Winter's Bane - Heart of a Killer
Century Media
Judas Priest meets Megadeth Heavy Metal
Disc 1: 10 songs (49:13) Disc 2: 12 songs (60:31)
Release year: 2000
Winter's Bane, Century Media
Reviewed by Jeff
Archive review

Being that Tim "Ripper" Owens has been in the metal news lately, (between his departure from Judas Priest and his addition to Iced Earth), I felt compelled and obligated to make readers aware of his work prior to the forementioned bands; a work and release that they may not be familiar with......

Winter's Bane was one of the first bands Ripper Owens played with. "Heart of a Killer" was originally released back in 1993 but was re-packaged, re-mastered and re-released in 2000 on the Century Media label as a two disc set.

Vocally, Ripper is a Halford clone. The music is Judas Priest meets Megadeth with a little Annihilator thrown in at times. There are plenty of killer riffs and leads throughout the album.

The first disc contains ten songs. Tracks one through six consist a conceptual story based around the title of the album.

The story begins "Wages of Sin". Judge Cohegan sentences a prisoner accused and convicted of murder, to death. The prisoner pleads that he wasn't there. Cohegan tells him that he's gambled his life away and that it's hard to see the light that shows the way. The prisoner doesn't want to die and threatens to haunt Cohegan from Hell.

During "Blink Of An Eye", Cohegan is ready to witness the execution. He contemplates his decision as godly and not judge-like. As the prisoner is brought in, he breaks free and attacks Cohegan; choking him to unconsciousness. The prisoner is shot dead but vows before his death, "you won't take my soul...judge not or be judged yourself". The incident proves stressful on Cohegan's heart and he is brought to the hospital.

Cohegan's in need of a new heart and the doctor's find a donor at the last minute. The heart comes from the prisoner that was shot; "Heart of a Killer". The doctors know of this and vow never to tell the judge. Cohegan wakes up after the surgery, feeling different as if something is wrong.

Cohegan fears voices from his past in "Horror Glances". They call to him; the victims of the killer's heart. They cannot rest until the heart is dead. Cohegan is reminded of the murders through his own reflection. He feels and sees everything the killer did. He now realizes he has the heart from the killer. Cohegan is now tempted by the killer's heart to end the part of him that still lives on.

Cohegan is now in a tug of war within his mind during " The Silhouette". Cohegan see's a shadow within the house, believing it to wield a knife. So Cohegan reaches in the draw for a gun, shooting at the silhouette. In the end he realized he killed his wife!

"Reflections Within" brings the story full circle. Now Cohegan is ironically in the same predicament as the killer he sentenced to death earlier on. The judge and killer, once one, are executed.

Tracks seven through ten are stand alone songs that close out disc one. "Winter's Bane" is the only instrumental.

Disc two contains unreleased live versions of tracks one through six from disc one (the conceptual "Heart of a Killer" storyline) as well as seven and ten. The performances are as is, no overdubs. Ripper sounds great. The vocals and drums sound a bit louder than the guitars. The quality is average. But there are parts of disc two where there seems to be high distorted screeching within the mastering. Also included are three demo tracks prior to "Heart of a Killer".

As a side note Winter Bane's second release, "Girth" does not include Ripper and is nowhere as good or even close to "Heart of a Killer". The vocals sound like a lame Dave Mustaine and the music is quite boring and predictable.

"Heart of a Killer" is a great album; one much unnoticed and deserves a little more recognition that it gets.


Killing Songs :
Heart of a Killer, Horror Glances, The Silhouette, Winter's Bane, Haunted House
Jeff quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Winter's Bane that we have reviewed:
Winter's Bane - Redivivus reviewed by Mike and quoted 81 / 100
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