It came as nothing short of a shock when Rob Halford announced he was leaving Judas Priest in 1991. Although the band was experiencing a critical and commercial renaissance with the success of Painkiller, interpersonal tensions and Rob’s long standing desire to work on a solo project won out in the end. The split was amicable, yet portrayed as hostile by the media due to a leaked resignation letter that was taken out of context.
Rob’s first venture outside of Judas Priest was a collaborative track with Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, and Rex Brown. The song “Light Comes Out of Black” was featured on the soundtrack to the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1992.
As it would turn out, Painkiller and the Pantera collaboration were the writings on the wall that foreshadowed Halford’s next major project: the incredible groove / thrash metal band Fight. Featuring Priest drummer Scott Travis, guitarist Brian Tilse and bassist Jay Jay Brown of Ohio band Cyanide, and guitarist Russ Parrish (now of Steel Panther), the group blew the minds of unsuspecting headbangers everywhere in 1993 when their debut album, War Of Words, was released.
Fight set itself apart from Judas Priest both aesthetically and sonically, abandoning leather and spikes for sneakers and baggy jeans. Clean, catchy solos and melodic hooks were replaced by breakdowns and double kick blasts. If Judas Priest were Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Fight were Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Halford had abandoned beauty for the sake of terror.
Although War Of Words highlighted Rob Halford and arguably the apex of his creative powers, the album peaked at #83 on Billboard and was considered a commercial flop.
The law of diminishing returns kicked in with the ep Mutations and the alternative radio-friendly A Small Deadly Space.
Fight broke up in 1996 and Rob subsequently founded industrial metal project 2wo and the decidedly heavier band Halford before rejoining Judas Priest in 2003.
2023 marks the 30th anniversary of Fight’s unrelenting masterpiece, War Of Words. Watch a documentary on the record below.