TIM ‘RIPPER’ OWENS Announces ‘Return To Death Row’ Solo EP

Former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens will release a new solo EP, “Return To Death Row”, under the RIPPER banner in late October/early November. The effort will include the song “Embattled”, which was made available in July. The track, like the rest of the EP, was produced by Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED) and Nick Bellmore (JASTA, DEE SNIDER). Players on the effort, which will contain Owens‘s “heaviest songs yet,” include Nick Bellmore, Charlie Bellmore (DEE SNIDER, ex-TOXIC HOLOCAUST) on guitar, and Chris Beaudette (JASTA, ENTEIRRO) on bass.

In a recent interview with Australia’s Heavy, Owens stated about the response to “Embattled” (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s been great. I think people are just gonna really dig it. If they’re into the real mellow part of my career, then they might not dig it quite as much ’cause this EP is pretty heavy. Right off the bat, it starts with a really fast song. Then we’ll probably go into ‘Embattled’. Then it’s got a couple of more fast songs. ‘Embattled’ is the second from being the mellowest song on the record. So it’s really good.

“The whole part about Jamey Jasta and I talking about this is he wanted to capture what I did a lot in my early career and what I did with BEYOND FEAR and what I did with [JUDAS PRIEST‘s] ‘Jugulator’ [album]. His main part, when he first talked to me, he was, like, ‘Man, we’ve gotta do something to capitalize on what you did on ‘Jugulator’, ’cause it was brutal and it was great, and the vocals on there.’ And that was his big thing.

“People know me that I can sing a lot of different styles of music, and this is probably one of my favorite ways to sing, on this record,” Owens added. “I like the straightforward, brutal metal that’s still melodic, because it gives you bigger range. You can sing heavy as hell, but you can take it down and sing mellow, you can sing high, clear notes, raspy… I mean, it widens it even more.

“I think people are really gonna love it,” Tim reiterated. “We’ll be releasing a new single coming up, a new video, lyric video. And then we’re gonna try to get the EP out as soon as we can. Originally we were shooting for the end of October; I don’t know if we’re gonna make that. I mean, it’s done and everything is finalized, but we’re just trying to get it out.”

Asked to elaborate on what Jasta brought to the table, Owens said: “He did Dee Snider‘s [TWISTED SISTER] last couple of records, and they were a lot heavier for Dee and I think they were some of the best stuff I’ve heard from Dee in ages. It was such a fantastic [collaboration]. That’s what really [convinced me]. I’m, like, ‘Man, let’s do that.’ I think he just was sending me stuff that was, like I said, more aggressive and heavier but true to my vocal ability — kind of, like, ‘This is what I want you to do.’

“People know that I’m a big fan of heavy guitar riffs and heavy music, and normal vocals,” he explained. “I’m not the cookie-cutter guy, but I can do that. Probably on Dee‘s records, Jamey probably sang some backups to give him maybe a heavy part that needed that [guttural] part that was in the background. I think Jamey was probably, like, ‘Hell, yeah, I don’t have to do it on Ripper‘s record because he can do it himself.’ But that being said, Jamey would send the vocal ideas that he had for songs, and we would go back and forth, and they were fantastic, his singing. There was a song he sent me — the last track; I can’t remember the name of it offhand; the last track on the record — and I couldn’t capture what he was doing at the beginning of the song. I’m, like, ‘I can’t do it.’ This sounds like him. He just had this certain thing to it. So I think Jamey enjoys doing things like this ’cause it brings out other parts of the music — probably parts that he grew up listening to. It’s like me — I grew up listening to heavy [stuff like] TESTAMENT and SLAYER and ANTHRAX and METALLICA, but also IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and everybody else. And that was probably the same with him. Jamey grew up listening to hardcore, but he also was listening to PRIEST and MAIDEN and all that stuff as well.”

When the collaboration was first announced, Jasta said: “Ripper has been one of my favorite voices in metal since [JUDAS PRIEST‘s] ‘Jugulator’ arrived 25 years ago. His power, range, and work ethic inspire me daily and I cannot wait for the world to hear the crushing new metal tracks we are creating!”

Released in May 2009, Owens‘s first solo album, “Play My Game”, landed at position No. 66 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. The CD was released via SPV/Steamhammer. The offering consisted of around a dozen brand-new tracks that Owens composed himself or together with renowned friends, such as Bob Kulick, Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA),Mike Callahan (ex-EARSHOT) and John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, RINGWORM).

Owens is without doubt among the most important metal vocalists of the past 25 years. When he succeeded Rob Halford, joining JUDAS PRIEST in May 1996, the press rubbed their eyes, surprised as well as impressed: Owens had previously been a fairly unknown quantity to international music journalists and only a few new of him from the band WINTERS BANE, but he recorded his first PRIEST album, the Grammy-nominated “Jugulator” (1997) with more aplomb than even insiders had expected. Following successful tours with the British metal legends, the strong studio recording “Demolition” (2001) and the live recordings “Meltdown – 98 Live” (1998) and “Live In London” (2003),and the movie “Rock Star” that was loosely based on Tim‘s experience with JUDAS PRIEST, Halford‘s return put an end to Owens‘s stint with PRIEST. More or less immediately, he was enlisted by Jon Schaffer to team up with ICED EARTH and sang on “The Glorious Burden” in spring 2004. Three years later, Owens followed suit with the ICED EARTH album “Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt. I)”, which succeeded the self-titled highly praised debut by his own band BEYOND FEAR. Spring 2008 saw Owens move on to join one of the world’s best guitar players Yngwie Malmsteen, debuting with a sensational vocal performance on “Perpetual Flame”.

Owens is currently the frontman of KK’S PRIEST, featuring fellow former JUDAS PRIEST member K.K. Downing.


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