Finally the wait is over; it has taken Fergie and Tommy 3 years to finish this Frederiksen-Denander project. Now you might wonder if the 3 years has been worth the wait? Hell YES, this new album is a stunning piece of work and I must say that this is one of Tommy Denander best works, at least top-3 of all his work. Like always when Tommy puts out a new record he has some well-known guest and so is the case with Baptism By Fire. This time around he has got help from Michael Thompson, Steve Porcaro(Toto), Thomas Vikstrom(Talk Of The Town), Jan Johansen(Ignition), Ricky Phillips(Styx) and Jim Peterik(Pride Of Lions). I think everybody knows Fergie´s early fantastic work with the bands Toto, Trillion, LeRoux and of course his solo album Equilibrium. This man can really pulls out fantastic vocals and he sounds better than ever I must say. The songs are very up-tempo AOR-songs with a tougher sound that we have heard Fergie sing before, but he does it with bravura. As I said this very up-tempo album and there´s not a single ballad on the album. The 12 songs they offer is a fantastic journey that takes you high above the clouds. I think that there are only 2 songs Can´t Get Enough and Dead End that don´t hold the same quality as the rest of the album but they are not bad in any way. Otherwise I could tell you about rest of the songs but that would make this review to long so I will take couple of them. Let Him Go sets the record straight for this album. This is a absolutely freaking huge AOR smasher that will hit you like train and you’re hooked on this song. The sound is so damn tight and melodic with great riffs and when the chorus comes you will sing along. The chorus is nothing but brilliant with big hooks and lovely harmony vocals. What a start for this album. Silver Lining is filled with stunning keyboards with a powerful sound and makes me think of Jim Jidhed´s Full Circle album mixed with Pride Of Lions, yes you can imagine that this is top-class stuff. Written In Stone starts slow but turns out to a awesome rocker with a great pre-chorus before the chorus comes in and takes this song to a higher level, AOR by numbers and listen to Fergie´s vocals, I can only say outstanding. My Saving Grace opens up with powerful harmony vocals and turns out a marvelous rocker where Tommy gets the chance to shine out with his guitar and pulls out great riffs. The chorus is damn catchy with big hook lines and fantastic melodies. Baptism By Fire is another AOR-rocker with huge sound and filled with freakin´pure fantastic melodies and a chorus that will catch your attention for sure, pure class. Never Try To Love Again has a amazing chorus and listen to the wonderful keyboards in it. Here we have an album that every AOR fan has dreamed about with big hook laden songs with catchy choruses and Tommy and Fergie has delivered it.
If you think Radioactive, Jim Jidhed, Mecca and Pride Of Lions is AOR that you want to hear then Baptism By Fire is a album you can´t avoid and if you do that I think that´s a felony. The production is top-notch with and the whole album sounds super tight. This could be the AOR-album of the year and it must be one helluva album to beat Baptism By Fire. Fantastic work guys and don´t makes us wait other 3 years for a follow up!
It´s a decent record, Fergie sings really good and Denander has come up with some nice AOR songs but I don´t like the pro-tools production - listen to Isolation and compare....you will notice the difference.
Money is the issue here, low budget sounding albums is the new thing!
Ooh my god! Do not miss this album. If you are a fan of classic aor, you have to buy this album. This is a super-strong 5 in the ratings. There is not a single bad song on the album. Fergie and Tommy delivers 12 stunning aor master pieces. The production is super and Fergie sings better then ever...!
It´s a must-buy!!