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For a long time I’ve hated the movie “Rock Star”, which would be normal for any self-respecting metal head, except for the fact that I never actually sat through the thing. That changed a few months after I first heard this album (late 2007 if I remember correctly) and later picked up an old San Francisco Chronicle issue from 2001 with an interview with then Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens. After a subsequent viewing of the LA sleaze inspired abomination that was guising as a fictitious version of Judas Priest, I fully understood my own hatred for it, and more importantly, why Owens was never crazy about how some halfwit script writer decided to take his story and utterly butcher it into some bad joke with Jennifer Aniston being the lone net positive.
Fiction can be fun, but often times it creates false impressions of the reality it takes inspiration from, and a single listen to not only Ripper’s work with Priest, Iced Earth, and his various other projects will debunk any false impression regarding him being some sort of girlie man with too much mascara on. Of his various lone ventures, Beyond Fear has proven to be the most inviting for those who either know or don’t know much about his work. It functions as a sort of summarized portfolio of his various exploits with all previous bands, and presents it in a compact package that is easy to digest and, more importantly, easy to bang your head to.
There’s a little bit of everything thrown into this little puppy, such as a half-ballad right out of the Jon Schaeffer formula in “Dreams Come True”, a modern metallic speed assault on steroids in the later Judas Priest era (think “Jugulator”) in “Scream Machine”, and even a slight helping of melodic rock in “My Last Words” which somewhat resembles the middle era work of Seven Witches and Metalium. About the only thing that this thing doesn’t really get into is the gallop happy thrashing of Iced Earth’s faster material, but the riff set misses little in the aggression department regardless. It’s modern in the sense that it generally resembles similar efforts out of Leash Law, Killing Machine, and a few others, but the one area in which it retains some much needed orthodoxy is the vocal department, which is prototypical Halford worship as only the Ripper can deliver.
Weak links are a virtual non-existence on here, and apart from a heavily predictable formula that has been around for 10 years (pioneered in large part by Ripper’s own work with Priest), this album is one solid beam of metal. There are a few points of progression to be found on “Your Time Has Come” where some balladic and Neo-classical themes are thrown in and “Words Of Wisdom” where things take on a slightly thrashing character, but this thing mostly sticks to a compartmentalized version of heavy metal where little pieces of different sub-genres are thrown in, but largely the whole comes off as monolithic, though also megalithic when dealing particularly with the latter of the two songs mentioned, along with other gigantic bruisers like “Scream Machine” and “Telling Lies”.
Like many other accomplished front men going back to Ronnie Dio himself, Ripper has learned about building a formidable beast of his own to rival his former compatriots. The only real let down with Beyond Fear is that in 6 years Owens hasn’t managed to put out a worthy follow up under the same moniker (there is another album under Tim’s own name that falls pretty far short of this). Hopefully his time with Dio Disciples will give him some inspiration and that will all change, which might be a real possibility given that he’s still touring under Beyond Fear alongside his perhaps more poignant and better known project of late.
Beyond Fear is the first album from ex Judas Priest, Iced Earth, vocalist Tim Ripper Owen’s that he had a hand in the songwriting process. I was originally turned on to Beyond Fear because I had seen the music video to And…You Will Die and thought to myself that’s a great song so I bought the album. This self-titled debut sounds like a mix between classic metal with a modern touch and some thrash presence.
The songs themselves have a mainly mid-tempo classic metal sound with some thrash moments once in a while. The album is also very melodic which complements Tim Ripper Owen’s vocals well since he ranges from hard tinged vocals to melodic singing, and his trademark falsetto shrieks. The production is very modern; thankfully each instrument is easily heard in the mix. The rest of the band is solid especially the guitarist’s who pull off some pretty good leads, and riffs.
Beyond Fear unfortunately suffers from many problems. First off there are too many songs the album could have been shortened to 9 songs for greater effect. Filler is present on a lot of the album material. Beyond Fear is much better at the thrash parts than the classic metal parts, they should have based their style more on the thrash and less on the classic metal.
Beyond Fear’s debut unfortunately really disappointed me but it is still a solid release though bogged down by filler. Hopefully Beyond Fear can fix the problems with this release with their next album. The best songs are Scream Machine, And…You Will Die, Telling Lies, and Words Of Wisdom. I recommend this release to fans of anything that Tim Ripper Owen’s has put his name on and classic metal only.
-8 points too many songs
-8 points filler is present on much of the album
-6 points Beyond Fear should have focused more on the thrash
For some reasons that we still don’t know, the passing of Tim Ripper Owens in Iced Earth and Judas Priest was not successful. I guess it is due to the remarkable establishments of those bands that nobody could picture them without their former singers. Even so, I like him singing anywhere and the fact that he is not with them anymore doesn’t diminish at all the outstanding vocal qualities from Owens.
Now, I agree with the other two guys about everything. If you are a power metal fan ala Primal Fear or even modern Helloween then this is another damn good release to add to your collection. The lyrical content I must say is silly. Both the topics and the writing skills but this is a debut so I give him the benefit of the doubt. The music is, first and foremost heavy metal to your balls due to the power, energy and feeling its shows off.
