* K5: The War Of Words Demos (recorded 1992, released 2007)
* War Of Words (1993)
* Mutations (1994)
* A Small Deadly Space (1995)
* Voyeurs (1998)
* Resurrection (2000)
* Live Insurrection (2 CDs, 2001)
* Crucible (2002)
* Live In Anaheim (2 CDs; recorded 2003, released 2010)
* Halford III: Winter Songs (2009)
* Halford IV: Made Of Metal (2010)
* Live At Saitama Super Arena (2011)
Review-The 90’s were an odd time for metal. Judas Priest and Rob Halford seem to part ways. Rob Halford wanted to showcase to people that not only was he a metal god but that he can go with the times. This box set showcases his solo history. This 14-cd boxset is the perfect present for any metal fan who may not be too familiar with Rob’s solo past. The obvious omission is the Halford demos that churned “ Light Comes out of Black”, that had members of Pantera helping Rob out. Those demos would set the stage for Rob’s pissed off Fight debut. “ War of Words” is our first disc in this boxset and this I feel was the proper follow up to “ Painkiller” by Priest. This album starts off with two thrashy songs “ Into the Pit” and “ Nailed to the Gun” that would showcase Rob’s fire and passion. This time he has aligned himself with a bunch of musicians that were young and hungry. As the album goes forward, you can see the modern inspiration of the Seattle alternative scene mixed with a classic Priest vibe. Then we get to the monster “ Contortion” that wakes up the beast. This is a bouncy rocker that will get people in a pit wanting to beat themselves silly. Then we get to “ Kill It” and “Vicious”, and the band showcases that they are pissed off and want to put their stamp all over the music scene. Then it ends with “ Reality, A New Beginning”, which you can see was Rob trying to put the past to rest and show people that he is going in a new direction. The song has a very “ Sad Wings of Destiny” feel, but it serves as the cliffhanger for their next cd. This song would be the bridge from “ War of Words” to “ A Small Deadly Space”. Where “ War” was all the important and angry debut album, it seems that the follow up was a little more smartly thought out.
This album is not as angry, but it seems that Rob wanted to show that Fight were this band who could be both metal and grunge. “ Legacy of Hate” is that one song that you know Rob was just letting frustration mate with passion. This album is just as good as the debut, the last song is very emotional and showcases that Rob can hang with any singer past, present and future. With Fight, we also got two other cds, one was a demo record that showcased the studio work that went into the debut album. “K5: The War of Words demos” is a hit and miss. I feel that this album while it is good, it just felt unnecessary. Though some of the demos really seem to work. “ Contortion” and “ Kill It” were among my favorites. It was the EP that impressed me the most. “Mutations” I have to say was incredible. To hear Fight doing some live songs and throw in some Judas Priest in the show as well. The remixes were also very well done. I think the remixes rival the original versions. The remixes had so much more power and energy to them. The band seemed more relaxed. The music packed more of a punch. We take a break. Judas Priest hires Ripper Owens to be their new singer and Rob Halford comes out of the closet on MTV. Trent Reznor started to work with him on his project that had 40 names before 2WO. This would be the cd that would introduce the world to guitarist John 5. Rob told everyone he quit metal and wanted to make an alternative fashion record. “Voyeurs” is a hard album for Priest fans to digest. I have to be honest, some of the songs have the Rob spirit in them. “ I Am A Pig” feels like something you would expect from Fight, if they did a new record. “ Deep in the Ground” sounded like Rob was listening to early Skinny Puppy and wanted to make a catchy version of the first three albums. “ Gimp” is a great song to me. The album if you are a fan of bands like Pigface, Skinny Puppy or Meat Beat Manifesto is not that bad.
The end of metal for Rob Halford did not last long as the sales of his alternative project flopped. People assumed that he would return to Judas Priest and get some new albums out. Rob, decided to work on new solo records. The last 7 albums to this set are the Halford solo records which we get three live cds. “Live Insurrection” would be the first time that we get a version of “ Light Comes out of Black”. (Unless you own the soundtrack to the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. My favorite of the live albums is the one from Anaheim. It felt more raw and live. Where the other two felt more tinkered on in the studio. Anaheim showcased the band that were throwing their energy into a crowd that wanted everything they can throw at them. “Crucible” is a cd that I did not know existed. This is by far the best of the Halford solo records. I can easily say, this is the best cd in this box set. I would say this is the best thing Rob has done since “Painkiller”. “ Betrayal” is an awesome song. If people thought Rob had nothing to offer to metal, this song is a perfect example of the man still having the pipes and associating himself with some talented hungry musicians who can play like their lives depend on it. “Golgotha” is another song that just won me over. This is a song I would have expected from Priest in their 80’s run. You also have the Rob Halford Metal Christmas album. “ Winter Songs” is a great fun experience for people who celebrate this holiday. Rob has fun with the songs and you can tell he is having a blast.
The negative to this set is that if you have all the records already, there is really nothing to get you to buy this set. I was hoping there would be some kind of extras. I will not bring up the fact that he did not include the pre-Fight stuff with Dimebag and crew. Which I felt would have been a good incentive for people to double dip and buy this set. If you own all the records, then you supported the man and did your part. If you only own some, this may be a good little box set for you to buy more. There is not really one bad record in this set. I just wish he would have thrown in some gems that have not seen the light of day yet. Maybe a dvd or blu ray or something? All in all, if you are a Halford fan this is a must own if you do not have the cds. If you do, then let’s wait for the new Priest cd in 2018.
9 out of 10