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Beyond Fear - "Beyond Fear" (CD)

Beyond Fear - "Beyond Fear" CD cover image

"Beyond Fear" track listing:

1. Scream Machine (5:33)
2. And...You Will Die (3:53)
3. Save Me (3:46)
4. The Human Race (3:36)
5. Coming At You (3:14)
6. Dreams Come True (4:42)
7. Telling Lies (3:21)
8. I Don't Need This (3:30)
9. Words Of Wisdom (3:47)
10. My Last Words (3:24)
11. Your Time Has Come (4:49)
12. The Faith (3:38)

Reviewed by on August 28, 2008

"Owens is clearly the center piece of the album and really showcases his full talent."

Beyond Fear is a band that is intended to act as Tim "Ripper" Owens' (famed from stints with Judas Priest and Iced Earth and now currently of Yngwie J. Malmsteen) solo project and eventually to become his main band. 2006's self-titled debut, "Beyond Fear" was recorded by Owens and company between Iced Earth releases.

Vocally, "Beyond Fear" is exactly what you would expect from "The Ripper." Owens is clearly the center piece of the album and really showcases his full talent. From clean singing, powerful falsetto, and even a few lower range growls thrown in too, Owens does a little bit of everything.

Musically, "Beyond Fear" possesses a unique blend of both modern and traditional elements. Usually when I hear the term "modern metal," my first instinct is to cringe and engage in purist "true" metal banter. The main modern (a.k.a. -core) elements are a few breakdowns, guitars tuned to drop D, and some palm muted single note triplets. The simple triplet riffs are usually backed by a melody/harmony line or power chords, so they act as more of a rhythmic backbone rather than a redundant deathcore's rotten meat and stale potatoes.

Stylistically, there is a clear Judas Priest and Iced Earth influence. "Scream Machine" is the kind of material that I was hoping for on "Jugulator" and "Demolition." The drum intro kicking off "My Last Words" is very "Painkiller"-esque. There is also a Lamb of God vibe in the verse riff of "Your Time Has Come" before developing into a completely different song. The Iced Earth influence reflects in many of the harmonies, vocal effects and some song structures.

Another positive is the production of this album. The high quality production really captures "The Ripper" at his finest and brings out his best qualities. The guitar tone is great throughout as well.

The biggest downfall is by far the lyrics. Some of them are so bad that they almost ruin songs, regardless of excellent music and outstanding vocal work. With the exception of "Scream Machine," the lyrics are particularly vague and meaningless with many sounding like a random thoughts.

Tim "Ripper" Owens possesses an all around metal voice with great range and diversity. The songs are well written and stay with the listener. Despite the horrible lyrics and a few modern elements that detract from the music as a whole, Beyond Fear delivers a solid debut.

I would recommend this album to fans of Judas Priest, Owens-era Iced Earth, and traditional metal and power metal subgenres.

Highs: "Scream Machine", The Ripper

Lows: Terrible lyrics, some breakdowns and overly simple riffs.

Bottom line: "Beyond Fear" is a solid album with plenty of guitar solos, harmonies, melodies and an excellent vocalist.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)