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Though they were widely ignored by both press and public during their original early-'90s existence, Akron, OH's Winter's Bane achieved an unexpected taste of cult fame some time after their demise, when their singer, Tim "Ripper" Owens, was chosen to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest. First formed in 1991 by guitarist Lou St. Paul, Winter's Bane also included Dennis Hayes on bass and Terry Salem on drums at the time they recorded their debut album, Heart of a Killer, for Massacre Records in 1993. But though it was a carefully constructed conceptual work, marrying the band's passion for classic heavy metal with an obvious fixation on serial killers, the album fared poorly enough that Owens soon decided to quit and focus his energies on a far more lucrative parallel gig with a Judas Priest tribute band. What happened next -- Owens' unlikely selection by Priest to replace long-gone singer Rob Halford in 1997 -- was of course amazing enough to inspire a movie, though 2001's Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Anniston, was only remotely accurate to the true story. But Owens' good fortune was also motivation enough for St. Paul (now singing himself) and Hayes to re-form Winter's Bane and record a new album entitled Girth, with new members David Hayes (guitar) and Todd Bertolette (drums). This quick cash-in attempt didn't convince many metalheads, however, and Winter's Bane broke up once again, presumably for good, shortly thereafter. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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