We’re big fans of Tim “Ripper” Owens here at Worship Metal, and we find it odd that his work with certain bands (ahem) still seems to be on the receiving end of unnecessary derision.
The man sings like a fuckin’ metal god (so to speak) and so we’ve selected 5 albums that are made infinitely better simply because the “Ripper” lends his considerable skills to proceedings!
Starting with the obvious…..
Judas Priest – Jugulator (1997) & Demolition (2001)
The arrival of Tim “Ripper” Owens to the ranks of Judas Priest should have been seamless.
Here was a voice that could not only mimic his predecessor perfectly (the inimitable metal god himself, Rob Halford) but arguably added a grittier edge to the Judas Priest sound with lower lows, higher highs, grunge-inspired inflection (particularly on Jugulator‘s “Blood Stained”) and a powerful tone that resonated through each and every track on both Jugulator and Demolition.
The problem, in this case, can be laid directly at the feet of the musicians backing the “Ripper”. While Jugulator embraced the groove-metal of the era it at least still sounded like Judas Priest. Demolition, on the other hand, was disturbingly dark and would have benefited from being released under a different band name entirely. Demolition bore no resemblance to Priest’s canonical sound of old and in reality this was simply not a Judas Priest album….but it sure was a great album!
Irrelevant of the music written for these 2 highly underrated albums, it’s Tim “Ripper” Owens’ performances that are up for discussion here and, in all honesty, they bordered on perfection. He sang loud, he sang proud and his screams, growls and shrieks more than matched his illustrious predecessor.
Hats off to you “Ripper” lad, you pulled it off with aplomb….it’s a shame the metal masses didn’t give you more credit at the time!
Iced Earth – The Glorious Burden (2004)
Tim “Ripper” Owens‘ stint with controversial power thrashers Iced Earth also deserves a complete re-evaluation and – similar to his time in Priest – his vocals were pitched to perfection.
Taking over from Matt Barlow, who quit in 2001, the “Ripper” hit the ground running on 2004’s The Glorious Burden, a military history lesson set to music and a gloriously stunning example of Tim Owens’ range and power – just give “The Reckoning” a spin to experience Owens delivering some earth-shattering, spine-tingling vocals!
2007’s Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 1 followed and it was equally as accomplished but the “Ripper” found himself ousted in favour of a returning Matt Barlow for the following years, Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 2. A strange situation that served no real purpose as Barlow departed for a second time soon after!
We digress, it’s The Glorious Burden which is our main focus here and it’s arguably Iced Earth‘s finest moment, with the dark thrash of old jettisoned in favour of a power metal stomp throughout the battlefields of history. And, with Owens’ as our narrator, you can consider Iced Earth‘s 8th album an unequivocal triumph of intelligent, bravura metal.
As quickly became evident, Tim “Ripper” Owens‘ voice was perfect for Iced Earth and they were mad to let him go.
Also recommended: The aforementioned Framing Armageddon: Something Wicked Part 1 is well worth checking out.