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Have you ever tried waking up after a hard drinking session and having regrets for something you did last night? Most likely you have. Ever tried waking up, seeing an album with your name on it, and realize you've just released an album under your name, and it's complete garbage? I bet not, but Glenn Tipton has. At least I'd like to think that he didn't do it on purpose.
Having heard the song 'Baptizm Of Fire' on an online radio, I was very exited to get this album. That song kicks so much ass, even Lovecraft wouldn't be able to descripe it. I was exited like a kid at christmas, being able to hear that song on my stereo, and whatever awesomeness he had also written. The first song, I tried convincing myself that this was so crappy, just to make me appreciate the song 'Baptizm Of Fire' more. The first song, Hard Core, has the most crappy chorus I have ever heard, sounding like an unethusiastic zombie longing for Hard Core rather than brains. Glenn Tipton saying "Hard...Core...Hard...Core" over and over again is so awful, it's basically become the theme song in my nightmares. Yes, I said saying, not singing. Distorted voice does not make singing.
Next song, a cover of The Rolling Stones' Paint it Black, is actually one of the only songs worthwhile listening to (Baptizm Of Fire being the other). I got my hopes high again, but they dropped down like the amount of dodobirds during the 17th century. I had a hard time appreciate the song 'Baptizm Of Fire', because my hopes of an awesome album was destroyed so merciless. I mean, it's Tipton for science sake, how can he let me down like that? How a person from Judas Priest, Judas fucking Priest, managed to write such crap is beyond me. And why on earth did he insist on doing the vocals? This album could be a lot better if it wasn't for they had a vocalist who needs distortion in order to be listenable.
Another typical sign of an alternative solo project, is the difference among the songs. We have the song 'Baptizm Of Fire', which is one of the best instrumentals you'll ever hear, to 'Kill Or Be Killed', which sounds like an attempt at being thrashy, whereafter alternative jumped in and assasinated what could have been a good song, to the whiny ballad that is 'Left For Dead', with a failed attempt of creating a guitarsolo to go along with the singing.
To Glenn's credit, it's obvious that he is still a skilled guitarist. But every good riff to come out of his brain, gets murdered brutally by alternativeness. Yes, there's a good riff every now and then, but it doesn't make up for all the awful ones.
Don't buy this, it's the typical artist in a large and famous band goes solo to get all the rejected crap out. Bruce Dickinson did it on a couple of his, Geezer did it, and Ihsahn is doing it. It's all the same, they came forward with their ideas to their main band, they were told in return that it was basically diarrhea disguised as an idea, and these confused people end up putting all the diarrhea on a solo project.
This CD is not bad, nor is it that good really. Glenn is not a stellar vocalist (though not impossible to listen to) but he lacks any form of real character. The lyrics on this are better than the lyrics on Jugulator and often better than the lyrics on Demolition even. Though, what the hell was he thinking when he penned the words to "Hard Core"? What a terrible idea. An old man writing in veiled terms about pornography. Yeah, whatever. The riffs, solos and song structures make this listenable in parts though. The "all-star" backing cast means nothing as they don't really add or subtract to the mix, but this has some classic Tipton here and there and thats more than most Ripper-era Priest can say. This record is also well produced, but who cares? The best is only "ok" and the worst is just silly. If you are a Priest fanatic you need to purchase this, if not - move along. In the end, you imagine this being the warm up for a Priest album and not something that really stands on its own. It's a classic case of a mans shadow meaning far more than the body that is casting it.
Glenn Tipton's only solo album is very different from any Priest stuff, and is a very interesting release indeed. It has a lighter vibe than late Priest material, both in songwriting and production, and the sound is in general quite commercial. This is some really strange heavy metal - it's strange, but metal - filled with tons of groove, and some notable rock influences, and also some definite touches of Jugulator every once in a while.
The most interesting part about this, however, is that Glenn does the vocal work, and he does it very well. He has a deep, fairly rough and extremely groovy voice and a cleaner and fairly high voice, and sings in every way in between the two. It took me ages to get into his voice, and the entire album in fact, but it was definitely worth it.
The guitarwork again is nothing like Priest, except with the occasional screeching Jugulator styled riff (and you can see that Demolition got a few ideas from here, too). Like I've said, it is insanely groovy and catchy, which is the strongest side of the album. And his bizarre but incredibly cool voice also add to this.
But fear not, seeker of heavy riffs, for you'll find those as well. Just take a look at Kill Or Be Killed and especially Fuel Me Up, whose vers riff could easily be taken for thrash with different vocals and production.
And there's some other extremely talented musicians on here, most notably none other than the legendary Cozy Powell, who handles drums on a few of the tracks here (Extinct, title track and The Healer). Billy Sheehan and C.J. De Vilar also lays done some wicked basswork, which is just perfectly loud in the mix.
Everyone's least favourite Trujilo also handles bass on some of the material here, and while he's not completely worthless, he's by far the weakest bassist on here, and shall be spoken of no more.
How about the actual songs? It's a very consistent album, and while there isn't really anything absolutely mindblowing there isn't a single song that stands out as weak or sub-par. From the first to last track, everything is completely solid.
There are, however, some that stands out as being exceptionally cool. First off the above midpaced and insanely groovy Hard Core, featuring some killer riffs and the best vocal work on the album, when he goes up and down from his lower to higher voice in practically every single vocal line, and it sounds excellent. And the lyrics own you, too.
Enter The Storm is a slower song with a whole bunch of time changes. Mainly, there are the acoustic verses and that monstrous chorus section- Holy motherfucking crap, that riff is heavy! Do not mistake for brutal, fast or aggressive- just plain heavy.
Baptizm of Fire is an instrumental song, except for that short spoken part in the middle. Lots of great instrumentation on this one. Killer drum intro, monstrous riffs that for the most part get heavily backed up by the powerful bass, and even a really cool church organ part is to be found.
Kill or be Killed is probably the heaviest song on here, with some excellent riffwork as the standout factor- that shredding, high-pitched riff at about 2:00 is something that could've been taken right from Jugulator. And this song also features some killer lyrics. "The pacifist won't last- his view means nothing." Hell yeah.
And of course, we have the acoustic Left For Dead, which has some instrument sounding more like a banjo than anything else. Still, it is extremely cool, and features another great set of lyrics. The chorus melody is also very infectious, like on many other songs found on Baptizm of Fire.
Yeah, so these are the highlights. But like I said, there is nothing bad to be found here, and I'd definitely recommend this. However, you might wanna give it a few listens, because it's pretty strange and takes some time getting into.