Why? Why have I never picked up any of the Halford releases? I have no explanation for that. Somehow they just never made it onto my radar.
Well, all mistakes, even old ones, can be rectified. What better way to correct the past but with a "Best of" type collection? Seems as good a place as any to start. Metal God Essentials Vol. 1 is an excellent collection that, presumably, collects the best tracks from Rob Halford's solo career between leaving Judas Priest in 1992 and rejoining them in 2004.
While Halford forged his legendary status with Judas Priest, when he split with them he did not attempt to recreate Priest under another name; rather, he forged a new direction. In doing so, Rob Halford continued to create first rate metal.
If you are only familiar with Halford through Judas Priest, this collection will be an absolute treat. Even if you are not familiar with him at all (and why aren't you?) this collection will go a long way toward proving his status as a Metal God to you and anyone else brave enough to wade into the waters.
Following his departure from Judas Priest he formed the band Fight.
I remember seeing them back in 1993 on MTV's Headbangers' Ball. They were performing live in the studio, an absolutely electrifying performance that included all three of the tracks included on this set, "Into the Pit," "Nailed to the Gun," and their debut album's title track "War of Words."
That debut album stands as an absolute classic of metal music; although, I tend to think that it, and Fight in general, are a bit underrated. This seems especially true when placed within the enormous shadow cast by Judas Priest. That album was filled with incredibly heavy riffs that are sure to get stuck in your head while you fist involuntarily punches the air over your head.
As good as those songs were the versions included here are of a slightly different vintage. All three are demos from those early Fight sessions.
This is not a bad thing at all, although I believe their inclusion was to get around ownership rights. It is interesting to hear these alternate versions, instantly recognizable but with a distinctly different flavor. The Fight songs are highlighted not only by Halford insanely great voice but by some great heavy guitar work from Brian Tilse and Russ Parrish. Those two are what really attracted me back in the day, what with those fantastic rhythms.