January 17, 2008

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Fight, The War of Words: Demos
Metal God Entertainment, Jan. 8
Cynics the world over have long viewed Rob Halford’s predeliction for leather, studs and long-haired androgynous guitar boys as proof that there’s something snidely comical up his sleeve, that he chortles (and/or lusts) in private over the rough, tough, forked-finger-saluting Sweathogs that comprise his audience. Whether or not that’s true, sometimes the coolest things come from jokes, though, and anyone who’s ever cranked a Judas Priest album in a car knows that adrenaline boosts don’t have to come out of Monster Energy Drink cans. Halford has held the patent on melodically correct maniacal screaming since his Exciter days, and he did indeed deliver on his promise to push the envelope right over the edge with his post-Priest crew, Fight, a conflagration of Defenders of the Faith-level face-melt and -- you know, whatever a baby demon sounds like.

He’s got brass ones, too, tell you what. The level of fortitude required for someone to offer up a set of rough demos (“rough” being the debatable part; most indie metal bands would gladly sacrifice nonessential appendages for some of these sounds) as a regulation album would seriously have to come from someone who makes a living by exhorting Hells Angels people to get crazy angry. The best thing about this, though, is that it offers the new generation of rivetheads several angles of sound engineering to try out, automatically making it far more compelling a choice than what your typical Avenged Sevenfold wannabe tends to barf into the void. A- — E. W. S.