Ripper – Third Witness

Third Witness
Released 14th April 2015
Heavy Metal
Released via Black Widow Records

‘Third Witness’ is the third album from the American heavy metal band Ripper. The band was originally formed back in 1977 but they didn’t release anything until their first self-titled demo in 1985, followed by their debut album ‘..And the Dead Shall Rise’ a year later. They split up during the ’90s and re-formed again in 2005. This release includes a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ featuring Steve Sylvester (Death SS) as a guest vocalist

This is my first encounter with Ripper… After some research I learned that they’re an old heavy metal band from Houston, Texas; not the speed/punk act from Portland and that they use horror themes in both their lyrics and imagery. Prior to starting this review I also had a look at some of their band pictures which reminded me of rock artists such as KISS, Alice Cooper and to some extent Black Sabbath. So that’s the influences figured out, now onto the music…

We’re off to a good start with good old school heavy metal guitar riffs, mid-paced drumming and clear, story-telling vocals. Yet unlike most classic heavy metal bands, Ripper’s music has this unpolished, abrasive feel to it. Their songs have a certain eerie quality to them as though they were recorded in some creepy dungeon or cellar, hidden deep in the woods. Take Morphinia for instance, there’s very faint sound of creepy, ghost movie -style keyboards in the intro and the relatively simple but highly effective, haunting lines of the chorus. Even the guitars have a certain Gothic horror tinge to them.

Yet that’s not all what this album has to offer. It also has some catchy, guitar-driven tracks such as Cryptonight which made me think of Mercyful Fate’s ‘Melissa’ album for some reason. Luckily their singer’s voice is not as squeaky as that of King Diamond. Then we come to the closing song, a Black Sabbath cover, which stays true to the original. I can see why they want to use another singer for this, as Steve Sylvester’s voice is much more similar to Ozzy Osbourne’s. The “crunching”guitar work is pretty good too.

In summary, this has been a pleasant first encounter with Ripper. As far as classic heavy metal bands go, they may not be as renowned as Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. So, if you like heavy metal with a touch of Gothic horror then you should give ”Third Witness’ a try.

Iza Raittila

One Response to “Ripper – Third Witness”

  1. Le gentili parole sono molto apprezzati, grazie!

    Rob Graves

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