Charred Walls Of The Damned @ Gramercy Theatre (7/8/2010)

Logo - Charred Walls Of The Damned

Artist: Charred Walls Of The Damned
Venue: Gramercy (New York, NY)
Opener: Don Jamieson, Magus Beast, The Hixon, The Smash-Up
Date: 7/8/20100
Label: Metal Blade Records

Charred Walls Of The Damned is a new Metal project band for former Death and Iced Earth skin basher Richard Christy. The drummer has been out of the Metal loop for a few years based on his working with the Howard Stern radio show but of course once this is in your blood it is only a matter of time before you return to it. I guess it’s like being in the mob. It was not long ago that the bug sunk its fangs deep into Christy’s system and beckoned him back to the Metal stage and to do this time proper he would assemble a killer band to record with in his new group the Charred Walls of the Damned. On guitar he would have producer Jason Suecof and on bass Steve DiGiorgio. The powerful music that would come from such players could only be properly compensated by the incendiary vocal pipes of Tim “Ripper” Owens who for many fans of the genre can do no wrong. Their self-titled album has been getting some positive reviews and this release would be the focus of their set tonight. They would have a few regional bands as support in each stop but the direct support space was relegated to comedian Don Jamieson from “That Metal Show”; the program hosted by Eddie Trunk. Here is how the larger part of the night went down for those who might have missed it.

Kicking off the fun tonight would be the following opening acts – Magus Beast, The Smash-Up and The Hixon. I had heard Magus Beast a few times and they are good at what they do, and The Smash Up achieved some level of attention when they were one of the early bands on the 2006 “Gigantour” with Megadeth. The guys in The Hixon hail from South Jersey and are apparently friends with drummer Christy so that had to help them get a spot on the bill. I would miss all three of these bands based on some personal scheduling conflict but I would arrive just in time to see comedian Don Jamieson take to the stage. The venue seemed to be at its most crowded by this point and if I had to venture a guess I would say that no more than 200 folks were in the room. Perhaps the frustration about LeBron James bypassing New York was keeping people at other locations. Personally I could have cared less about what he was going to do with himself. Moving on.

Don Jamieson: Although I have watched what appear to be all the episodes of “That Metal Show” and I get a kick out of sidekick Don Jamieson the most of the pair that help out Trunk, I had to admit that I had some reservations about his being the direct support for a Metal concert. Being someone who sees a lot of regional shows, I know full well just how much powerhouse talent is available for gigs of this kind and as a fan more of music than comedy based on the scene, would have preferred to see another band. Be that as it may, Don came out onstage after a brief introduction by both Eddie Trunk and Jim Florentine who he berated in similar fashion to what he does on the show. He introduced himself as Wolverine and said how people were clapping now since he was like the hot chick at a party but when the show gets cancelled he will be like the fat chick at the party. He kept the line of humor at the Metal scene and poked fun at Poison a little bit and saying how he once fantasized about them until realizing it was not a band of chicks and he even did a routine that utilized several Judas Priest album titles in it to discuss Halford’s open homosexuality. Hold off on the angry letters of complaint though because he did not truly disrespect the Metal God. He kept this up for about fifteen or twenty minutes and while some were behind it, there were others that wanted the talking to stop and the Metal music to continue. I think it was cool to have Christy bring his friend along for this, but as I said, I think the majority of folks would have been more interested in additional music.

Charred Walls of The Damned: I had to say that I was excited to hear how this band would sound live after enjoying a number of the tunes on the debut release but then I had to wonder how this would pull off since the whole CD is something like 35 minutes long, which is hardly the length of a respectable headlining set. Before continuing into the show report it should be noted that two of the bands members from the release would not be present for this gig or tour and that was both Suecof and DiGiorgio. One had to wonder why this was even endeavored with the bands lead guitarist and bassist not joining in, but fortunately the skills of guitarists John Comprix and Matt Sorg would take care of the axework while Ed Stephens handled the bass. While I had never heard of Sorg before, I knew that Comprix would be a welcome face to the lineup since he has been working with Ripper for a number of years and is a member of Beyond Fear with the sonic screamer. The band was introduced by two individuals but they would not get Eddie Trunk like Don managed to and would instead have to rely on both High Pitch Eric and JD who are apparently segment producers on the Howard Stern show. I remembered the name of High Pitch but didn’t know who the other guy was having not listened to Stern since he left terrestrial radio. From this it was on and the band got the systems raging with a couple of tunes from the debut album. They started with “Blood On Wood” and was a suitable opener and followed this with “From The Abyss”. I was pleased to find the next song being “Scream Machine” from the Beyond Fear album since it is such a good track and this would be the first of many of the planned surprises for the evening.

