Released: 2017, Century Media
I admit that I never bought into Fozzy. I always considered them a novelty act, a side project for WWE’s Chris Jericho to sow his rock star aspirations. Yet, here we are in 2017 and JUDAS is technically the band’s seventh album, though the first two releases were mostly comprised of cover songs. Fozzy has persisted and in the process garnered rave reviews from some metal critics that I respect. So, I am diving in here for the first time and this review will evaluate JUDAS on its own merits, not in relation to a perspective of their entire catalog (‘cause I have not heard it).
The title track kicks things off, and it is catchy and uncomplicated. Jericho delivers some decent vocal melodies, enunciating clearly but with some aggression over the expectedly detuned guitars. “Drinkin’ With Jesus” continues with a mid-paced tempo that focuses on groove and a chorus extolling the merits of drinking alone. Come “Painless”, it was clear that JUDAS had revealed all its limited secrets to me, its measure fully taken. “Weight Of The World” sounds like so many modern hard rock bands, that it is obviously a tune designed for radio airplay.
The problems that I have with JUDAS do not include Chris Jericho, whose vocals are often impressive. The tempos and guitar riffs are the real weaknesses here. Everything is just barely mid-paced and the riffs are dull and simplistic, not as sparse or boring as Rob Zombie’s guitars, but close. Like Zombie, the guitars frequently have that repeating, echoey delay effect on it that quickly overstays its welcome.
Everything is down tuned, thus sounding like everyone else playing modern hard rock, which is what this is. I would not call this metal, though people who cautiously and sparingly dip into the metal pool might gleefully raise the metal salute (thumb out, mind you) when a Fozzy song comes on. No, this is sanitized enough to bring in non-metal listeners and get some radio play to boot. It ain’t bad, but it is just too simplistic and safe for my tastes. Fans of Saliva and HELLYEAH will almost certainly already have discovered Fozzy, but if not then you will find much to appreciate in JUDAS.