After parting ways with JUDAS PRIEST in the early 90s, Metal God Rob Halford formed a new band, simply entitled FIGHT. Recruiting PRIEST drummer Scott Travis as well as several other American musicians, Halford began his conquest to create a sound that was more raw than anything he had done with PRIEST while retaining the force of their previous album, "Painkiller". In many ways, this was a successĖ FIGHTís sound was heavier, edgier and what many people would consider "badass". However, it didnít always work, and many of FIGHTís songs were bland and never really went anywhere the way that PRIESTís songs did.
Released online in late 2006 and on disc is late 2007, "K5: The War of Words Demos" is a compilation album consisting of demos recorded very early on in FIGHTís life. It also includes some new tracks, recorded exclusively for this compilation. Because of this, there are noticeable dips in production value which (as snooty as it may make me seem for pointing it out) often hurts the continuity of the compilation as a whole.
The opening tracks are by far the best. "Into The Pit" wouldnít have sounded out of place on "Painkiller", and is chalk full of thick, meaty guitar riffs, double base drumming and Rob Halfordís trademark wail. The first few tracks feature the best production values, and Rob Halfordís vocals sound better when polished and fully audible.
As previously mentioned, many of these songs suffer from bland instrumental work. At the time, Halford had been playing with PANTERA, and it seems to have influenced him negatively. Many of these songs are heavy on the groove which doesnít serve as a pleasant contrast to Halfordís voice. Save for a few noteworthy moments, the bulk of the guitar work is played in a monotonous "chugga-chugga" Metalcore-ish style which rarely sounds good anyway.
Despite being backed by a rather lackluster set of musicians, Halford still delivers the goods. As expected, his higher register is put to good use, but he experiments with different vocal techniques throughout these songs as well. "Nailed To The Gun" has him delivering a gritty, raw performance which is nice change of pace, and "Dead Men Talk" features some sort of guttural growl, something Iíd never expect from the Metal God.
In all honestly, this is a rather uneven compilation. It features fun, fist-pumping Metal anthems ("Into The Pit", "Nailed To The Gun"), songs that are bland and donít do anything special ("Contortion", "Forbidden") and even a song that is downright terrible ("Jesus Saves"). I guess the only song that really stood out for me was the title track, "War Of Words". From the melancholic intro (which sounds almost identical to IRON MAIDENís brand of ballad), to the way in which Halford hammers the lyrical content across, this song is just a powerhouse.
FIGHT certainly wasnít the Metal Godís strongest career choice, but the project wasnít a total waste. As it stands, this compilation is my only encounter with FIGHT, and while it hasnít persuaded me to look any further into their catalogue, it does feature some tracks that I can see myself playing some time down the road. Alas, in the end of the day, Iíd rather just put on some PRIEST, but if groove/metalcore riffs are your thing, and Halford is your vocalist of choice (donít know who Iím talking to now), I couldnít possibly recommend this any more.
(Online January 19, 2008)