• 8/10
    TIM RIPPER OWENS - Play My Game - 8/10


SPV / Steamhammer
Release Date: May 15, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

In comparison to other solos albums by vocalists like Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and late Metal Church’s David Wayne and Ronny Monroe, Ripper Owens chose to take steps further away from the sub-genres within Metal he usually participates in – Power Metal, Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal. Although his debut release, Play My Game indicates the usage of Heavy Metal, Ripper and his peers went on with their writing into the far depths of Modern Hard Rock and Groove music. Therefore, you can hear and observe that Ripper did the opposite than the four known vocalists, who made their releases heavier or similar to their bands’ musical approaches and views.

After Ripper’s band, Beyond Fear, released its debut album in 2006, the future looked bright for the giant American screamer, but 2 years later he got sacked from the Power / Thrash band Iced Earth after participating on rather two good albums. His reason for getting sacked was very similar to the reason why he was fired from Judas Priest, which was a reunion with the old vocalist. From this short story, you can comprehend that the Ripper was somewhat mistreated because not everyone can be Judas Priest’s frontman and put out two albums under their challenging helm. Moreover, it is not easy to work everything out with Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth, who is a workaholic leader who demands a lot from his fellow band members.

As you probably know, after Ripper’s little history and experience in the major league of bands and his godly talent, he did not have to make a lot of effort in order to be Yngwie Malmsteen’s new vocalist. Although his appearance on Malmsteen’s latest effort, in general, does not fit him in any way, he still has the undying voice of a banshee, which made him the most powerful vocalist Malmsteen ever had until now.

Last year Ripper began working on his own solo career. For the recordings he gathered a number of major star players to participate on Play My Game, namely Chris Caffery (Solo and Savatage), Rudy Sarzo (Dio), Simon Wright (Ex-AC/DC, Dio), Craig Goldy (Dio), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), David Ellefson (Ex- Megadeth and Temple Of Brutality), Doug Aldrich (Dio), Bob Kulick, James Lomenzo (Megadeth) and the list goes on. All these talented people gathered under Ripper’s tune to record a piece that, when you think of it, was supposed to be one of the major breakers of 2009.
Play My Game came out with great expectations, yet it is not what it turned out to be. The album is good but it could have been better as it wasn’t the best offering that ever came from Ripper. Without a doubt, this guy can do a lot better with his future releases. The blending of Hard Rock / Heavy Metal and some grooves did come out nicely on the first half of the album, yet the second part of it didn’t fail, but didn’t excite either. Moreover, tracks as “Play My Game” and “No Good Goodbyes” turned out to be dull and boring. “The Light” has some good moments with a couple of screams that will haunt you in your sleep, yet it still did not amaze. On the other hand, songs like “Believe” and “Death Race” can be considered solid tracks.

However, do not hurry to bury Play My Game because the other tracks presented are quite good and some of them mark great musical moments with Rippers killing vocals.
“Starting Over” – a great Hard Rock tune that tells a post break up story, with Bob Kulick’s help, this one tops other tracks within the release that are way heavier. “The Cover Up” – Ripper preaches words that many of you will probably know. The phenomenon of aliens hovering the earth is not a governmental secret anymore. Ripper will take you back to the first sighting in 1947 and instruct you with what needs to be done with these aliens. “Pick Yourself Up” – A track where the blending mentioned before works wonderfully. Ripper tells all you folks, who are in severe inner pain, to never give up. “It Is Me” – The best song of Play My Game really brings back memories of Ripper’s appearance on Winter’s Bane’s first album, Heart Of A Killer, with elements of Thrash / US Power which have created this mighty bluster. “The World Is Blind” – Is another lesson about our representatives who reign us. They must stop all the lies, wars and everyday troubles around the world. This is a wakeup call. “The Shadows Are Alive” – A well done closer to this release, it shows peaks of mystery along with great music.

This album is not Ripper’s last word, he will be blasting you in the future and that is a reality. Now all you have to wait for is the second record by his Beyond Fear.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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