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23.9.11

Charred Walls of The Damned - 'Cold Winds on Timeless Days' (metalblade) 4.5/5

Now to me and many older metalheads Tim 'Ripper' Owens is best known as the guy who was plucked from tribute band obscurity to help screw up the mighty Judas Priest for a couple of albums before Rob Halford saw sense and returned to the fold. Still he went some way to redeem himself during his stint with Iced Earth. Now he has moved on again and we have 'Cold Winds On Timeless Days' the second album from his current outfit Charred Walls Of The Damned.

And I'm glad to say with this release the ghosts of those two Priest albums are well and truly laid to rest as Mr Owens and the rest of his crew hit us with a record that is 100% their own and not chained to the tails of others From the opening track Timeless Days with is acoustic intro and huge power metal resolution to the epic metal workout of the closer Avoid The Light, CWOTD have served up a very strong metal album indeed.

Mr Owens vocals are remarkable, sure there are shades of Rob Halford in his delivery and range, for that is after all part of the guys style, but he also shows there is more to his talent than a mere Halford clone. There are shades of John 'Armored Saint' Bush, Bruce Dickinson and even Biff 'Saxon' Byford in there as well, he has the range the power and the delivery to carve himself a notch up there amongst the very best of them as himself.

But a great metal vocalist does not a great metal album make. You need  the musos there to to weigh in as well, and thankfully the rest of CWOTD are more than up to the task. Jason Suecrof, better known as Trivums desk jockey, is an axe hero of the highest order, capable of everything from brain melting shred solos and face ripping riffs to some sublime mellow interludes with an easy that has to be heard to be believed. Add in the powerhouse rhythm section ex Death / Iced Earth sticksman Richard Christy and former Testament bassist Steve DiGorgio and you have a metal band capable of taking on the very best of them.

Highlights on this impressive album include Maidenesque Forever Marching On, the darkly epic The Beast Outside My Window, the power metal anthem of Bloodworm and fist raising grind and bang of Admire The Heroes. But to be honest, there is not a single weak track on offer here, every track is a real jewel to be enjoyed and treasured forever.

In short this album is just great and is a worthy addition to cannon of metal classics.

For fans of... Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Helloween....

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