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Rob's best work without Priest - 86%

adders11, March 21st, 2010

As a huge Judas Priest fan, it was inevitable that I would find myself listening to this album at some point. Fight were Rob Halford's first side project after his departure from Priest in the early 90's. For me, War Of Words is still the finest album Halford has done without Priest, but alas, Fight were a short-lived project.

Instead of going for a traditional heavy metal approach, Rob decided to go for a post-thrash (maybe groove) sound reminsent of bands such as Pantera. I can't blame the man for wanting to try something different, although his unmistakeable trademark vocals still smother War Of Words, which is of course, is a good thing. All the songs on War Of Words were written by Rob and he also produced the album. He does a good job with the production too-the record is raw yet not under-produced.

There could've been a little more variety musically in War Of Words because while the guitar riffs are competant throughout, a lot of them just tend to be downtuned mid-paced heavy chuggers, especially in songs like 'Immortal Sin', 'Laid To Rest', 'Contortion' and the title track. This isn't the case for every song of course, but for a 12-song record it is perhaps, just a little too much. Despite this, there isn't a song on the album that I dislike. Also, guitarists Russ Parish and Brian Tilse perform some inspiring dueling guitar solos (much like Glenn Tipton and KK Downing of Priest). They both have different sounding techniques meaning that both their solos sound different from eachother. On top of the guitar riffs and solos is some fine drum work from Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis, who rarely lets me down on any record.

'Into The Pit' starts this record off brilliantly- the riffs are very thrashy and Rob screams his way throughout the song, just like he did in classic Priest songs like 'Painkiller'. 'Nailed To The Gun' follows and is a little more mid-tempo, but is still one of the best songs here. The riffs are simple, but heavy, and there are some great solos and a cool breakdown after the second chorus. This song is a bit more reminiscent of Judas Priest, and Rob goes for his typical, but powerful vocal approach on this track. 'Life In Black' slows things down a bit more- I don't think this song is quite as good as the previous 2, and, as said earlier, it is a bit of a chugger. However, Rob goes for a more rare, laid-back voice on this track. 'Immortal Sin' is, again, a mid-paced number, but is pretty damn heavy, and starts off with an excellent little guitar lead which then goes into the main headbanging riff. Halford's voice is a bit lower and laid back as with 'Life In Black', but it suits the song perfectly.

The title track, 'War Of Words' comes next, and while it is certainly one of the main highlights of the album, I still don't think the album was worthy of the same title. The riffs are a bit generic compared to the last few songs, but Rob's high-pitched screaming returns here, which does make the song better than it would be without it. 'Laid To Rest' is quite interesting as it contains a good headbanging riff underneath a picked, slightly medlodic riff. Like with 'Life In Black', Rob went for that softer, but strong tone of voice. 'For All Eternity' is a little more mellow and does sound like the sort of thing Priest would write when going for the same direction. This song is a standout as it makes anice change in approach from the rest of the aggressive headbangers.

'Little Crazy' is one of the weakest tracks here in my opinion. Rob doesn't seem to put in as much effort with the vocals, and the riffs are a bit dull, and I think the same with following number, 'Contortion' as well. I do like the lyrics for both these songs though. 'Kill It' has probably one of the most basic riffs, but it is very cool, and is a highlight for me. The chorus is simple too, but it's great fun at the same time. 'Viscious' follows in the same direction as 'Kill It' and as a result is a great little headbanger. Closing track, 'Reality, A New Beginning' has some of best and most interesting verses on the album, and is definitely one of the most memorable tracks on here.

While I think that War Of Words could've done with a couple more faster, up-tempo numbers, this is, overall, just a great heavy metal record. Naturally, Halford's vocals are the main highlight. Although he is undoubtably at his best in Judas Priest, War Of Words, and Fight on the whole, proves that he can write and produce an excellent metal album on his own.