Some frontmen seem to work their asses off without ever receiving the respect they deserve. More often than not, it’s those brave souls who step up to replace a departing singer – a delicate situation for any band – who finds themselves on the receiving end of an unnecessary backlash, particularly when the frontman departing is an icon of rock and metal.
For every Black Sabbath, who achieved the almost impossible in replacing one legend with another (Dio for Ozzy, if you hadn’t already guessed), history is rife with more than just a few big-name bands who have experienced a rather trickier transition.
The animosity levelled at some of these ‘new boys’ has often derailed careers entirely. A situation that at times has been absolutely preposterous and whether they have found themselves mocked, derided or ignored completely, did they really deserve to be treated with such disdain….we think not!
Here’s 5 frontmen who deserve way more respect for their stints in some of the world’s biggest bands….give these guys a break, they’ve earned it!
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Judas Priest
Albums: Jugulator (1997), Demolition (2001)
The arrival of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens 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 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 Owens’ vocals 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 lad, you pulled it off with aplomb….it’s a shame the metal masses didn’t give you more credit at the time!