This one’s somewhat of a hidden gem. Shortly after the release of Judas Priest’s album “Painkiller” vocalist Rob Halford left the band and pursued various projects in the following years. All were distinct from the sound he established with Priest. The first of which was Fight and is of particular interest for a number of reasons.
Fight released their debut “War of Words” in 1993. The line-up on this album is alone worthy of one’s interest. Aside from Halford, Fight also borrowed drummer Scott Travis from the Priest lot. Having demonstrated nothing short of an excellent performance on “Painkiller”, Travis kept up that same level of technical and aggressive playing on “War of Words”. The album also featured, on lead guitar, Russ Parrish of future “satirical” glam metal band “Steel Panther”. The fact that his style of playing on this release more closely resembles thrash metal just proves that Parrish is a versatile musician able to replicate polar ends of the 1980’s metal spectrum.
Rob Halford unveiled another side of himself with Fight. Vocally he experimented a bit. He kept singing with that classic “multiple octave range” the world loves him for, but on “War of Words” there was a clear focus on his lower register (especially when compared to “Painkiller”). Along with that, he also played around with guttural death growls and gang chants with the other members. Even so, the more drastic change with Fight was found in his lyrics. As awesome as Priest was in the 1980’s, I have to admit that all of the “party hard” and “sci-fi” lyrical themes could get annoying on repeated listens. With the release of “War of Words” Halford ditched these esoteric lyrics in favor of a more introspective approach to societies flaws. Themes of corruption and religious persecution were abundant on this one.
As a whole it feels like Halford and the boys created something special with Fight, and in particular their debut “War of Words”. There was a true chemistry between the lyrics and the extremity of the music. In many ways it felt like Rob returned to the dark themes that he explored on early Priest albums like “Sad Wings of Destiny” and “Stained Class”. Musically Fight created a sound that blended various influences from across the metal landscape while adding a modern (1990’s) touch of alternative rock, and all without blending in too much with the rest of the scene. This short-lived project is definitely worthy of a revisit.