Former JUDAS PRIEST and current ICED EARTH/BEYOND FEAR frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens has issued the following update on ICED EARTH's current status:
"Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman] and I spent New Year's Eve together along with our families, and we spent this past weekend together going over a few things! Jon is working on the new ICED EARTH CD and after my promo trip [for the debut album from BEYOND FEAR] in March, I will join him again for a week or so to work on some more material with him. Then I will come home to get ready for the ANTHRAX tour in April."
With regards to Internet rumors regarding his departure from his pre-JUDAS PRIEST band WINTERS BANE, Owens said, "Let me tell you something, I left WINTERS BANE because we were going nowhere and there was some real attitudes in the band. NOT because of money. We didn't make any money and probably sold 500 to 1,000 copies of the CD, which was and the bass player and drummer went with me. I'm happy for Lou [St. Paul, WINTERS BANE guitarist] and maybe someday we'll re-do 'Heart of a Killer' with Jim Morris at the controls, But for now, that's how it is."
On the subject of why WINTERS BANE is rarely mentioned in his magazine interviews, Tim said, "I have talked about WINTERS in interviews, most recently with the Scene mag in Cleveland. I told them that Lou helped with the first logo of BEYOND FEAR, which was real cool, But they didn't put it in their articles. Sorry, but I can't do anything about it! I've always gave WINTERS BANE its props and loved [it] at the time. But it was 15 years ago, and really magazines don't seem to care! I guess I'm also making the old BRAINICIDE fans mad because I don't talk about Dan Johnson and Steve Trent!
"Good luck to Lou and WINTERS BANE. I hope they go out there and get a record deal and are real successful. Lou deserves it. He is a great guitar player."
As previously reported, BEYOND FEAR have been confirmed as the opening act for ANTHRAX on their upcoming European headlining tour. A short audio sample of the track "Scream Machine", taken from BEYOND FEAR's upcoming self-titled debut album, has been posted online at www.timripperowens.com (audio comes on once the page loads).
BEYOND FEAR features in its ranks Owens alongside guitarist John Comprix (SPAWN, 13 FACES),Dennis Hayes (ex-WINTERS BANE, SEVEN WITCHES) on bass, Dwane Bihary (MISSING SKIN) on rhythm guitar, and drummer Eric Elkins (CRYPTKICKER, ALL YOU FEAR).
"Beyond Fear" is scheduled for release on May 9 (one day earlier internationally) via SPV Records. The CD was recorded at the legendary Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida, under the direction of producer Jim Morris. The album consists of fourteen haunting metal numbers, which, according to Owens, "show unmistakably where my musical roots lie: in the classic heavy metal of the Eighties. However, I've transported that traditional metal style into the present, lending it its own touch."