Review Summary: One of Rob Halford’s great post-Judas Priest efforts.
It’s safe to say that Rob Halford was at a high point when his metal band, Judas Priest, came through with a super powerful metal album, Painkiller. Where else could he possibly go? To many people’s dismay, he left the band due to suspected tensions with the group. However, where he would go next would be his voyage of discovery into the deeper boundaries of heavy metal. This voyage would become the result of Fight’s debut album, War of Words.
There are so many advantages to what Fight has in War of Words, many of which came from Rob Halford himself. He continues to sell his vocal performance very well and doesn’t sacrifice too much power from his previous work, Painkiller. He seems to have some influence on the other band members as well. Scott Travis, also another Judas Priest member, brings his drumming skills onto this album very positively, which only helps to create a darker, more metal-like sound. Brian Tilse, Jay Jay, and Russ Parish sometimes play like they’re learning from the ways and properties of what Judas Priest was during its Painkiller days, and they also sound good when they play their music.
War of Words wasn’t all about what was from Judas Priest. It was actually, for the most part, about what Fight did. It definitely seems like the music that pre-ran and influenced today’s heavy metal bands. Fight also establishes more methods of metal music to follow and model it in a neat display of power and passion, and fury. Take the time to pay attention to the deeper heavy metal guitars, dirty riffs, impressive solos, and the singing that Halford does. It all tends to reflect what Fight is about.
Fight does a fairly fine job incorporating the concept and the lyrics into the album. The lyrics aren’t too furious sounding, yet they still hold the heavy feel necessary for an album to sound very good. Although there are times when Halford seems like he’s going a little too far, he certainly controls his vocals pretty well. On the other hand, I may miss his high screaming.
Most of the songs on War of Words are overall a great reflection of what metal should be. One piece that represents the album the best is the last song, Reality, A New Beginning. It is immediately welcomed by grinding guitar riffs, heart pounding drum beats, and brilliant vocals. After finishing the first five minutes, there is a long wait of silence. This was a silence that could have been just shortened somewhat, just because after a while it gets boring. But when it seems like forever, then BAM! Fight is back to pounding metal and sends a spinal tap up to your brain through tearing guitar solos. The vocals from here on to the end of the song sound a little bizarre, but in the end, the final track is otherwise a brilliant piece of epic proportions. There should also be some appreciation for a few other great tracks, such as Into the Pit and Nailed To The Gun
In the end, Rob Halford didn’t lose very much. He simply took a different approach at heavy metal and tested it with a different group to see if it worked. In other words, this album feels almost like an experiment. This was an experiment that brought in the several variables and principles, mostly from Judas Priest and many other metal groups. Finally, it was simply just another interpretation of what metal music is about, one that would certainly define the particular genre of the decade. Regardless, this experiment was mostly a success.