Beyond Fear

Beyond Fear

When it comes to movies, gimme horror; when it comes to food, gimme gyro; when […]
By Orpheus Spiliotopoulos
March 27, 2006
Beyond Fear - Beyond Fear album cover

When it comes to movies, gimme horror; when it comes to food, gimme gyro; when it comes to clothes, gimme a pair of blue jeans and a dark t-shirt; when it comes to alcohol, gimme a beer or some whiskey; when it comes to music... gimme Heavy screaming Metal! What's better than having to review a release featuring a vocalist whose screaming gives me the Heavy Metal boner from hell, in the exact same way Rob Halford (Judas Priest), John K. (Biomechanical), Ralph Scheepers (Primal Fear) and a few others only do?
It all started a long time ago, in a town called Akron, in Ohio. Young Tim Ripper Owens (click on the link to read an interview Ripper gave me back in 2001), frontman of local acts such as British Steel (Judas Priest cover band), Braincide, U.S. Metal and (of course) Winter's Bane, ended up fronting one of Metal's most significant giants, Judas Priest, in 1997 (Jugulator) and raised interest globally with his exceptional skills. Though Ripper didn't remain the British Metal Gods' frontman for more than 2 albums (Jugulator and Demolition - 1997 and 2001 respectively), the red carpet was well spread before him and his course towards success was already paved. It was not long before U.S. guitar shred-machine John Schaffer recruited him for Iced Earth and released The Glorious Burden in 2004. But a music persona like Ripper surely had way more to give than just scream his guts out on every record that he participated. Unfortunately, being in Judas Priest and Iced Earth let little space for Tim to show what he was fully capable of, when it came to writing/composing songs. So, what was the next logical step? In 2005, Ripper along with John Comprix (13 Faces, Spawn) on guitar, Dennis Hayes (Winter's Bane, Seven Witches) on bass and Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Iced Earth, Spastic Ink) on drums, formed Beyond Fear. That was a dream come true for Tim and this was his chance to prove to the world that he's not just another scream machine but beyond that, a world of creation.
And that brings us up to date - oh well, with a minor replacement behind the drums (Eric Elkins replaced Jarzombek who left the band to go join Sebastian Bach) - and here I am, reviewing Beyond Fear's debut, same titled album. Blown away by the massive attack (no pun intended) from what you'll hear during the first track, Scream Machine, I felt stunned - to say the least. It felt as if Ripper was reaching out of my speakers, grabbing me by the balls, going hey, fucker, I'm going to shred your pitiful soul to pieces!. Indeed, it's all there: a massive production (in the likes of the latest Nevermore album), killer shredding (the way Heavy Metal's meant to be), fast double bass drumming and of course Ripper's hellfire-breathing vocals! So, you've got a guy like me all psyched, pressing the repeat button on this song over and over again. What do you do next? Well, surely you'd try to keep my interest on a high level, right? Not quite.
The quite mediocre And...You Will Die came along to sooth my excitement a bit. It's not that it's a bad track but when you've got a KILLER track like the first one and you follow it up by a really less exciting song, it's like a buzz killer to me. I know, it happens, so on with the rest of the songs. Save Me, full of Tim's screaming, heavy and should I say catchier, set the record straight for what I was about to hear furthermore on this release. An album with a few mediocre compositions and a few indeed kick-ass songs. Thus where And... You Will Die, Coming At You, Dreams Come True, I Don't Need This and The Faith failed to impress me, Scream Machine, Save Me, The Human Race, Telling Lies, Words Of Wisdom, My Last Words and Your Time Has Come shoved a shotgun up my ass and opened fire without the slightest remorse.
You see, my dear readers, what's good about all this is the fact that Ripper's worst isn't bellow mediocrity. What does that mean? It means that if Beyond Fear sounds fairly ok to your ears then what you should expect by this band will surely always be worth the wait.
I had been looking forward to this release for quite some time now. The feeling after listening to the album for the 100th time is: there's a ton of Death/Hardcore/Thrash/Black Metal out there. But where do all that root to? Thank goodness, there are musicians like Ripper and bands like Beyond Fear who are here to remind people... it's all about Heavy Metal!

7 / 10


"Beyond Fear" Track-listing:

Scream Machine   
And...You Will Die   
Save Me   
The Human Race   
Coming At You   
Dreams Come True   
Telling Lies   
I Don't Need This   
Words Of Wisdom   
My Last Words   
Your Time Has Come   
The Faith

Beyond Fear Lineup:

Tim Ripper Owens - Vocals
Eric Elkins - Drums
John Comprix - Guitars
Dennis Hayes - Bass

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