I had watched Chris Jericho since he made his memorable WWE entrance interrupting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in one of The Rock’s promos. Jericho is known as the “Ayatollah of Rock ‘N Rolla” in one of his many WWE guises. When I heard he was in a band called Fozzy Osbourne I wasn’t overly surprised. I didn’t realise at the time that this was my first introduction to the band that would later morph into Fozzy. A few years later, one of my friends at work gave me a usb stick with some music videos they had captured off (Australian late-night TV institution) Rage and there happened to be on there a song called Enemy where I was reacquainted with Fozzy. Enemy was really, really good and became one of my most played songs.
I managed to get a copy of All That Remains from Amazon which was a solid album but then they went quiet. It would be 5 years later in 2010 that they would cross my path again. I was in New York for the first time looking through a record shop near Central Park with my boys and happened to come across Chasing The Grail. Fozzy were back with another really good album. Fast forward two years and the album that really cemented Fozzy in my playlists was released, the magnificent Sin and Bones. This album made me completely reassess the band. I went back and had a more critical listen to the previous two original albums and even picked up their first two covers albums. I had a new found respect for the band from that album.
Fozzy have continued to progress. They are now a band that is really kicking ass and making people sit up and take notice of what they are doing. This was made abundantly clear with the reception to the lead single and title track from the new album when it was launched online earlier this year. With over 9 million views and counting, Judas landed the Number 1 spot on the iTunes charts in eight countries, surely a stat that shows Fozzy is on the upward swing. So when the chance came through to review the new album for Sentinel Daily, it took less than a heartbeat for me to reply “Hell Yes.”
Judas is the seventh album from the guys and really showcases what this band has become. It is eleven songs that are simply a grooving, fun time. Full of fat licks, crunching riffs, head banging rhythms and anthemic choruses, Judas is a very solid album in all aspects. The song lengths range from as short and sharp as 2.50 through to just shy of 5 minutes which gives you an understanding of why Jericho believes there is a number of single options on the album. Jericho’s singing is definitely improving the more albums he gets under his belt; in this album he finds the right fit with the up tempo songs abounding within.
Highlights for me include
The title track Judas, which If you haven’t heard as yet, you must be living under a rock. This is one of the strongest songs I’ve heard from Fozzy, starting off with a little lick and Jericho whispering over the top before kicking into a rocking riff that gets your head nodding and you just don’t stop. This song has got hooks all around, it has a driving groove and is really melodic, I find myself singing along quickly with the very catchy chorus “What have I become, now that I’ve betrayed everyone I’ve ever loved and pushed them all away”.
Drinking With Jesus is another grooving track that you just can’t help getting caught up in. Two songs in and I’m loving the catchiness of the tracks that are driven along exceptionally well by a very tight rhythm section of Frank Fontsere (drums) and Paul Di Leo (bass).
One of the best tracks on the album is the current single, Painless. When I was interviewing Rich “The Duke of Metal” Ward, he said this is his favourite track to play live at present with its dark riff and really huge chorus “Killing me one breath at a time…” I can understand why, this track has a very gothic feel to its rhythm.
Weight of the World follows and while it is not as strong as the previous trio, it is still a solid song in its own right. Full of funky licks that wouldn’t be out of place on Red Hot Chilli Peppers song over the top of a meaty riff it also has a sing along chorus complete with a Whoa-oh line that will have audiences singing along if played live.
Wordsworth Way is the longest track on the album and is a bit more progressive. It has a few keyboards throughout, giving the song a much more serious tone which reflects the lyrics sung in the pre-chorus “This road has stayed the same, my place of joy and pain. My house is in my dreams, my childhood never sleeps”.
Three Days in Jail with its rapping crossover grated on me a bit a first but after a few listens has really grown on me. It has a heavy component of keyboards put alongside a real meaty riff and some growled vocals from Rich as a bit of a breakdown after the solos.
Wolves at Bay is the last track on the album and is a solid finisher. It starts off full throttle and doesn’t let up. The pre-chorus is like a mini breakdown before a chorus that can be sung along to. There are Iron Maiden-like melodies throughout over the hammering riff where Rich Ward and Billy Grey are channelling the twin guitars of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray.
The other tracks are all solid offerings that are well worth a listen. For me this is a much stronger album overall than Do You Want To Start A War that shows the progression Fozzy have made as a band. They come across as much more comfortable in their skin and know what they want to be, part of it for me is the consistency of the line-up having been the same over the past three albums.
I can see this album translating really well to some seriously loud and furious live shows. In thatinterview with Rich Ward, he told me that we can expect to catch the guys here in Australia sometime in 2018. That is one gig I will definitely be attending, Fozzy put on a hell of a show with a mountain of energy. I can’t wait to see these new tracks within the set list. They will add to an already entertaining band with a great live presence.
Judas is out Friday, October 13 through Century Media. Grab a copy, you won’t regret it.