Iced Earth following Halford's return to the Priest fold, Beyond Fear is essentially Ripper's first solo project

" /> Iced Earth following Halford's return to the Priest fold, Beyond Fear is essentially Ripper's first solo project

" /> Beyond Fear – Beyond Fear – Jukebox:Metal Jukebox:Metal | Beyond Fear - Beyond Fear review
Beyond Fear - Beyond Fear
Beyond Fear
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SPV/Steamhammer
Produced by Jim Morris

Most famous for replacing Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford in the early '90s, Tim "Ripper" Owens is undoubtedly one of the most underrated metal vocalists around. Now fronting Iced Earth following Halford's return to the Priest fold, Beyond Fear is essentially Ripper's first solo project. The intention however was to have a full, permanent band to be the leader of. A new band, instead of joining an existing band like he's done before. The result is the heaviest album he's ever produced.

Ironically, if any reference points are needed for opening track Scream Machine it would have to be Rob Halford's solo band Halford, and this is the track fans will have been hearing a sample of on Ripper's site for some time. It's after this song, however, that the album really comes into its own. And... You Will Die and Save Me have a very similar delivery from Owens to his work on Iced Earth's most recent album The Glorious Burden, but musically they're much heavier. Coming At You is more straight-ahead traditional metal than is common from him, perhaps akin to late '80s Ozzy Osbourne, but still heavy as hell. In contrast Dreams Come True is a ballad somewhat similar to the softer things he did with Iced Earth, but more impressive for the inclusion of its bluesy guitar soloing.

Telling Lies comes back to the Halford-sounding style, but with Ripper's vocals very reminiscent of his work on Judas Priest's Demolition album, and again the guitar work is excellent with a very modern metal sound similar to Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall, then more heavy riffing for I Don't Need This, again with the modern metal tone but with a very traditional metal bridge and solo. Guitarists Johnny Comprix and Dwane Bihary are excelling themselves.

The trend continues through Words of Wisdom and My Last Words before the album's closing moments of real brilliance. Your Time Has Come thrashes like classic Megadeth, Ripper screeching, before a melodic, slow-burning bridge and Ripper's best vocals of the whole album. The song builds back up with some of the best rhythm work so far from ex-Winters Bane man Dennis Hayes (bass) and drummer Eric Elkins before ending with some brilliant harmony leads from the guitarists.

Final track The Faith is a fist-pumping, sing-a-long rocker with a crushing, slow riff behind Ripper's mid-range vocals (the kind fans have an actual chance of singing along to). A crowd-participation-ready bridge leads out to the final barrage of rapid-fire drumming and it's done. Beyond Fear is the purest metal album Ripper has put out in his career so far, and essential listening for his fans.

“ the heaviest album he's ever produced ”

Tracklist: Scream Machine / And... You Will Die / Save Me / The Human Race / Coming At You / Dreams Come True / Telling Lies / I Don't Need This / Words of Wisdom / My Last Words / Your Time Has Come / The Faith

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2006, Albums, Heavy Metal,

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