Glenn Tipton - Baptism of Fire (Atlantic) 1997
As an original member of heavy metal forefathers Judas Priest, Tipton has dazzled fans and musicians alike with his aggressive yet melodic guitar playing and his unique staccato picking style. His solo album, recorded in the interim between Halford and "Ripper," displays a wide range of styles including blues, classical, thrash, and of course, traditional British heavy metal. I'm sure what made this type of project so appealing to Tipton was that he was able to work in formats not common to Priest, such as the stellar rendition of the Rolling Stones "Paint It Black" and the majestic instrumental "Baptizm of Fire". There are some Judas Pries like numbers as well such as the opener "Hard Core." Overall, not as spectacular as some of Priest's best, but better than others. A solid solo disc from a metal legends with tons of guests musicians helping him out.
1. "Unknown Soldier"
Proving once again the idiocy of label executives, this solo album was recorded in 1996 and shelved when Glenn's label suggested he make his solo album with younger, more modern-minded musicians. According to the liner notes, "When I approached Atlantic regarding my first solo album, the majority of the songs featured Cozy Powell on drums and John Entwistle on bass guitar, the label liked the material but suggested the line-up was a little old school." Morons! It's not old school, these guys were living legends at the time. Of, course since that time both John Entwisted (The Who) and Cozy Powell (Rainbow, Black Sabbath) have passed on. So aside from label politics, what of the music? Well, "Edge of the World" is a solid hard rock album with some slight heavy metal leanings. The keyboards, perfomed by Don Airey (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, MSG), are as up front as the guitars in many songs, so this may be a detractor for many metalheads. As for me, I really enjoyed this more melodic side to Glenn's writing. As a matter of fact, I enjoy this CD quite a bit more than "Baptizm of Fire". As would be expected by a recording from Glenn, the music is fairly upbeat and heavy. However, there are some more somber moments, such as the acoustic guitar led "Searching" or the melodic, guitar-solo filled "Crime of Passion". Glenn isn't a bad vocalist, reminding me slightly of guys like Joe Perry and Ace Frehley with that "can't sing, don't care, it's only rock and roll" attitude. If people can remember that this is a solo project that is intended to be very different from Glenn's main band, I think they will find a very enjoyable hard rock CD. If anyone is expecting Judas Priest, you will be disappointed.