Yesterday, I discovered that I’m on Twitter. And so I took to Twitter and made some pretty lame updates, as I’m wont to do. I tweeted YouTube videos that I think are better than the new Ihsahn record (Helloween‘s “Mr. Torture,” Dr. Dre‘s “Deeeez Nuts,” and Meat Loaf‘s epic “Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are“). Then I started listening to Iced Earth. Here’s what I said:

This got Peter Carnbro—a loyal reader and all around excellent golfer—to respond in defense of Iced Earth:

I responded to this in a style entirely consistent with Twitter, the Internet, and frankly, my moniker; that is, in a levelheaded and entirely reasoned, non-hyperbolic way.

If all of this Tweet embedding bullshit works like it’s supposed to, you’ll notice that tweet has a single, solitary retweet (that’s what it’s called when you share someone’s status on Twitter): by one @TimRipperOwens.

Fair enough. Obviously, the guy was taking it in good humor… right? Well, here’s the deal. Firstly, I had tweeted this as a reply to Hr. Carnbro, which means that people following me wouldn’t have seen it in their feeds. Instead, it appears that Ripper Owens was just searchin’ the Twitterz, lookin’ up what people were saying about him, and just stumbled upon my obscure little conversation. Secondly, he then retweeted it to his fans. So while he “took it in good humor,” he actually sicced his not-particularly-bright fans on me. There were two reactions that can be summed up as “You don’t have enough knowledge and therefore are wrong,” and “YER GAY!” Here’s a sampling of those.

Though, my personal favorite was actually this one, which was really funny:

My opinions about Ripper Owens have never been a secret. I don’t think he’s a good vocalist. I reviewed Charred Walls of the Damned back in 2010 and this is what I said about him there:

I have a bit of a grudge against this guy, and it’s not because of the fact that he replaced any big vocalists. I gave him a chance in both Judas Priest and Iced Earth and I have come to a conclusion: he was never meant for a vocal life beyond cover bands. His voice is thin and his tone is really frustrating, but most of all his phrasing is really terrible and he borders on torturous because his vibrato is so wide that he goes flat, so his harmonies just send shudders up my spine. He is not the dude who should be doing vocals on this record and it is an absolute shame.

So I have good news for fans of Ripper Owens, which there are some out there, this is unequivocally the best project he’s ever been involved with. […] If, however, you’re like me you will feel a great sense of grief coupled with anger every time he opens his mouth. Because instead of adding power to the arrangements and making this record what it should be, he basically adds a generally frustrating, tuneless siren over every song. […] I personally can’t fathom why anyone would ever use him as a vocalist.

This has never been in question. I have never been impressed with Ripper’s voice and as I said in a tweet yesterday:

I think it’s actually really funny that a guy whose entire career is built on the fact that he’s an amazing Rob Halford impersonator has fans that find “smoking pole” to be a deeply discrediting act. And the fact that the dude was trolling Twitter for mentions of himself just makes me have to laugh. I’m sure that other people have seen mean shit I’ve written about them (I think the best example is when the main guy from Periphery crashed the comment thread on my review of their last record); but most people have the good sense to shut up. But, no, in pure form for a “rank amateur,” Ripper Owens retweeted the hyperbolic critique of him so that his fans could call me a fag.

I should have it noted: I have listened to almost every record that Ripper has performed on and I stand by my initial judgements on his talent and suitability for being a professional vocalist in heavy metal. The guy has a great wail, but he’s a one trick pony. His wail is a hammer and every song he’s ever seen is a nail. His phrasing is terrible, his tone is bad, and his vibrato… good god, his vibrato is painful.

Anyway, Ripper, the first rule of politics is never punch down. It makes you look small.

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  • HOW CAN ANYONE TAKE ALL-CAPS COMMENTS SERIOUSLY???

    • MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE ALL MY COMMENTS IN CAPS SO THAT NO ONE KNOWS IF I’M JOKING OR NOT!

      • Nick Maestas

        I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT!!!

        • RonBurgundy

          I see what you did there….

          • Nick Maestas

            Hahaha well it’s good someone appreciates! Ron Burgundy hahaha

  • Petter Carnbro

    Woohooo I’m famous I made AMG I’m famous!!!11

    • I think you mean Infamous. Either way, now you can date Kim K!!!

  • Steve

    That’s pretty funny. Not a huge fan of his but i’m in Pete’s camp. Also, try to find a live version of Dracula with Ripper singing, awesome.

    • Petter Carnbro

      He owned the screaming parts, but is as terrible as Halford when it comes to ’emotional’ vocals.

      • Yeah, he’s got no feel. Like I said: wail = hammer. EVERY SONG EVER = nail.

  • HohenheimOL

    Oh, this is just the beginning. Just wait until the day a review of yours gets noticed on Reddit. Then you’re in for it.

  • Jordan Campbell

    The Trilogy re-recording was an abomination.

  • Christofer

    Don´t care about Ripper but the first couple of albums by Iced Earth are really good.

    • I like Iced Earth with Barlow for the most part. I actually think that the earliest Iced Earth stuff is really mediocre and they get better when Barlow joins. Even Horror Show is good.

      • Christofer

        Ok, maybe the first s/t isnt really that good but I think that Night of the Stormrider is one hell of an album and I really like John Greelys vocals. But yeah, Barlow is the main man. Iced Earth just insn’t the same without him.

  • Alexandre Ferland

    Yep, totally have to agree here. Ripper Owens gargles my balls. One of the worst vocalists that somehow multiple bands wanted to work with in all of metal.

  • Jay Alan Goodwin

    Man, I missed that Periphery review…I’m going to search for it right now for the lols.

  • Antoine Roth

    Hahaha, awesome (and pretty pathetic of course). About Iced Earth, I agree that the Barlow albums are their best outputs, and I would say there are a few very good tracks on each. Slave to the Dark is particuarly awesome.

  • Stefano Kevin Prince Vitali

    My feelings about Iced Earth are mixed… While Barlow was a beast, making every song he sang awesome as hell, the tunes weren’t so good. Some of them, roughly the ones that made their way to the Alive In Athens record, were top of the notch material, while the majority of the others fell in the mediocre heap. From Horror Show on, the quality of the songwriting has dipped some more, and Ripper is not guilty of this. That said, I find his vocals flat and generic.

  • Mark

    WTF do people have against an honest opinion? I don’t always agree, but the honest, detailed critique is what keeps me coming back here. Some people drink too much douche water. You can tell ‘cos all they can come back with is F U, or some insult about your mom.

  • Martin L

    I dunno, for a guy who says Ripper shouldn’t be wasting his time on this, you sure seem fixated on him and wasting more time with your criticism and blow-by-blow reenactment. It really looks like you’re trying too hard here.

    Newsflash: Queensryche, Voivod… and plenty of other musicians keep an eye on what’s going on on the web and whether people are talking about them. Is it really that surprising?