Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fight - War of Words (1993)

After leaving Judas Priest in 1992, Rob Halford wasted no time in getting into his next project, and that project was Fight, a straight up heavy metal band that had influences from the popular bands in those days, like Pantera. Even if this is a completely new band, Rob did not fully leave his history behind him, including some small influences from his former band and adding drummer Scott Travis to the line up. The rest of the guys though were all newcomers, but it should be noted that the first guitarist of this band, Russ "Satchel" Parrish, did eventually go on to be one of the founders of Steel Panther. Oh goodness me...

Fortunately, we do not get any volatile, and juvenile hair metal in "War of Words". Unfortunately, we do not get any blazing speed metal either. Instead, we get a barrage of heavy attitude, and fairly slow songs that has momentum, but still feels awfully sluggish. I wanna give credit to Rob on that he wants to do something new, and not a Judas Priest 2.0, but this almost feels like he is trying to win over the younger generation with this new band. If I was living during that time, I would have hoped for a more experimental album, a album that is an homage to "Sad Wings of Destiny", but nope, just like most famous artists that leaves their well known band, Rob goes more on the safe route.

The album starts of great though, with the pure head banger "Into The Pit", a fast mauler with a Metal God that implements his patented screaming falsetto. Yes, it has several great qualities, and it is the clear stand out of the record, but one thing bugs me with this song, and the album in general, and it is the chorus. Almost every chorus on this album consists of the title of the track being repeated over and over again, which is really dumb. Sure, you can make an awesome chorus with this small of means, but this is done so often that you can almost feel your IQ dropping by a point or two. Some more content would definitely have helped the album.

Another negative aspect of this album is the guitar work. Sure, I did not expect Russ Parrish and Brian Tilse to be the new Downing and Tipton, but the riffing on this album is fairly bland. It is heavy, but it is bland. As for the solos, they do not stick out all too much, but they do fit in and are sounding nice, so they do have some redeeming quality to them. Still, would have loved some more personality in the riffing.

It is obvious that Halford is the star of the show here, and he delivers a professional performance in which he showcases his entire vocal arsenal. Mixing screams with lower registers, Halford brings a diversity to "War of Words" that very few vocalists could do. He also lifts several songs to a much higher level, like the title track, "Immortal Sin", "For All Eternity", but not even the Metal God can hide the fact that the song material here is, at best, okay. Like, why did they include "Little Crazy" with its country vibe and the super boring "Laid To Rest"? I know you can write better songs than this Rob.

I honestly do not see why Fight have gotten such a cult status in recent years, because "War of Words" is a just above average album that may be heavy, but does not bring anything new to the table. The songs are alright, the execution is professional, but the overall sluggish feel makes the album feel longer and more drawn out than it needed to be. It is an okay album, and the band does have something interesting going, but they just could not show it in this particular album.

Songs worthy of recognition: Into The Pit, Immortal Sin, For All Eternity

Rating: 6/10 Contortions

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