‘War of Words’- Fight

A project of Rob Halford’s after departing from Judas Priest, Fight released their debut record ‘War of Words’ in 1993. This new project of Halford’s represented a shift in musical dynamics from the legendary Priest. Sounding much more modern and possessing far less classical, overarching bombast than that band, Fight were a deliberate attempt on Halford’s part to put a stamp on the down and dirty, gritty sound of ’90s metal. Perhaps oddly enough, Halford’s soaring vocals are able to maintain a level of believability inside of this context. No matter how well things may or may not have worked on this record is an interesting debate, but no matter the verdict, this short-lived project would ultimately become just a little showing on Halford’s resume.

The opening track on the record is “Into the Pit” and seemingly exists as a greeting card to Halford’s newest excursion. Does it work? Well, the monstrosities of its urgency certainly want you to believe so. Halford sounds just as vibrant as at any previous time in his career, as if this was ever in question. The band show off the fact that they were quite diverse on “Life in Black”, which ultimately serves to show that the band were looking to be something more than just a one-off Halford project. The undisputed highlight of the record, though, is “Immortal Sin”, a song that is full of the typically gothic vibes that were present throughout the early-’90s musical scene as a whole, popular culture as a whole. This song, with its metallic inhibition, easily creates an image of the neo-noir, German expressionism-influenced works that were so persistent throughout this time period (films like ‘Batman’ and ‘The Crow’, for example). Fortunately for the overall strength of this record, Halford is clearly quite aware of the unique position that he maintains in the lore of heavy metal. He knows his strengths and he knows exactly how to articulate them every outing in order to keep things fresh and luscious for the listeners. The Metal God does indeed invoke God-like imagery with every shriek and howl he unleashes into this record’s musical offering.

For Judas Priest fans, there is much to cherish on this record. For newcomers to the metal scene, who may not be quite as in tune with the classical underlying of the genre’s illustrious past, there might still be something attractive within these unholy musical passages. There is quite a heavy dosage of dystopic, neo-noir imagery here, which is something that is intrinsically in sync with the context of the ’90s by which it exists. This record doesn’t quite sound like a Judas Priest record, because it isn’t quite a Judas Priest record. The main downside to this record is that the second half of the record tends to drag on a bit. What’s unclear about this unfortunate fact is whether this is due to Halford’s recognizing that he might be out of his element or whether the band just played it too safely and dropped the ball. For my money, it isn’t due to any conception of Halford’s. Nevertheless, the first half of this record provides some real gem moments from the early-’90s heavy metal scene. Many people were of (and still are) the opinion that heavy metal suffered a death in the ’90s and, although there many be certain areas in which there is slight truth to this, it’s certainly far from an absolute truth. Take a ride with the Metal God as he shows you. Well, at least on the first half of the record. Even a God can’t be perfect all the time, right?

3.5/5

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