By Andrew Catania
This topic has been raging on for decades ever since Tim joined Judas Priest in 1996 when he was pushed into the front of the legendary metal group.
It was a stroke of good fortune for Tim when he was spotted performing for a Judas Priest tribute band. It was a heavy metal dream that just came true.
Tim Ripper Owens is the living, breathing definition of a ‘rock star’, bringing a fresh look to the band with typical piercings and tattoos that are a telltale feature of someone who’s spent the better half of his life performing for a heavy metal band.
His voice has been described by fans as ‘brutal’ and ‘demonic’, far surpassing the already impressive vocal range of Rob Halford. Although rob pioneered his unique vocal style, it was ultimately Tim who set the defining tone for Judas Priest, almost as if he breathed new life into the brand.
Tim’s voice is a unique blend of a chainsaw rasp and an angle grinder, making for a truly definitive heavy metal experience. Throughout the course of his career at Judas Priest, Tim refined and perfected his technique which was later reproduced by other artists of the genre.
While Rob has been practicing his unique vocals for several years, he is now entering into the ‘twilight’ zone. His performances are impressive for a man who is entering into his 70s, but the occasional quiver or tremble is fast becoming a characteristic trait of his new ‘older’ vocal range. It’s time he retired gracefully.
Today, Halford is the best fit for a role as a trailblazer whose distinguished career continues to inspire thousands of people into the heavy metal genre. It goes without saying, that if it wasn’t for Halford setting the foundation stone, Ripper wouldn’t have ended up with the consistent, polished sound that he is known for today.
If you were to look at things from the perspective of a visionary, Halford was a pioneer, while Tim is an accomplished apprentice who took his ideas and perfected them. In this sense, Tim is a more seasoned singer.
Tim has the definitive, authentic heavy metal voice that brings class and authenticity to the impressive legacy of Judas Priest.
Rob Halford brought a lot more to the table than just his voice. He was simply the better frontman who contributed to the look and feel of Judas Priest.
When Rob Halford has a falling out with his mates, the only person who could realistically carry Judas Priest forward, from a purely business perspective, was Tim. However, Tim’s humble and down-to-earth nature would make him toss aside his love for the band and allow Rob Halford to once more join Judas Priest, at the cost of displacing him.
Tim always described himself as a massive Halford fan and was not happy when the band splintered.
The defining contributions that changed the era of heavy metal were Jugulator and Demolition, and both albums were spearheaded by Tim Ripper Owens. These albums were a change, a welcome one, from the first two Halford albums.