It’s safe to say that Fozzy have come a long way since the days of Moongoose McQueen and The Duke, back when they were just a cover band. Each time they release an album, it exceeds the last, a trend that continues with Judas, their new album available now. One of the many things I love about Fozzy is their hooks. They’re very melodic and catchy. Lead singer Chris Jericho said it himself, and he hit the nail on the head, if Metallica and Journey had a baby, it would be Fozzy. Today, Fozzy consists of lead singer Chris Jericho, guitarist Rich Ward, drummer Frank Fontsere, bassist Paul Di Leo and guitarist Billy Grey.
From the beginning, Fozzy have always had some steam behind them due to Chris’ popularity in pro-wrestling. But, Fozzy and wrestling were and still are two separate entities and have nothing to do with the other. Lead singer Chris Jericho has said in many interviews that he will never intertwine the two. In his latest book, No Is A Four Letter Word, he tells the story about Fozzy trying to get on the bill for the prestigious Germany’s Wacken, which is an annual rock festival. After years, the promoter agreed to let them on providing Chris would wrestle also, as the festival also includes a live wrestling show as part of their day to day festivities. He refused to wrestle, at the risk of blurring the lines.
So, how did it all start? In 1999, Chris Jericho met Rich Ward, guitarist and front man of Stuck Mojo, and the two decided to jam together. Eventually they signed a record deal with Megaforce Records. Fozzy’s first two albums were all covers of classic metal songs by bands like Scorpions, Accept and even Black Sabbath to name a few. To explain this, the band created a gimmick that they were banished from the USA and those artists took their songs and recorded them. It seemed absurd at first, but given Chris’ killer vocals, combined with Rich’s impeccable guitar playing, it was only a matter of time before they moved on and started doing all original material. In 2005 they released All That Remains, their first go at an all original album. While it was certainly a good album, it wasn’t exactly a breakthrough for them. However, what it did do is show people that they aren’t the comic story they started out as.
In 2009, they signed with Riot Entertainment and soon after released Chasing the Grail, which was another step forward for the band, and this one really forced people to take notice and legitimized them as rockers. The album had a much heavier sound than their previous three. Songs like Martyr No More, Friday the 13th, and Let the Madness Begin helped them make their mark in the heavy metal scene. Fozzy was here to stay and kick a**! Following Chasing the Grail, the band signed with Century Media Records and soon after released Sin and Bones in 2012. Much like Chasing the Grail, this album showed the world what they’re made of. While it had a slightly more progressive rock sound, the band hadn’t lost their touch and showed they could do something different while remaining true to who they are. In 2014, Do You Wanna Start A War was released, which kicks off with the banging anthem of the same name and includes the dancy rock tune Lights Go Out, which was another step in the evolution of Fozzy.
As I mentioned earlier, these last few years have opened a lot of eyes (or shall I say ears) to the band. Today, they’re touring consistently, playing festivals all over the world, are regulars at Carolina Rebellion and Download, and have even toured with the legendary Metallica! Fozzy have really found their sound and definitely know who they are as a band, more so now than ever before.
That brings us now, with the release of Judas. This album is miles ahead from all the rest in every area. The songs are just really simple and catchy. They’ve once again proven that they’re the real deal and are to be taken seriously!
The title track of the album, Judas, is in your face. It’s a great example of the bands ability to rock hard and has such a catchy chorus. The lyrics are a bit darker than what Fozzy usually does, but it makes it all the more special. Next up is Drinkin’ With Jesus, a fun dancy rock tune that’s quite the headbopper. Painless comes third, a slowed down melodic power ballad, followed by Weight of my World which could easily be the child of Lights go Out from 2014’s Do You Wanna Start A War. Wordsworth Way follows suit with Painless in terms of energy but is still a completely different song. Things pick up again with Burn Me Out, a bangin’ hard anthem with tons of energy that can easily be a club song. Three Days in Jail is still heavy and incorporates rap with rock, sounding like something you’d hear from Linkin Park. Elevator comes in next and when I hear it I can’t help but think how much Chris can sound like Ozzy, and I seriously enjoy the melody. Running with the Bulls and Capsized keep the mood up with very catchy chorus’. Finally, we get to the finish line with Wolves at Bay, a traditional heavy metal song with a guitar Solo by Rich Ward that just goes to show how underrated he can be.
What started out as a cover band has evolved into one of the best rock bands on the scene. I really look forward to what the future holds for this band and how they’ll top Judas. The bar has been set high!