Tim Ripper Owens - Play My Game

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For his first solo album Ripper has assembled a brilliant all-star cast which shines from start to finish. Dio's Simon Wright and nomadic session man Brett Chassen handle all of the drums, except in two cases where Korn's Ray Luzier and heavyweight Bobby Jarzombek, currently in a reformed Riot, take over. Lead guitarists Michael Wilton (Queensrÿche), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Craig Goldy (Dio), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) and Chris Caffery (who's crushing riffing also brings the album to a close on the excellent The Shadows Are Alive) all bring outstanding performances to their songs. But the guy, other than Ripper, who shines brightest is metal's unsung hero Bob Kulick (who probably also had a hand in bring the musicians here together, given his history working with almost all of them on all-star tribute albums), who co-wrote the album's two best tracks The Light and Starting Over (more hard rock than fans will be used to from Ripper), to which he also contributed two of the best guitar solos of the whole disc and two of the best riffs. He also co-wrote and played guitar on No Good Goodbyes which sees his brother Bruce pull off a blistering solo of his own. Beyond Fear guitarist John Comprix handles rhythm guitar on the remaining six tracks, which for the most part are all very heavy. Only one song drops below the average. Death Race is lyrically typical Ripper, similar to Machine Man from Demolition, and feels like a slightly less-heavy Beyond Fear track, with Comprix handling all guitars. Other than that, Ripper is absolutely right when he says he believes these are some of the best songs he's ever written. As good as the Beyond Fear album was, this is better. Much better. More variety and brilliant arrangements centred around massive riffs and wailing solos, which Ripper relying on his full range, rather than his trademark scream.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2009, Albums, Heavy Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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