Tim Ripper Owens - Play My Game

10 songs
53:01 minutes
***** **
Steamhammer / SPV


Tim Ripper Owens is something like the globetrotter of the heavy metal world. At first active in lesser known bands like Brainicide and Winter’s Bane, he later could sing for bands like Judas Priest, Iced Earth and Yngwie Malmsteen. He never stayed long in one place and maybe therefore decided to come forward now with his first solo album.

Wanting to have the decision power for himself this time, Tim Owens set, true to the album title, the rules and invited a bunch of guest musicians who did as they were told, probably as long as the paycheck is in order. It would be boring to list all the participants, but people like Bob Kulick, Chris Caffery, Billy Sheehan, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright and Vinnie Appice (to name but a few) have without an exception gathered a lot of experience in the hard rock and heavy metal universe.

In charge of the songwriting and the vocals, Tim Owens leaves all the instruments to his guest musicians. I don’t understand why he chose to begin the album with the two quieter tracks Starting Over and Believe. Apart from being inept to carry along, they also give a wrong impression of the album. Things improve with The Cover Up with strong roots in Eighties metal. A first highlight comes with It Is Me drawing parallels to Owens’ Judas Priest past. The undeniable climax comes with the slightly confusing The Light which wouldn’t have seemed amiss on a Jon Oliva’s Pain record. Otherwise the CD offers a sufficient number of solid rockers, once you made it past the somewhat anaemic start.

Tim Owens proves that he is an excellent metal vocalist, not that anyone would have doubted that. The idea of recruiting high-class rock and metal artists has paid off. And still you are left wondering what he wants to achieve with this CD. In the end, Play My Game is nothing more and nothing less than a good heavy metal album, and those can be found in abundance these days.

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