TIM 'RIPPER' OWENS Says 'Heavy Metal Was Almost Nonexistent' During His Time With JUDAS PRIEST

February 25, 2019

Tim "Ripper" Owens says that the albums he made with JUDAS PRIEST feature some of the most diverse vocals of his career.

The Ohio-based singer created two studio LPs with the British heavy metal legends — 1997's "Jugulator" and 2001's "Demolition" — before the band reunited with Rob Halford.

During a brand new interview with "The Metal Command", Owens reflected on the music he produced with PRIEST, saying: "'Demolition', in time, ended up becoming my favorite one I did with them, because there's some of my favorite songs on it, as a whole. But 'Jugulator' is an amazing record. And what I like about it… It was hard to record, because they were like kids in a candy store. Glenn [Tipton, JUDAS PRIEST guitarist] would just say, 'Can you do this?' 'Can you sound like this?' 'Can you sing like this?' It's got all the way from death metal undertones that I'm singing underneath — death metal to the high notes. It's funny, because people don't realize this — it probably has one of the biggest ranges of vocals on it that I've done on a record, because of that… And ICED EARTH had a wide range as well, but the only one that has never been put as much on a record until maybe BEYOND FEAR was the hard, PANTERA, death metal kind of voice. Glenn loved it, man. He would just always push me and push me and push me: 'Do this.' 'Cause he knew I could do it. I had a different type of range that I had [and] different voices that I could sing."

Owens continued: "It was a great time and great records. One of my favorite songs of all time was 'Blood Stained'. And then to come back and do songs like 'Hell Is Home' and 'One On One'. 'One On One', there's those death metal undertones in. The studio version is fantastic, when I go back and listen to it, 'cause it has that… I always said it needed to be a song that a wrestler or a boxer would be coming into a ring with."

Tim also defended "Jugulator" and "Demolition" against criticism over the albums' commercial performance. No longer on a major label, changing attitudes in the music scene towards heavy metal found PRIEST playing mostly to smaller venues with a scaled-down stage set.

"It was a different singer, different time," Tim said. "First of all, heavy metal was almost nonexistent at that time. No bands — AC/DC; I don't care who you were — you weren't playing arenas, first of all. It was bad. It was a really bad part of metal, that time. But those records, to me, are amazing."

In a 2016 interview with StrikeCanal, Owens defended himself against accusations by some JUDAS PRIEST fans of changing the band's sound to a more brutal, modern direction on "Jugulator". He explained: "Every record JUDAS PRIEST puts out is different. I mean, 'Nostradamus' sounds nothing like JUDAS PRIEST ever wrote, ever. 'Turbo' sounded nothing like JUDAS PRIEST. You know, JUDAS PRIEST changes. They wrote 'Painkiller', and 'Jugulator' was a transition; it was kind of following what was going on."

He continued: "You've gotta remember, JUDAS PRIEST always went with the times a little bit. Glenn started playing arpeggios. PANTERA was really big [at the time]. [On the] 'Painkiller' [tour], they toured with PANTERA; PANTERA opened for JUDAS PRIEST. 'Painkiller' was a heavy record, and this was a natural progression. The difference is I probably had a few more different layers to my voice that they could tap into — some deeper, death metal kind of undertones to do backups and some different types of voices that they might be able to try. But it was JUDAS PRIEST."

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