Cast your minds back to a time when metal music was not cool. Nay, indeed, a time when metal was anathema to all that was considered to be “chic” and “in.” A time when your favorite bands were actually encouraged by the music industry to play slower, cut their hair, and write sensitive lyrics about their childhoods. Yes, this unfortunately really happened.
Our new semi-irregular feature “90s Metal Weirdness” focuses on albums released between 1992 and 2001 and which we all probably would rather forget. But in the service of publicly shaming the musicians involved, we have pushed forward. — AMG
Fight – “War Of Words” (1993)
The Back Story: Fight was a short-lived metal project fronted by Rob Halford in the mid-‘90s. The quick version is that a certain up-and-coming band named Pantera opened for Judas Priest on their Painkiller tour, and Halford got the idea that maybe the grass was greener elsewhere. He split from Priest (taking their drummer Scott Travis with him) and forged onward with a new, more “extreme” project which he dubbed Fight.
What Does It Sound Like: Halford singing for a 2nd-rate Pantera (surprise!). There’s a blatant attempt to steal both Dimebag Darrell’s guitar tone and riffing style, and Travis’ playing here is a dead ringer for Vinnie Paul. The two guitarists here are pretty awesome, turning in a bunch of solos that are both clever and shreddy as hell. Halford himself tries to sound more aggressive than usual, with mostly positive results. The opening duo of “Into The Pit” and “Nailed To The Gun” are both fairly ass-kicking, but after that, things get a little monotonous in the songwriting department. Still, at the time it was fairly shocking to hear Halford singing music this heavy.
Are There Any Songs About Molestation? Hard to say, since the lyrics aren’t printed in the CD. In true ‘90s fashion, Halford goes deep with the lyrics here – there’s no “Living After Midnight” or any of that shit. But is he singing about the bad touch? The world may never know.
Stupid Political Lyrics? The title track seems to be about censorship, and quotes the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in full. Keep in mind that Priest had just been through that ridiculous ‘subliminal messages’ trial in the U.S. (the one where the prosecution made Halford sing “Better By You, Better Than Me” on the goddamned witness stand), and emerged victorious. Given his relation to the subject matter, I’d imagine his concern is genuine. Verdict: not stupid.
Is There Any Rapping On The Album? No. Halford saved the really embarrassing shit for his next project, 2wo, which Angry Metal Guy himself will get to later.
Were Haircuts Involved? Halford was already bald by this point, although in a lot of photos from this era he is wearing a Chicago White Sox hat. South siiiiiiide!!
How Bad Was It Really? It’s not terrible. If you think about it, it’s not far removed from all the other metal albums ripping off Pantera in the ‘90s, except better ‘cause Rob Halford is at the mic. “Nailed To The Gun,” “Into The Pit,” and “Little Crazy” are winners, and the rest of the album is tolerable, although only 3 or 4 of these songs stick to the brain once the CD stops spinning. Also, hearing Halford backed by Biohazard-style gang vocals is completely ridiculous.
The Aftermath: Fight went on to make a 2nd record which completely sucked, and then promptly broke up. (I think one of the guitarists went on to join Steel Panther.) Halford went on to do the aforementioned 2wo project with Trent Reznor, which was even more worthless. He finally realized that his fans don’t give a flying shit about anything he does unless it involves wearing leather and singing about jawbreakers, eating him alive, and/or ramming it down. He ended up rejoining Judas Priest in 2003.