Released: 2012, Century Media
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
If people haven’t taken Fozzy seriously in the past I can see why – I mean a band fronted by retired-returned professional wrestler Chris Jericho that essentially started out covering classic rock and metal tracks, it sounds like short-lived spoof of an idea. But with Sin And Bones being the band’s fifth studio album, Fozzy’s critics have taken many a chair to the face as Jericho and bandmates, who include Rich Ward of Stuck Mojo, are no longer just proving their sincerity but continuing to raise their game.
First in the ring is ‘Spider In My Mouth’ which has a surprisingly Alice Cooper start – all distorted spoken word, creepy ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ music box tune, and equally freaky chanting child, but reverts to a more earnestly melodic affair at the chorus. Built upon some pretty hefty grooves, for me the track is let down more by the fact that lyrically the chorus and verses don’t necessarily seem to be pages from the same story.
The album then comes to its first single ‘Sandpaper’ which features guest vocals from Avenged Sevenfold’s M Shadows, who blends well with Jericho without leaving him much in the shade. With a slight whiff of Ward’s nu-metally past, it’s a damn catchy number that like its namesake has smoothed down any rough edges making it a prime candidate for commercial cranking.
Also catching the ear is the fists-high ‘She’s My Addiction’, which has a streak of Motley-Crue fun at its heart, along with a guest solo from Motörhead’s Phil Campbell. ‘Blood Happens’ and title ‘Sin And Bones’ are relatively similar riff-propelled numbers, but the former includes a horrible attempt at growled vocals, which should never be repeated for the sake of us all.
Taking a little while to get going, but worth the wait is Metallica/Maiden-epic chaser ‘A Passed Life’, which is one of the best tracks on the album due to its killer closing solo, as is ‘Shine Forever’ for its sludgy sound. ‘Inside My Head’ is a classic rock ballad construct, but for some reason the opening drum and guitar parts remind me too much of Eminem’s ‘Stan’, which turned me off completely. It’s still better than the cheesily-clunky ‘Dark Passenger’, which meanders along until it reaches the heavy part and a solo that saves it from mediocrity.
Getting in the final punch is ‘Storm The Beaches’ - Fozzy’s attempt at portraying the emotion of a soldier at the Normandy landings, which Jericho’s vocals and the dodgy songwriting doesn’t quite match up. As such, the gravitas of the situation is undermined a little, but the track does boast some of the strongest instrumentation in terms of galloping riffs and well-worked solos.
Sin And Bones won’t necessarily be held up to thunderous applause, or winning any shiny belt, but as a modern heavy album it does a good job of mixing different influences and styles from across hard rock and metal without ending up on the ropes. Through this, and previous release Chasing The Grail Fozzy have created a strong platform for themselves, which may yet see them tangle with the big boys. And as this isn’t a scripted fight I can’t tell you if they’ll win it or not ;)
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs