GLENN TIPTON – Baptizm Of Fire (1997, 2006 reissue)
One cool thing about working in a record store: I actually bought this album 3 times. Essentially, I bought it once and the other two times were upgrades! When it first came out in 1997, I ordered in three copies — one for myself, and one each for my regular customers Len and Shane. Then another regular, Conrad, traded in the Japanese version. I upgraded mine, trading it in and paying the slight difference. Then in 2006 when the remastered edition came out (with the addition of the bonus track “New Breed”), I traded up once more, this time getting some money back for my Japanese printing. All for an album I don’t even like that much!
In fact, if this album came out today, without my staff discounts, most likely I would have skipped it. Back then though, things were very different. Priest was seemingly on ice since 1991. There wasn’t a new Priest album to look forward to. Halford’s most recent solo material (Fight’s A Small Deadly Space) had failed to excite me the way his debut album had. Now it was now up to Glenn to carry the Priest flag for me, and I eagerly ordered three copies of his debut solo CD from our distributor, for me and my customers.
The problem with Baptizm of Fire is, sadly, Glenn’s voice. Glenn’s always sung backup vocals with Priest, but as a lead…sorry. I don’t think so. Sounding like an out-of-breath Dave Mustaine, Glenn definitely gives it his all, which just isn’t enough. Not for metal this powerful. You need a soaring vocal to give you a melody to sing along to, not to whisper.
The songs are good enough though. I really liked “Fuel Me Up”, “Hard Core”, and “Extinct”. Back then, mainstream magazines like Rolling Stone treated rockers like Tipton as dinosaurs, better off extinct! Well today, things have changed and they are considered living legends. Such was the 90’s! Tiptop furiously refutes the claim that he was a dinosaur in “Extinct”, one of the best songs on Baptizm Of Fire.
The original Japanese bonus track, “Himalaya” is included on the remaster, a tribute to the Japanese people according to the liner notes on that version of the CD. Well, Glenn, I am really sorry to be the one to break this to you. Japan is nowhere near the Himalayas. I’m not sure I get it. The other bonus track is included, “New Breed” is of unknown origin but I assume from the album sessions.
In fact so much was recorded that there’s a companion album available: Edge of the World, consisting of tracks recorded with the late John Entwistle and Cozy Powell. More outtakes, they were released under the name Tipton, Enwistle & Powell.
Glenn generated some pre-release hype by loading up this album with guests. Besides the aformentioned Entwistle and Powell, there’s also the devastating Billy Sheehan, Rob Trujillo, Neil Murray on bass! Cozy Powell on drums! Don Airey on keys! And Ugly Kid Joe drummer, the excellent Shannon Larkin! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the performances.
Production-wise, this is a little over-processed sounding, a bit like the soon to come Jugulator album by Judas Priest. Tipton had a hand in producing both.
I’m sorry Glenn. I really wanted to love your solo album, but today it sits on a shelf, seldomly played. Sorry man.
- “Hard Core” – 4:39
- “Paint It Black” – 2:56 (yup…Stones cover…and not that good)
- “Enter the Storm” – 5:56
- “Fuel Me Up” – 3:02
- “Extinct” – 5:33
- “Baptizm of Fire” (Instrumental) – 5:16 (one of the best tracks if not the best!)
- “The Healer” – 4:56
- “Cruise Control” – 4:08
- “Kill or Be Killed” – 3:21
- “Voodoo Brother” – 5:36
- “Left for Dead” – 3:45
- “Himalaya” (Bonus track on Japanese and remastered editions)
- “New Breed” (Bonus track on remastered edition)