Two more offerings from the album were delivered with zeal and then it was onto a song that many had not heard in some time. It was from Ripper’s Judas Priest tenure and the song was “Burn In Hell”. I was one of those folks that enjoyed when Tim was a part of the band because it surely didn’t seem like Rob was coming back and why give up Judas Priest music when you can keep on appreciating it. They kept the covers coming by doing Iron Maiden’s “Number Of The Beast” and that had everyone in the audience singing along as well. Tim really did get the notes out for all of the screams but let’s face it – the man can sing the phonebook if he had to. It was around this point where we even got a quick drum solo from Christy who showed that he really still had the chops. It was a fast paced and thundering solo and one that did not bore the audience like so many of those seem to do. The set seemed to be going back and forth from their new release and then dishing out some covers that almost everyone would know. After two more of their originals the guys called up to the stage Mr. Jose Mangin who hosts Liquid Metal on the Sirius XM network that Christy works on and after a couple of words of thanks, he broke into “Territory” by Sepultura. I had to say that he did a good job, and while I have seen Jose at many shows, I never knew he played or sang. Maybe he talks about this kind of stuff on the satellite network but I am not a subscriber to that stuff so am a little in the dark. His doing the song gave Ripper a chance to take a breather and return with “Starting Over” from his own recent solo album “Play My Game”. That was an interesting release and fans of Owens should really check it out since it features a lot of different people on it helping Ripper deliver a solid album.

Tim would briefly speak to the loss of Ronnie James Dio and raise the horns up for him. Dio’s widow Wendy is actually management for Owens so this was a loss that hit a lot closer to home for him than to many of the rest of us. The band then broke into a brief taste of “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath but they would not do the whole song. That was a shame since I would have loved to hear how Tim did it. We did get the “Four Horseman” by Metallica which was interesting to hear done in this context and everyone seemed to get a kick out of that one. The bands “Manifestations” would be the final original played tonight and that let me jot down that every song off of the bands debut was performed tonight. The whole evening would close with the most unexpected of songs in Grim Reaper’s “See You In Hell”. I always loved that song and really got a kick out of seeing it done as the grand finale.

My only issues with the show was how there were not as many people as I would have liked to see here but then again there were more than some of the other shows I had attended at this same space. It’s always a 50/50 chance that you will bring in a lot or bring in nobody. I don’t think enough people knew about the album yet to be honest and felt that while the headlining spot was cool to have, that perhaps this should have been the direct support for someone with an existing fan base and now a building one. Both Christy and Owens have their supporters but I don’t think that they played to anyone “new” to their styles. My friends and I all had a blast of course and will gladly see the band whenever they return. Based on all of the cool surprises tonight I had to say that if you missed this one, you really missed a good time. I did have to gripe about the lighting this evening since the band played in very dim light for this one. I just don’t like this at all and there were times where it was so dark near Richard Christy that I was tempted to take my own small LED flashlight out of my photo bag and prop it up next to the drum kit so people could see him. In my view, the fans are paying good money to see the bands and should be able to actually see them when they perform. Otherwise they are better served by listening to the albums at home; it’s as simple as that.

