Play My Game review by Tim 'Ripper' Owens

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  • Released: May 19, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (11 votes)
Tim 'Ripper' Owens: Play My Game
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Sound — 8
Tim Ripper Owens has spent his career as a go-to guy. He's filled in for Rob Halford in Judas Priest, only to relinquish his role when Halford returned. He took over for Iced Earth's Matthew Barlow, until fan demand for Barlow's return became too intense for the band to ignore. Iced Earth have always been Jon Schaffer's band, so it's not like Ripper has ever had a chance to really do his own thing, on his own terms. Until now. Play My Game is a collection of classic metal riffs, which are held together by Owens' high-soaring, hammer of the Gods vocals. The singer invited some big name guests to contribute to the music, as well. Believe is a mid-tempo thrasher with the kind of solos that demand two horns up, while The Cover Up, which features Megadeth bassist (and ex-White Lion member) James LoMenzo and Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis firing off leads, is another tune that could easily have been written in the early 1980s. But Play My Game isn't stuck in the past; rather, Ripper and company experiment with a handful of grunge-influenced songs and play with the rock radio style throughout the album, thus generating memorably, infectious songs. The guest lists reads like a Who's Who of metal stars, with TSO's Chris Caffery, Mr. Big's Billy Sheehan and Heaven & Hell's Vinny Appice lending their talents among many others. We could rattle off each and every guest star, but that would defeat the point. There's obviously a lot of incredible musicianship here, making the album that much more polished and of the highest quality.

Lyrics — 9
Ripper wrote most of the songs himself and with the help of his high profile pals. Obviously, his voice, which is what garnered him jobs in Priest and Iced Earth, is the centerpiece of the entire album. He's got a varied range and while he doesn't go as high as one might expect, his voice still exerts power. On Pick Yourself Up, a gloomy number, he exhibits a dark, dirgey, almost grunge-like tone, while No Good Goodbyes lets him flare up against radio rock riffage. Ripper makes it easy to discern his lyrics, thanks to his diction, so you can certainly sing along while pumping your fist to these catchy, melodic songs.

Overall Impression — 7
With Play My Game, Ripper isn't a hired gun. He's Tim Ripper Owens, a vocalist and artist in his own right, doing his own thing. It's everything you'd expect, with a few surprises here and there. But if you're looking for a metal/hard rock record that's driven by the pure power of the vocalists, then you can halt your search with Play My Game.

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ironpriest
    This guy has a great voice, but has always been on "weak" albums, so it would be great to see what his solo material is like.
    Redshark24
    has anyone heard his version of mr crowley? with malmsteen on guitar, i think.. epic.
    valdean
    Ironpriest wrote: Been listening to Jugulator and Demolition the past days too. Should check it out. I can't even listen to Jugulator, as a massive Judas Priest fan (look at my name), I just find the guitar work boring, the lyrics pathetic (abductors anyone?) and the sound effects too lengthy. Interstingly though, Ripper's voice is a real highlight and fits perfectly. Demolition was a far better album, and I still give it a spin every now and then.
    I think Jugulator is good, because it's "new" and "fresh." Sure, it's not the usual Priest, but you shouldn't expect that. The riffing is really good, and the drums are awesome. The lyrics are a bit clich, but Rob had his moments with that too. There are some unnecessary effects there, but I think Demolition has way more of them. Demolition is also good, but I like more songs from Jugulator.
    Ironpriest
    Been listening to Jugulator and Demolition the past days too. Should check it out.
    I can't even listen to Jugulator, as a massive Judas Priest fan (look at my name), I just find the guitar work boring, the lyrics pathetic (abductors anyone?) and the sound effects too lengthy. Interstingly though, Ripper's voice is a real highlight and fits perfectly. Demolition was a far better album, and I still give it a spin every now and then.
    Tengatu Man
    grimms wrote: SuperFlyinMonke wrote: I thought "the glorious burden" and "framing armageddon" were fantastic. I would really like to see how the new Yngwie album turns out with him on board. I haven't heard anything new on that though. Its been out for a long time =S
    yes very long and hes sounds freakin awesome on the album. Anyways this album should be pretty sweet
    rocknrollfreak9
    Ripper is an incredible vocalist in my opinion he is definately one of the top 10 metal vocalists of all times. It just sucks that he is a replacement in everything. With Priest he was great but the fans want Halford. With Iced Earth fans want Barlow. With Yngwie he was incredible but he doesnt get the credit. When he sung for Yngwie he wasnt even on the stage half the time. I just listened to the whole album on youtube. Im gonna go buy it now. Its really good, but all of you wait until Charred Walls of the Damneds debut that is gonna rock the shit out of the metal world and will be a stepping stone. Richard Christy and Ripper together will be unstoppable!! haha. Keep it metal!!
    strat07
    It's a great album. Heavy and melodic! THE COVER UP IS A KICK ASS KILLER!
    Macabre Lullaby
    Yeah, The Glorious Burden was good, Framing Armageddon was a pretty weak album, but that's Jon Schaefer's fault. He just hasn't been able to compliment good vocalists lately. Even when they got Barlow back, the stuff from Revelation Abomination was still boring. Haven't heard anything from this yet, but I'll definitely have to!
    grimms
    SuperFlyinMonke wrote: I thought "the glorious burden" and "framing armageddon" were fantastic. I would really like to see how the new Yngwie album turns out with him on board. I haven't heard anything new on that though.
    Its been out for a long time =S
    SuperFlyinMonke
    I thought "the glorious burden" and "framing armageddon" were fantastic. I would really like to see how the new Yngwie album turns out with him on board. I haven't heard anything new on that though.
    BlackSymphony6
    I think owens is a fine vocalist, and his work with iced earth was excellent. Jugulator and demolition are poor albums at best, but that has more to do with poor song righting from tipton and downing. Those albums would have been bad with halford on vocals. Beyond Fear was also good.
    vinnym86
    Also, this is THE WORST album art i've seen to date. Absolutely pathetic. C'mon Ripper, you can do better than that.
    A-440
    Ugh. He has that annoying Axl Rose vibrato. Actually he sounds like the lead singer from a GNR tribute band.
    vinnym86
    Super-powerful album with a star-studded guest list and a talented control of vocals. The biggest downfall of this album are the incredibly BORING ballads.
    Setabominae336
    I loved Owens' work with Iced Earth and Judas Priest. "Jugulator" and "Framing Armageddon" are both on my favorites list. However, when I listened to this album, I was horridly disappointed. It really seems Owens needs to quit working with other projects and really focus on his own material. Granted, that's what he did this time, but he needs to do it s'more
    Draconey
    Framing Armageddon and The Glorious Burden were incredible!!! I might go check out this album
    XerFlik
    As a big fan of Judas Priest, i can't consider the albums Jugulator and Demolition as "weak". Of course the bigger part of the Judas' fans like Rob Halford to sing the band's songs, but Tim Owens' voice fit perfect in those 2 albums. You can hear the brutality, if i can use this term, and I like Jugulator (the album) more than few albums with Halford.And by the way i like The Glorious Burden!
    Keskimaki
    Ironpriest wrote: This guy has a great voice, but has always been on "weak" albums, so it would be great to see what his solo material is like.
    Pretty much, yeah. Only albums that I reckon worthy of his presence are Jugulator (Priest) and The Glorious Burden (Iced Earth).
    valdean
    Nice. Been listening to Jugulator and Demolition the past days too. Should check it out.
    MisterDeuce
    I can't wait to check out this album. I'm not that big a fan of Owens, but Lomenzo and Loomis are amazing. You all should check out Loomis solo album that came out this year too.