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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Tim Ripper Owens

Play My Game

Review by Gary Hill

I like Tim Owens. The man has an incredible voice. I’m just not completely blown away by the music on this disc. There are some shining stars here, but much of it seems too rooted in modern metal and is fairly generic. That said, with a voice like Owens’ in place you can forgive a lot. With a lesser singer at the helm this would probably rate a “weak” label. Owens’ shines and brings this disc into the “good” range.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Starting Over
Some backwards tracked stuff leads this into being. From there it powers out to a jam that makes me think of Queensryche quite a bit. As it drops to the mellower section for the vocal movement, that comparison is even more appropriate. This powers out into some screaming hot stuff on the chorus section. The cut works forward alternating between the two sections. There is some cool melodic guitar that comes over the top. The vocals are scorching, but you expect that. This really does feel a lot like Queensryche in terms of the music. There is a meaty guitar solo section here. This is a powerhouse tune.
Believe

This screamer has an epic metal texture to it, but there’s also a death metal segment. I’d have to say that it’s a nice bit of variety, but not my favorite cut on show by any means. It’s good, but not great.

The Cover Up

Starting with a news broadcast about the “flying saucer” crash in Roswell, New Mexico, this is a very powerful modern metal piece. It’s fairly brutal and rather in keeping with some of the more modern sounding metal that Owens did with Judas Priest. I also hear some King Diamond on this one.

Pick Yourself Up

I like this one quite a bit. It’s raw and powerful, but also has a more melodic movement in the midst of it.

It Is Me

This is fairly brutal and raw. It’s a good tune, but not one of my favorites.

No Good Goodbyes

Starting with the overused little “you’ve got mail” clip, this cut reminds me somehow of bands like Alice In Chains. Of course, that’s taken more into pure metal. This is another that’s quite brutal and modern sounding. I can again hear some of the Demolition era Priest on this.

The World Is Blind

Here’s another that reminds me of Dio at times, but I also hear some Alice In Chains and yet there’s a modern metal element to this, too. It’s fairly brutal.

To Live Again

This is one of my favorites on show here. Like the opener it alternates between serious metal crunch and mellower music. I’d say it’s got more in common with European epic metal than it does with Dio, though – unlike that other song. This is powerful and very evocative. I can definitely hear some prog metal on this like Fates Warning or Queensryche, too.

The Light

Here we get another modern metal number that has some definite Alice In Chains in its mix. I like the slower segment that reminds me of a newer version of the bridge on Priest’s “Sinner.”

Play My Game

The title track is good. It’s just not all that different from the rest of the material here and it’s all starting to blend together a bit.

Death Race

In some ways this isn’t all that different from the stuff we’ve heard to this point. That said, I hear some serious bits of Iron Maiden on this in places. It’s a real screamer and one of the highlights of the disc.

 

The Shadows Are Alive
Owens definitely saved the best for last. This is another that alternates between a moody balladic motif and a more metalized jam. The song really reminds me a lot of something from Dio era Black Sabbath. The riffing is classic and this is without question the strongest cut on the set. It’s a great way to leave in a strong way.
 
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