan on 25.09.2016 at 11:20

lukewarm blandscapes

Amazing phrase

Ok, I came for the cool band name, stayed for the build-up with your interest finally piquing, lost interest at the words "Ripper Owens," but then regained interest at the words "Richard Christy and Steve DiGiorgio." I'm not sure why I haven't heard of this band before. I'll check out these lukewarm blandscapes and see what happens.

Well, you've been given fair warning, but I at least think it's "enjoyable," so hopefully you will, too.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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25.09.2016 - 22:55
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 25.09.2016 at 22:37

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 25.09.2016 at 22:09

Quote:
20 years after his global debut with Judas Priest, Ripper Owens still sounds powerful and lean




I don't know what you live in but I currently live in 2016 and not 2010.

I was referring to his ascendance to Judas Priest in 1996. I know he had Winters Bane and such before that, but joining Judas Priest is what put him on the map and made him a widely-recognized figure that people might care to know (hence "global" debut).


Fuck I am really ill it seems. Painkiller is from 1990 and NOT Jugulator, hahahahahaha. MY DUMBASS MISTAKE.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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13.10.2016 - 14:42
Cy Nide
I haven't checked this one out yet, but the reviewer summed up my thoughts exactly on this band. Given the pedigree of the individuals involved, so far Charred Walls of the Damned has been a big let down. I'll give this a listen at some point but I'm not expecting much.
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13.10.2016 - 16:32
Daniell
_爱情_
Although most of the musicians here come from very respectable bands, none of them is particularly famous for great songwriting. And it shows - this band is much less impressive than the names involved in it would suggest.
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