Tim "Ripper" Owens Play My Game

When guitarists create solo albums, there's an ungodly amount of wankery. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a shock that when a singer writes their foray into similar territory the songs are crafted with vocal lines in mind over anything else. Such is the case with former Judas Priest/Iced Earth screecher Tim "Ripper" Owens' Play My Game. It focuses more on vocal pyrotechnics and the occasional guitar wank than ensuring the songs are well crafted and enduring. Looking to broadcast his dynamic range and crispness, Owens soars and bellows his way through a wealth of mid-tempo tunes that feel closer to hard rock than the heavy metal he's renowned for. Still, while there is nary a gritty, unforgettable tune here one must admit that Owens' abilities are beyond impressive. Throaty like Halford, yet with the rasp of Accept, he is stunning, most notably on "The Cover Up," a tune Dio would beg to perform. However, even with his inimitable prowess the backing music's mediocrity and questionable lyrics leave Play My Game wanting. (SPV)