Reviewed: April 2005
Released: 2005, Ash Records
Ah, the much-maligned Fozzy, the band that most metalheads love to hate, knowing them as “that idiot wrestler’s gimmick band”. Hey, fair enough – Fozzy’s first two albums were composed almost entirely of covers of classic 80’s metal songs, with Jericho’s passable, but nothing special vocals. The fact that the band included former Stuck Mojo mastermind Rich Ward was either a plus or minus depending on your tolerance for that band’s rap metal. Suffice it to say, up until now, Fozzy was very much a love/hate affair, with most true metal fans hating the band.
So here we are in 2005, Fozzy relegated to the tiny Ash Records for their latest, ALL THAT REMAINS – an album composed of all original material. Will Fozzy change people’s minds and gain new fans? Well, that remains to be seen, but they have definitely improved. Beginning with “Nameless Faceless”, the band’s opening salvo quickly establishes that the new Fozzy is an altogether more dangerous beast than ever before. With a good catchy riff and some excellent vocals from Jericho (say what you will, this guy is actually a pretty good singer, and FAR better than he used to be), the song hits hard. The next three songs all follow the same suit, with some excellent riff-rocking commercial metal, the Black Label Society-ish “Wanderlust” (which features a solo from Mr. Wylde himself!) being particularly awesome.
Throughout the first four songs there are hints of mallcore influence sneaking in, but it is kept at bay. Then, in track five (“The Test”), the band dives headfirst into the mallcore shit as Jericho busts out his rap “skillz” – ugh. The next song, “It’s a Lie” continues the trend, featuring a cameo from goofball rapper Bonecrusher. Again, ugh.
Thankfully, things get back on track with “Daze of the Weak” washing the band back to more purely metal waters. Lead guitarist Ryan Mallam even gets to show off his melodic talent on “Lazurus” (a great song!). Unfortunately the band ends the disc on the Shitknot-styled mallcore of “Born of Anger”, complete with sad attempts at death growls.
Overall, I have to say that I was very impressed by this disc. ALL THAT REMAINS is by far the best effort of Fozzy’s career, and even though it still won’t win them many metal fans, it is surely a step in the right direction. But please guys, grow up and leave the mallcore out next time.
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