New Releases: Charred Walls of the Damned, Priestess, Rob Zombie
Charred Walls of the Damned, 'Charred Walls of the Damned': The lineup is a who's who of heavy metal: Tim 'Ripper' Owens on vocals; producer extraordinaire Jason Suecof on guitars (and he shreds); Steve DiGiorgio of Testament/Death on bass; and Howard Stern show sidekick Richard Christy, who got his start in Death and Iced Earth, on drums. 'CWOTD' could either be a masterpiece or a mess, as studio projects like this tend to be. The foursome have chemistry and tosse off classic, '80s, power metal. Suecof's guitarwork matches Owens' soaring, glass-shattering intensity perfectly. Grab a leather jacket (or a jean jacket with an Anthrax patch), a bullet belt and crank 'Ghost Town,' 'Blood on Wood' and 'Voices Within the Walls.'
Dommin, 'Love Is Gone': 'Love Is Gone' is the darkly romantic, gothically tinged debut of Southern California's Dommin, named after frontman Kristofer Dommin. Strains of DNA from Danzig, Type O Negative and Depeche Mode manifest in Dommin's melodic, broody tunes, like 'Tonight' and 'My Heart Your Hands.'
Priestess, 'Prior to the Fire': Priestess dole out stonery rock with lots of jams, 'Lady Killer' and 'The Firebird' feature fuzzy guitars, clean vocals, like early Queens of the Stone Age and later period Kyuss, harkening back to the days when the AOR (album oriented rock) was the norm. Albums like this worship at the First Church of the Distorted Riff, which transports you somewhere not of this earth. 'Murphy's Law' sticks to the ribs, while 'It Baffles the Mind' has a slow, steady pace that'll leave you wondering if you woke up in the '70s and where that bong next to you came from!
Rob Zombie 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2': All-around artisan Rob Zombie -- who has achieved more notoriety for his recent spate of films than his music in the past few years- picks up where his smash, 1998-released solo album 'Hellbilly Deluxe' left off. While he has released a few albums between these two bookends, 'Hellbilly, Version 2.0' finds Mr. Zombie singing about B-grade horror movies and other kitschy things, over crunchy, industrial-aggro riffery. 'Sick Bubblegum' will make you feel like it's the late '90s all over again.
Through the Eyes of the Dead, 'Skepsis': Grab an industrial-sized bottle of Excedrin at the local pharmacy, because you're going to need it once you acclimate to Through the Eyes of the Dead's 'Skepsis,' their first featuring new growler Danny Rodriguez. You'll be banging your head so hard, your neck will ache for months! While TTEOTD are often lumped into the deathcore cate-'gory,' the band doles out relatively straight-forward, blast-beat laden death metal with some unconventional guitar parts on 'Skepsis.'