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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Fight

K5 - The War of Words - Demos

Review by Gary Hill

The majority of the material here comes from the working tapes that Fight recorded before doing their War of Words album. “So, what does ‘K5’ mean?” you ask? The band were doing these recordings more as tapes for themselves and they didn’t want anyone to find them and spin them. So, rather than put them in the studio under the name “Rob Halford” or even “Fight” they used “K5” on all the tapes. What we get here are alternate versions of many songs that wound up on War of Words. We also get some tunes that were newly recorded in 2005. While this disc is definitely listenable, it’s probably mostly for Halford fanatics – and there are plenty of those. If you have the original Fight discs, you’d do well to pick this up as it represents a slice of the creative process.

vThis review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Into the Pit
If this is a demo, why did they bother doing the real version? This thing is every bit the thrashy powerhouse that the actual edition released on the CD was. Mind you, I haven’t listened to them side by side, and this feels like it might be a bit abrupt on some of the changes, but the overall texture is spot on. It’s crunchy and ferocious. This is one designed to break some necks in the mosh pit. The guitar solo here is a bit on the noisy, somewhat random sounding side, but it works nicely for the whole of the track. This thing is just plain brutal.
Nailed to the Gun
This is even more frantic than the one that preceded it. This demo feels a bit too raw and unfinished in some ways, but still, it rocks out quite well.
Now You Die
This one is not actually a demo from those sessions, but rather a new song recorded in 2005. This isn’t quite as brutal as a lot of Fight’s older music. It feels more like the stuff that was released under the name Halford on a couple of discs. Halford doesn’t show off a lot of vocal pyrotechnics on this one, though.
Life In Black
I’ve always loved this down and dirty grind. This recording is another that feels pretty complete. The main deal here is the mix, which is a bit flat and the vocals once more feel tacked on.
Kill It
This is a bit more raw than some of the other demos. It’s such a strong, though that it doesn’t really matter. The thrashy performance is top notch and in some ways the recording lends a certain punk vitality to it.
Contortion
This one is a bit strange because the opening segment with its mellow motif covered with spoken words really feels produced. The thrashing jam here also feels pretty well complete in terms of recording. The vocals do feel a bit roughly mixed, though. This is a cool stripped down piece, though. The guitar solo section on this one is quite tasty.

Forbidden
Here’s another track that’s a recording from the 2005 session. Drums bring this one in and then we get a rock and roll meets metal riff. Halford’s vocals have a cool processed texture and the song feels a bit like it could have been a Judas Priest outtake. This doesn’t really go far or rise up much, instead remaining with its stripped down, sparse arrangement, Halford’s voice and the drums taking center stage. There is a cool chugging segment later, though.
War of Words
Here we’re back into the Fight demo zone. A climbing melodic guitar mode leads this off as the First Amendment of the US Constitution is read over the top. Then it pounds out in an aggressive punk meets metal approach that is just plain mean.
Psycho Suicide
This comes in with a riff that feels like an early Sabbath climbing quick one – think “Children of the Grave.” It turns out more towards noisy thrash with a real punk attitude as it moves forward. When Halford’s vocals enter it’s obvious that this one is less demo-like than some of the other material. It’s a raw rocker that works pretty well.

Down
Now we come back to the 2005 sessions with this number that begins with percussion. It is heavier than the other newer cuts we’ve heard so far and really feels like it would have fit well on the original War of Words disc.  Halford’s performance on this one is powerful and evocative. And, while this is a slow paced grind that’s a bit raw, it is a killer. The guitar solo is especially tasty.
Vicious
This one is just plain furious. It’s raw and frantic and another highlight of the disc. The recording does feel a bit raw, though. The vocals seem a little distant. During the verse Halford sounds a bit like Alice Cooper. He’s back in more familiar territory on the chorus, though. The guitar solo here shines, too.
Beast Denies
It’s another of the 2005 recordings here. This one really feels like a chugging Judas Priest track. The mix on this shows a lot of issues. Halford’s vocals seem distant and a bit overly processed. It’s a shame because this feels like it would be a killer if produced a bit differently. There is a really cool drop down to a ballad-like structure on this one.
Laid to Rest
This one has a definite demo-like feel to it. It’s another raw rocker but the recording here is probably weaker in some ways than a lot of the other stuff. That says, it works pretty well for this tune, anyway, adding a certain immediacy to this gritty stomper.
Jesus Saves
Here we get a punky jam that’s a bit strange. It still screams out on the chorus and the recording isn’t bad.  The more metallic grind later is cool.

Dead Men Talk
The final 2005 number, this feels a bit like some death metal number. It’s ultra heavy and rather plodding and it even has some death type vocals proclaiming the title early and on the choruses. It’s strong, though and a cool piece of music. It’s another that would have fit nicely on one of the Fight albums. It has a frantically paced jam later that seems all the faster matched up to the slow and plodding sections.
For All Eternity
This one doesn’t really feel like a demo at all. It’s another one of those cuts that really feels very much like Judas Priest. “For All Eternity” is actually one of the best tunes on this set and it’s great that they chose it to close things out. The guitar solo section soars in metallic wonderment and this whole number really works great.
 
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