REVIEW: FOZZY – “Boombox”
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
FOZZY ROCKS!! One of the MOST underrated bands in rock music today is Fozzy. Maybe it’s because they started life as a cover band. Maybe it’s because their frontman is career professional wrestler, Chris Jericho. Whatever the reason, it’s time for industry professionals and fans alike to ramp up their recognition of the talent that comprises Fozzy.
Fozzy has historically been labeled as an American heavy metal band. This may be where the disconnect lies. For the “average” heavy metal fan, Fozzy does not live up to their definition of metal. However, Fozzy is most definitely a tight, polished entity with skilled musicians who continue to write and play rock music. Make no mistake. Fozzy is very solidly a rock band, not a metal band.
Since the release of 2017’s ‘Judas’, Fozzy has enjoyed success from the title track resulting in topping many Billboard charts and over 30-million views on YouTube. The song is also in use as Jericho’s entrance music on AEW Wrestling, a company co-founded by the man himself, which has only added to its popularity. And he looks so pleased with himself when the crowd sings along. But, who wouldn’t?
Now, with 2022, comes the release of their latest album, ‘Boombox’, a 12-track offering that again showcases the massive and varied talents of Jericho and pals Rich Ward on lead guitar, keyboards and programming, Billy Grey on rhythm guitar, P.J. Farley on bass and Grant Brooks on drums. With Ward also being the main songwriter, no one can say they aren’t creating their own original music. All members contribute vocals on some level which lends rich harmonies and layered backgrounds. Ward also has a good instinct for the programming that adds the electronica and cool and unique sounds that are sprinkled throughout so many of Fozzy’s songs.
The first single released from the album, “Nowhere to Run”, follows suit with a riff-heavy ground track with the added electronic elements that Fozzy utilizes in its music. Heavily so. Jericho’s vocals may be enhanced to some degree but his vocal range fits perfectly with their writing style. This song does get a little repetitive considering the amount of times the phrase ‘nowhere to run’ is uttered. But it still works. The second single released was “Sane” which is actually the album opener. It starts out with the iconic crackling of a vinyl record with perfectly mastered programming and a single drumbeat that immediately takes me back to their set at the now infamous Blue Ridge Rock Festival in 2021. It’s my favorite track on the album for just this reason. They put on a really great show as well!
Another notable track from the album is “Army of One”. It starts out slow and rather melancholy which may make one think, hmm, Jericho’s version of a power ballad. Just listen a little longer to reveal an edgier closing that’s not exactly ballad-like at its core. The lyrics are introspective but open to interpretation. They could be applied to Jericho’s life directly, or to anyone’s life who has had similar experiences and feelings. It’s relatable. “Purifier” runs in much the same vein with a catchy chorus and groove breakdown.
The album is rounded out by a handful of songs which reflect and exemplify Fozzy’s take on the world and rock music. They all have the top-notch electronics and programming of Rich Ward, lyrics that are relevant, contemporary and pensive, screaming guitars and solid, driving drum and bass lines to rival those of their peers. The one thing above all else that gives Fozzy their sound is Chris Jericho’s vocals. Once you hear his distinct vocal tone, whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, you’ll remember it and know who it is as soon as you hear it. The only drawback being you can’t “unhear” it.
Approaching this as a rock album, it’s great. It’s got the perfect mix of pop and rock to be appealing to multiple audiences. Jericho’s vocals pull it all together well, like the butter in a velvety Hollandaise sauce. Approaching this as a metal album, it’s tolerable at best. It walks the precarious line between pop rock and metal. Maybe it should be known as pop metal. Again, this is a GREAT album. It’s just not Slayer.