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On disc: Tim 'Ripper' Owens



Play My Game - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


www.timripperowens.com







Play My Game

Play My Game
(Steamhammer - 2009)


Most metal fans will know Tim 'Ripper' Owens from his days with Judas Priest and Iced Earth, even if there he had to fit into an existing band and no influence on the music. He started Beyond Fear and joined Yngwie Malmsteen, but it seems he still has enough spare time and so he now presents his first solo album called Play My Game. If you take a look at the involved musicians it's like a who-is-who of the metal scene! But let's talk about the music!
The opener is called Starting Over and is a kind of power ballad which shows Mr. Owens different. Bob Kulick co-wrote this one and also plays the guitar, for the rhythmic basis he got bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Simon Wright. A heavy rocker is Believe, more mid-tempo and with a sad note... Reminds me a bit of Black Sabbath with Dio - or should I say Heaven & Hell -, anyway as Ripper named this line-up as one of his faves its no big surprise. Same rhythm section, but on guitar you hear John Comprix and on lead guitar Craig Goldy. With a spoken words part which sounds like a news cast he kicks off the fast The Cover Up. And here you find the high-pitched notes, but I think it's good that Ripper varies and shows a larger range. Beside Beyond Fear guitarist John Comprix he this time gathered Megadeth's James Lomenzo, drummer Brett Chassen and Jeff Loomis took over the lead guitar. The first songs show that Tim 'Ripper' Owens is based in traditional heavy metal, but he presents the songs in a modern sound. The variety is also making this album enjoyable, but the songs need several spins to develop. It Is Me is based on heavy riffs, a bit faster and here Carlos Cavazo added the leads. No Good Goodbyes seems to be his way to deal with some experiences... A dark song, but heavier and more aggressive - and with more high-pitched screams. Great guitar play by the Kulick brothers. The World Is Blind shows again the influence Black Sabbath had on him - and Owens stated that the songs on Play My Game are influenced by Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, so it's no surprise. The doomy part and the Dio-esque vocals show his admiration, but then there are the high-pitched vocals which stand for his love for Judas Priest. A dark, balladesque one is To Live Again, perhaps not as strong as the opener Starting Over... But it shows sadness as well as the will to survive, to fight to survive. The title track Play My Game sounds quite modern and aggressive, but also a bit doomy. I think it isn't what fans expect, but personally I like this side of him. A fast Priest-ish one is Death Race, this is what most fans are longing for! Slowly starts the last song The Shadows Are Alive, then they speed up a bit and the song becomes a very heavy and intense track. This one is co-written by Chris Caffery who also plays all guitars. The song gets heavier and fast, a real metal track with high-pitched vocals - and then suddenly it's all over.
In my opinion the variety is a strong point of the album, even if I miss some really catchy lines the songs are on a high level. My favorites are Starting Over, The Shadows Are Alive and the title track Play My Game - and that are the songs I recommend to check out.


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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