Fozzy – Judas – 13/10/17
Fozzy. Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Yes, Chris Jericho is a professional wrestler, one of the greatest of all time. Ok, now that is out of the way, let’s really listen. Fozzy have been on a nonstop tear this past year, with numerous sold out tours across the US and a phenomenal summer on the festival circuit, Judas comes just in time for those who have had their first taste of Fozzy over the summer and crave some more.
Opening with the now familiar and album title track Judas straight into Drinking With Jesus combines the now iconic Fozzy sound of a modern metal production and stylistic inspiration with classic metal riffs that are more than going to satisfy any fan of anything metal or rock. Most notably from DWJ comes the dynamic relationship between lead axe slinger Rich Ward and drummer Frank Fontsere, most evident during Ward’s soaring solo, Fontsere compliments with a versatile drum beat, not overwhelming the palette, but simply giving groove like most others wouldn’t!
Whilst Fozzy have been a unit for nearing two decades now, they are far from done in terms of experimentation, as tracks Weight Of My World, Burn Me Out and Three Days In Jail display, each in their own way. All of these songs gladly borrow and incorporate various musical genres in a strange rock concoction. Weight Of My World throwing in some funk guitar elements, Burn Me Out displaying some tight and programmed drums and, perhaps the most polarizing song on the entire album, Three Days in Jail, starting out with low tuned guitars, thunderous drums which hit you in the gut, blending in Jericho’s pure cleans, an impressive new guttural scream that has recently developed and…rapping. Yeah. Throw in an industrial kind of synth lead with Linkin Park-esque pads, you have an incredibly vibrant track, which might throw some fans, but shows an obvious strive that Fozzy have to develop their sound, even twenty years after forming, they’re still persevering for new sounds.
Towards the back end of the album, songs such as Running With The Bulls and Wolves At Bay make heads bang and rock. Running With The Bulls demonstrates a catchy vocal melody, with Jericho’s vocal really shining through this late in the album, with the little vibrato flairs on the end of verse lines through to the gasping and climaxing bridge parts, every note and word is precise and clear.
Wolves At Bay closes out the album on a high, easily having the most blistering and complex guitar solo on the album, combined with Maiden/Avenged Sevenfold dueling guitar lines and a very anthemic chorus, which is sure to get crowds engaged if this makes it into their live set (which it definitely should because it is a bloody corker!).
It took a few listens through, but reflecting on this album, this is arguably Fozzy’s best work to date. Whilst it isn’t as rapturously metal as some of their previous work, Fozzy have found a common ground that involves the 80s screaming vocals and modern metal influence. Every drum hit, every bass and guitar stroke and vocal line sung is done so with power and purpose, sounding like a band who are fresh and aren’t limited to ‘just metal’. The versatility and diversity that this album displays breaks boundaries in what is a very conservative scene and such be praised for doing so. Whilst this may not be mainstream, it is certainly up there with one of the gems of 2017 so far.
Review: Adam Jones