REVIEW: FOZZY – “Judas”
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
Fozzy! Originally known as Fozzy Osbourne, Fozzy started out as strictly a cover band and continued on that route even after picking up frontman Chris Jericho of WWE fame. After releasing two albums of mostly covers, Fozzy finally gave up their inventive backstory and Jericho embraced his role in the band, abandoning his pseudonym, Mongoose McQueen, and his feigned ignorance of his own place within the band. It was at this time that they also began writing and releasing original material.
When Jericho officially became the face of Fozzy, many people, myself included, thought it was no more than a joke. Jericho was firmly entrenched in the WWE, proving himself to be a formidable wrestling opponent, as well as much needed comic relief. The comic relief aspect could have been the reason why Fozzy wasn’t taken seriously at first. But, now 6 studio albums later, Fozzy has developed into a bold and energetic example of pure rock and roll. After various changes in the band’s structure, their line-up currently consists of Chris Jericho on vocals, Rich Ward and Billy Grey on lead and rhythm guitars respectively, Paul Di Leo on bass and Frank Fontsere on drums. The combination of these musical forces forms a tight ensemble.
Preparing to hit the airwaves in October of 2017 is Fozzy’s 7th studio release, ‘Judas’. ‘Judas’ is an 11-track offering of hard rock culling from a myriad of different influences, from prog rock to techno and beyond. It’s not only riff heavy but also has some vibrant solos scattered throughout the landscape, as well as captivating melodies. Jericho’s vocals are surprisingly rich and strong and the combined dynamic of Ward and Grey on guitars is quite successful. Every song has a killer guitar/bass line that accentuates the drum work seamlessly. Fozzy’s latest work has a contemporary feel similar to other peers in the industry.
The album opens with the title track which is the first single released and also has a video that can be viewed on the band’s official website. The song starts off with low and subdued vocals which build in layers into a raucous chorus which is impressive as a starting point for this album. Anyone not familiar with Fozzy will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of musicianship and songwriting. I would suggest seeking out the video online as it is quite interesting and rather comical.
The record continues with “Drinking With Jesus”. This is one that really reminds me of Hinder. It’s got that driving guitar/bass/drum pattern that is so prevalent on this album. “Painless” harkens to Skillet. It’s got the anthem rock feel that is also a prominent feature on this effort. “Weight of My World” is the first of a handful of songs with a decidedly techno vibe with a lot of electronic elements. “Wordsworth Way” has an overarching prog rock aura that is somehow hypnotizing. “Three Days in Jail” adds a rap-style vocal track, very Linkin Park-esque. One could say that concept is played out but Fozzy doesn’t overdo it and It’s effective. “Elevator” has an interesting vocal intro that adds a playful feel and repeats throughout the song.
The album rounds out with “Running With the Bulls”, “Capsized” and “Wolves at Bay”, all showcasing the sleek edge that Fozzy has developed over the years. This album took some getting used to. The most troublesome thing was separating Chris Jericho – the sports entertainer from Chris Jericho – the rock and roll singer. But, the more I listened, the more I liked. This is actually a great album. Jericho is a talented vocalist and his bandmates jam. Fozzy continues to churn out quality tunes that you just might hear on a WWE broadcast sometime soon!