Fozzy – ‘Judas’

By Louis Kerry

It has taken over 15 years for American heavy metal powerhouse Fozzy to get past what must be a frustrating stigma. Fronted by WWE superstar Chris Jericho, they finally reached a position on their previous album, ‘Do You Want To Start A War’, where they were no longer just considered as ‘the wrestler’s band’. Now they fit very comfortably in the metal scene, thanks to the undiluted, pure metal quality of their music alone. Their seventh album, ‘Judas’, does its utmost to double stamp the fact that Fozzy don’t need a gimmick to be noticed.

The album’s title track and lead single opens the record in style. ‘Judas’ has a soaring chorus and leads the full on metal assault that follows on the rest of the record. ‘Wordsworth Way’ has a classic metal aesthetic, and ‘Drinking With Jesus’ sounds like a throwback to their glam rock roots, offering a fun mixture of styles.

Experimenting with electronics on ‘Weight of My World’is a refreshing take to their sound, as is reintroducing hip-hop on ‘Three Days in Jail’, featuring Hyro Da Hero (remember him?), but neither track feels like it’s part of the band’s evolution; they just create breathing space from the relentless metal that the band are so intense at.

Arguably one of the most underrated musicians in metal, lead guitarist Rich Ward yet again shows off his world class abilities. Whether it’s his furious opening riff on ‘Capsized’ or the screamer of a solo on ‘Painless’, Ward is a rare talent who can captivate an audience in seconds thanks to his sheer shredding velocity. Ward creates a beautiful image of emotion as he passionately displays his incredible gift throughout the album, making him the real heart of ‘Judas’.

Jericho’s decades of experience as a showman (he’s the self proclaimed ayatollah of rock’n’rolla) are always clear as the singer/born entertainer establishes an aura of his own. He’s still ever-improving, however; as a vocalist, at times Jericho’s voice is overstretched, but it is Jericho’s lyrics that are the biggest crime on the album. Some lines he comes up with on the likes ‘Burn Me Out’ and ‘Elevator’ are borderline silly. But Fozzy have never been the band to take themselves with complete seriousness, and cheesy lines about getting high come with the metal territory anyway.

‘Judas’ might not be the band’s greatest record, but it’s certainly a huge step in the right direction toward the global dominance that they are determined to reach. With big riffs and huge songs, Fozzy are undoubtedly cheesy and undoubtedly cliched in every sense of the term, but it’s their ability to put on a world class performance and have fun doing it that makes ‘Judas’ so enjoyable. No gimmicks needed.

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