The focal point is obviously the vocals. Very much ala Ralf and Rob the guy sings metal whenever, wherever and whatever he wants. He can growl, scream, master high falsettos and sing very well like those aforementioned giants. Since this is his band he can oversees the entire production according to what he desires and that is ok and the reason this albums rocks out.
Next coming up is the strong guitar tone (very modern metal and hard rock) so this doesn’t sound ‘happy’. Oh and don’t forget that there are 2 guitar players, making it even more interesting since the rhythm parts are exquisite although the riffing is not very technical and or creative. Powerful drumming not technical at all but instead they just keep the flow of the rhythm parts going along. The production indeed is very good and you can enjoy a feast metal from beginning to end. The solos are very good also, very ala Iced Earth, although they are more rhythm they have their moments.
There is not much left to say for a debut except that this is the way we wanted Ripper Owens to be heard, with a band that will give him the chance to really take off. This is by far a heavy metal dessert that you can easily dig with the first listen so go and get it. Ripping vocals from the Ripper himself will leave you wanting more.
When I think of modern day metal, I unfortunately have to revert to all this new age mallcore faggotry that has plagued the earth over the last half decade. You see, the main complaint with this modern day abomination stems predominantly from two main areas;
1. Lack of guitar solos, but I think the reason for this is simply based on lack of ability to play a freakin' guitar; and
2. Stupid screaming and debauchery styled vocals, that sound like pussified death metal, mixed with clean and whinny assed somber toned choruses.
Now, enter the age of modern day old school metal ala Beyond Fear!
Finally, a noble shot of sincerity is injected into the modern age of metal, with all the attributes to properly label this band with an "old school" labeling.
This album is a fantastic heavy metal record...period! A few thrash inserts from time to time, but for the most part, old school rings true in almost each and every track on the album. Ripper's ability as a vocalist is unmatched by the majority of the frontmen currently working in todays music industry. With a select few, such as James Rivera or Russel Allen, its hard to compare anyone else's ability as a real heavy metal vocalist next to the mighty Ripper.
The falsetto on this album is something that has to actually be heard to be fully appreciated. I can't even put into words how exceptional the falsetto delivery is on this album. Another incredible feat in the vocal aspect is the numerous harmonies and layered vocal tracks that are simply divine. This is rather characteristic for producer Jim Morris, who actually did the same thing quite often with Matt Barlow on a couple of the Iced Earth albums, and it works perfectly for climactic emotional effect.
Another great feature on this disc is the exceptional guitar solos that are absolutely shred worthy by any players standards. The guitar virutosity of the leads are very reminiscent of the style of guitar playing which plagued albums such as Painkiller by the mighty Priest way back in 1990.
I think that the simple fact that Ripper was responsible for overseeing the entire creation of this album, truly allows the listener to appreciate the ability that this guy actually has. As previously mentioned in another review, this album absolutely destroys the quality of the songs that Ripper did on Jugulator and Demolition. I'm not saying that Ripper is a better song writter than Glen Tipton, but I am however saying that his ability to write great music is without a doubt justified 10 fold on this killer modern day heavy metal album.
Beyond Fear, as you all may know is the new band started by one of the best singers out there, Tim “Ripper” Owens. Now he’s standing on his own foot where he can decide the most himself that he wasn’t allowed to do on the Judas Priest-albums. And now when he can do that, he and the band have created a good heavy metal album, which has some fillers, some good ones, and some killer songs. And I can at least say like this, that this album is easily better than any of the JP-albums Tim sang on. Some people say that this album sounds like those, but I don’t agree. What this album has is strong and heavy production, Tim’s powerful vocals, and only these two things is something “Demolition” doesn’t include, at all.
The album breaks out with the excellent heavy-metal track, “Scream Machine”, easily the best song done so far in 2006. Moderately fast, in the same vain as JP’s “Painkiller”, killing verses, guitars, drum-playing, and chorus, the chorus gives me goose bumps. And we do also have other heavy great-ones, the second song “And…You Will Die”, third song “Save Me”, fast and ripping “The Human Race”, “I Don’t Need This” are these all real heavy-metal songs the way we want them. On the “bad-side”, the fillers, we have the really boring ballad “Dreams come True”, the un-interesting “The Faith”. And all the others I class as “good songs”, but not great.
The lyrics Tim has written isn’t the best I know, but absolutely not the worst either, there’s another band that has that triumph *cough* Manowar *cough*. The band sounds tight and well-played, as I said earlier Tim does a excellent work (just like he did on IE’s “Glorious Burden”, the drummer Eric Elkins does also play the drums very well. And of course, the other band members do a great work too, but Tim & Eric is one step higher this time. So, I would recommend you to buy this album if you’re out for some heavy metal with modern production, the album isn’t great, but absolutely slightly above “good”, and it does really explode here and there, and remember it’s much better than for example “Demolition” !
Best songs: Scream Machine, And…You Will Die, Save Me