Set List:
1. Blood On Wood
2. From The Abyss
3. Scream Machine (Beyond Fear)
4. Creating Our Machine
5. Ghost Town
6. Burn In Hell (Judas Priest)
7. The Number Of The Beast (Iron Maiden)
8. The Darkest Eyes
9. In A World So Cruel
10. Territory (Sepultura)
11. Starting Over (Tim Ripper Owens)
12. Fear In The Sky
13. Voices Within The Walls
14. Four Horseman (Metallica)
15. Manifestations
16. See You In Hell (Grim Reaper)

In keeping up the tradition of band names in the bright lights we present the marquee of the Gramercy Theatre for the Charred Walls show.  The rather interesting band name might have found passerby thinking this was again a movie house and some new Horror film was being showcased.

Heavy Duty

If you have never been over to the Gramercy Theatre, the space is formerly the location of a movie house and if memory serves me well, I did catch a couple of films here many years ago.  There is a reasonably sized downstairs area that is often used for the bands merchandise tables and the meet and greet times with those fans who wish to pay a little extra for their ticket.  Fans should know that there is always a good chance of rubbing elbows with the band in this area whether they purchase a VIP ticket or not.

Immolation's Ross Dolan & Charred Walls' John Comprix

Here’s Ross Dolan from New York’s own Immolation with John Comprix who plays with Ripper in Beyond Fear.  Their self-titled is still one of my favorite debuts.  Ripper played one of their songs tonight and it was great to hear the “Scream Machine” once again.  We last ran into Ross at the Pestilence show that was at this same space a few short weeks ago.  Readers of the blog already know that of course.

Immolation flanks guitarist John Comprix

Guitarist Bob Vigni from Immolation was also here with Ross so we snapped a shot of him and Comprix.  The Immolation guys will be doing a one-off gig over at The Studio in a few weeks with label mates Arsis.  Then they go off on a lengthy tour with Vader as their direct support.  We won’t make that tour but we sure will be at The Studio when Immolation comes to crush it.

Sirius XM's Jose Mangin & Tim "Ripper" Owens

Here’s a shot of Sirius XM’s Jose Mangin with the Ripper.  He hosts the “Liquid Metal” show on the network and we frequently see him supporting the Metal shows.  This evening Jose would actually get up on the stage and sing a Sepultura song with the band.  That was pretty cool. You’re probably thinking that the massive beer can is an illusion but please know that objects in my view finder are closer than they appear so yes, its a biggie.

Jimmy Duff & Don Jamieson

Here’s Jimmy Duff of the bar “Duff’s”, a regularly frequented establishment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by many of the Metal Republic. On the right (his left of course) is comedian Don Jamieson from “That Metal Show”.  As you know, Jamieson was the direct support for this brief tour.

Tommy Vext & John Comprix

Singer Tommy Vext was at the show and we see him here messing around with John Comprix who was clearly having a blast of a time being in NYC again.  Folks might remember Vext from his short stint in Divine Heresy and when Snot was back in action a couple of years ago.  I am unaware of what new project he will unleash on the Metal fans but we shall be watching.

"Ripper" Owens and Jimmy Duff

Here’s “Ripper” with Jimmy Duff who we just presented to you before.  Apparently the whole band was heading over to his bar to celebrate the NYC gig and then it would be off to the next stop on the short tour.

The Gathering - Metal Style

Flanking guitarist John Comprix we have Don Jamieson (left) and Jimmy Duff (right).  Yes, Jimmy is really that tall 🙂

Jimmy Duff & Brian Slagel

Wrapping up the blog side of the whole adventure is another shot of Mr. Duff with Metal Blade Records head honcho Brian Slagel.  I had to admit that it was great to see him out in NYC supporting one of his acts.

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One thought on “Charred Walls Of The Damned @ Gramercy Theatre (7/8/2010)”

  1. This was a good one, although I do agree that it felt almost like a cover band rather than a high-class original act. Given the low-key nature of the show, one would be hard-pressed to realize the talent and pedigree on stage. The performance was great, but you are right that it was tough to fill a headlining set with one 35 minute album to pull from. I’m not knocking the rest of the set, as I could watch that band play all night (Ripper sounded amazing, and Richard was a beast on the kit), but here’s hoping they have some more material for the next visit (I believe a new album was just announced as being in the works).

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