Tim “Ripper” Owens – the former Judas Priest replacement singer, current Beyond Fear frontman, and recently dismissed Iced Earth vocalist – just landed a new gig with guitar icon Yngwie J. Malmsteen. ...
For those of you who didn’t have long hair in 1986, Malmsteen is a controversial and innovative guitarist known for integrating sweeping classical technique and full-on metal shredding. With big hair and big skills, the guitarist-songwriter is a respected cult figure who’s cut records with a number of singers, including Jeff Scott Soto, whom Journey recently fired.
Malmsteen’s ornate chops are roughly the equivalent of Owens’ glass-shattering voice. If the name still doesn’t ring a bell, you probably won’t recognize either the man or the music. But the anthem “I Am a Viking” and tuff ballad “You Don’t Remember (I’ll Never Forget)” -- from 1986’s Trilogy LP, the cover of which features Malmsteen shooting fire from his guitar at a three-headed dragon -- are solid jams. According to Blabbermouth.net, the new record is due this summer.
The Ripper and the axeman previously collaborated on a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mister Crowley” for Flying High Again, a 2006 Ozzy Osbourne tribute.
Owens issued this statement regarding his new project: “Yes, it is official, I will be singing on the next Yngwie Malmsteen CD, and I couldn’t be more excited about working with him. We have known each other for a while and we have never had the opportunity to work together (aside from the Mr. Crowley song) until now. Back when I was in Priest, we had tried to get together to do something but we couldn’t get our schedules to align.”
In addition, Ripper told Scene that he’ll just be singing for the project, and won’t be writing material, but expects to tour behind the record. He says he’s learning old and new material including “You Don’t Remember.”
As far as his other band, Owens adds: “I’m still doing Beyond Fear [a group of locals that records for international indie metal label SPV Records], but not sure of the timing of everything. To all the fans who are writing in expressing their congrats and concerns, please know that Beyond Fear will always be a main focus of mine, but I now have a great opportunity to work with one of the greatest guitarists ever… I AM A VIKING…LOL!”
Visit www.timripperowens.com to get a gander and Owens’ new merch. – D.X. Ferris