"Baptizm of Fire" (Atlantic; 1997 / 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Many Judas Priest fans were disappointed when lead singer Rob Halford left the band to pursue a new style. Not only was Judas Priest being broken up, but Halford's new stuff was more extreme than Priest fans were accustomed to. Halford's next projects, including Fight and Two, were met with less than spectacular fan reaction, despite being decent offerings.

Those same disappointed Priest fans would probably be happier with Glenn Tipton's 1997 solo outing, "Baptizm of Fire." "Baptizm of Fire" stays closer to the original Priest sound than, say, Fight's "War of Words." It's got the big riffs, the blistering solos and the heavy but not over-the-top power that Priest fans were used to. On this CD, Tipton's guitar is king and he makes no bones about it. Neither do we. As always, it sounds great, especially on the haunting title track.

While Tipton may be one of metal's true guitar gods, he's no Halford on vocals. Although perfectly serviceable, Tipton's vocals come nowhere near Halford's legendary metal scream (then again, whose do?). Of course, the songs on "Baptizm" weren't necessarily written with Halford in mind. Still, it's hard not to compare a member of Judas Priest going solo with the real Judas Priest. 

"Baptizm of Fire" is a solid solo record that Tipton probably needed to do, especially since the Ripper-fronted Priest seemed to spend more time thinking about music rather than writing or playing it. Fans of heavy metal and especially Judas Priest should be glad that he did. 

Rhino Records re-released this CD in 2006, completely re-mastered and featuring two bonus tracks: The nearly eight minute epic, "Himalaya," which is reminiscent of "Loch Ness" off of Priest's "Angel of Retribution," and "New Breed," a fast-paced rocker that would have not been out of place on Priest's "Turbo."

Joining Glenn Tipton on "Baptizm of Fire" are such noteworthy musicians as Robert Trujillo, Brooks Wackerman, C.J. de Villar, Shannon Larkin, Billy Sheehan, Cozy Powell, Don Airey, John Entwistle and Whitfield Crane. 

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"Baptizm of Fire" (Atlantic; 1997 / 2006)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Every metalhead out there knows who Glenn Tipton is. Maybe not by name but because he was lead guitar for one of the biggest and baddest heavy metal bands on the planet, Judas Priest.

Well, people, this is a solo project and it is called "Baptizm By Fire" and it is one killer release. Glenn, of course, does all the guitar here and he also does the vocals and he does a good job. Who would have thunk that the lead guitarist of Priest has a decent voice, too? (And really, why would you even participate in singing with the legendary pipes of Rob Halford right next door doing what he does).

Right up front I can say that the vocals are good and I mean really good. I am surprised that Glenn did not do at least some of the singing all those years he was with Priest. There are a ton of guest musicians on this CD and, frankly, I donít feel like going through them all (you can check out Wikipedia to research for yourself, if you choose). Lets just say, he used a shit load and keep it at that.

This is the second release I have reviewed that did a cover of the Rolling Stones song "Paint It Black." It's a great song and, if you want to cover it, why the hell not?

"Baptizm of Fire" is hard music, maybe not Judas Priest type hard music and you know what? That's part of what I like about it. The music is deep and more than a bit on the dark side and not at all like Priest that we all know and love. This release took me by surprise. I didn't think I was going to like it. Glenn Tipton singing? Really? The answer to that would be a hearty yes, and he does it very well.

Great release; good music, solid musicians and production value, all in all a highly entertaining heavy music release.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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