Released: 2006, Rhino
About 10 years ago, after Atlantic Records sent Glenn Tipton back to the drawing board upon hearing the recordings of Tipton, Entwistle, & Powell (EDGE OF THE WORLD) Glenn shot back with BAPTIZM OF FIRE. Surrounded by such players as bassists Billy Sheehan, (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies), John Entwistle (The Who), C.J. De Villar, drummers Brooks Wackerman (Bad 4 Good), Shannon Larkin (Ugly Kid Joe), Cozy Powell (Rainbow, Sabbath, etc), and Glenn did all guitars and vocals. The album was released in 1996, and is much heavier than EDGE OF THE WORLD. For 2006, BAPTIZM OF FIRE has been re-issued with just two bonus tracks.
While the album is heavier, its overall memorability is not much more then it’s previously unreleased predecessor. For having all these world-class players on board, people expected something more from this solo album. Some looked for a Priest album considering that this came out at a time when the band was on hiatus and their very future was often in question. What we got was a fairly mediocre collection of songs that did not make much of an impact. Easily, the strongest track on the CD is the instrumental title track “Baptizm of Fire” which sounds very much like it could have been a Priest leftover. The lead playing on this one also stands out as does the driving drums. “Kill or Be Killed”, “Enter The Storm” and “Fuel Me Up” are some of the album’s better moments, but like with everything else on here…PAINKILLER this is not! The cover for “Paint it Black” is done really well with a metal makeover. Glenn’s vocals are also a bit better on here then on the aforementioned solo album. He sings with a bit more force and aggression which works better for his vocals since he doesn’t have a huge range. Unfortunately, the 2 bonus tracks do not make this album a must buy for anyone who already has it.
The magic that Tipton plays a big role in creating in Priest does not find its way onto BAPTIZM OF FIRE. That magic is the output of the combined players, and is near impossible to recreate. I’m left questioning, would I of liked this more if I didn’t know who it was, or the is the amount I like it influenced by the fact that someone form one of my favorite bands is involved? You be the judge….