Fozzy – Judas
Released: 15th October, 2017
Fozzy Line up:
Chris Jericho| Vocals
Rich Ward| Lead Guitar
Billy Grey| Rhythm Guitar
Paul Di Leo| Bass
Frank Fontsere| Drums
It seems only yesterday Do You Wanna Start a War was released, an album in my mind where Fozzy really found their sound. Admittedly the first two albums were almost entirely all covers, but this band has gradually honed their sound. Moving away from meandering 10 plus minute Iron Maidenesque tracks like ‘Wormwood’ or ‘Storm the Beaches’ the boys from Fozzy are at their best when they play short sharp rock songs.
With their latest offering Judas, this is exactly what you get. 11 tracks of good honest rock n roll. That’s not to say there isn’t room for experimentation. When you have the likes of rap metal pioneer Rich Ward as a driving force things are likely to get a little bit interesting. Not least of all is the maturity of the songwriting – this may be in some part due to the band once again collaborating with producer Johnny Andrews. Adding writing credits to his production work has helped lift the quality of the bands’ songwriting.
But that’s enough blah blah blah, what does it sound like?
Well, first off it doesn’t have a single sound, it’s a hard rock album, of that there’s no doubt. The opening track Judas is a perfect example of that. Uplifting, foot-stomping with that unmistakeable Rich Ward groove. Ward and fellow guitarist Billy Grey lay down some solid crunching riffs. Lyrically it deals with that little voice inside of all of us, the voice that makes you do dumb shit you always regret, the one that makes you your own worst enemy. It’s thoughtful and complex in its simplicity. The song has obviously hit a note with fans as it’s been on high rotation on satellite rock radio and at time of writing has had over 9,500,000 views on YouTube. That’s some nice advertising dollars people – welcome to the new world revenue stream.
The next track carries on where ‘Judas’ left off, the hilariously titled ‘Drinkin‘ With Jesus’. This has an almost Southern Rock feel to it, indeed frontman Chris Jericho’s phrasing at times takes on an almost southern twang – not a bad effort for a Canadian. The other thing that really stands out for me in this song is Paul Di Leo’s bass playing. He plays almost lead bass without compromising the rhythm. His heavy groove is perfectly complemented by the hard-hitting man behind the drum kit Frank Fontsere. With a band containing a WWE Superstar and a rap metal pioneer, it is easy to overlook the rest of what makes up Fozzy. The rhythm section of Fontsere and Di Leo are easily one of the most underrated in rock.
So after two rocking tracks kick the album off, the third one ‘Painless’ slows things down just a little. This is a power-ballad in the best tradition, but without the awful “I love you” lyrics. As with so many other songs on the album, there’s a lot going on here including vocal effects reminiscent of The Cars.
I’m going to resist the urge to break it down track by track, not least of all because long reviews are boring and I have a deadline, but there are a few tracks that deserve special mention. ‘Weight Of My World’ is one, if you mixed a dance beat with a bit of funk and ask a metal band to play it I’m pretty sure this is what you’d get. It’s fun and surprising (I’ve completely overused that word in this review). Another track worthy of special mention, and my personal favourite is ‘Three Days In Jail’. Rich Ward’s rap/metal roots are on full show here, along with his unclean vocals. This song is a real mashing together of genres. On this track Hydro da Hero has been called in to help out vocally, the Texan rapper gives the song a Linkin Park feel before launching into full a rap/metal delivery that wouldn’t be out of place in Bodycount or Stuck Mojo.
If ‘Do You Wanna Start a War’ was where Fozzy found their sound, ‘Judas‘ is where they expand on it. There’s enough genre-crossing experimentation to keep you interested but at its core, this album is Fozzy not giving a fuck and doing it their way.
Fozzy – Judas tracklisting:
- Drinkin’ With Jesus
- Weight Of My World
- Wordsworth Way
- Burn Me Out
- Three Days In Jail
- Running With The Bulls
- Wolves At Bay
Rating: Judas gets 9 ½ drunk Jesus’ out of 10.