by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
FOZZY – Boombox
Released – 6th May 2022
Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group
This is the first studio album in 5 years for Fozzy, the powerhouse rock band fronted by the larger than life Chris Jericho, one-time professional wrestler and vocalist for the band for over 20 years now.
Chris Jericho says; “Judas…both the album and the song was a HUGE breakthrough for Fozzy. It took us to the next level and positioned us as legit players at rock radio and as a live draw. As a result, we knew that we had to follow up with the album of a lifetime. Boombox is that album!! You’ve already heard the top ten singles Nowhere To Run and Sane, both kick ass, hooky songs that set the tone for this record. But it’s, I Still Burn, Army Of One and Relax, that in my opinion are going to take this album and this band even further up the rock n roll ladder!”
The band has been through a couple of personnel changes, with PJ Farley (Trixter) playing bass with the band since 2020, and drummer Grant Brooks (Through Fire) joinng for this record. The lineup is completed by guitarists Rich Ward and Billy Grey who handle guitars and the extensive programming.
The album opens with the crushing Sane, with a massive slab of a riff from Ward, and this should be the scene-setting beast for the rest of the record. There are hints of ‘nu-metal’ in the vocal effects, the stripped back pre-chorus, and some of the beats, and there is no doubt of the power of Jericho’s voice, whether assisted by effects or not. You can imagine a packed concert-hall floor just pulsing as the crowd goes nuts to this one.
Sadly the track that follows has a bit too much of a dance-floor beat, although you can’t deny the heavy guitar and synth riffs that drive the tempo, with slick but too-short ripper of a solo. I Still Burn is overladen with harmonised vocals that slightly detract from the riffs being dealt out by Ward and Grey underneath. Purifier is a straight-out rocker with a classic riff, and the chorus which has a tasty melodic catch. The guitars in the pre-chorus provide a great contrast between verse and chorus, and there are lead guitar breaks which swoop and soar.
A change of pace and tone arrives with the ballad Army Of One, which follows a well-trodden formula, and has a tinge of old-school country rock, polished and expanded through the consistent if highly-processed production values. Ugly On The Inside has a bit of a Marilyn Manson or Gary Numan feel to the opening verse, and another super-catchy chorus.
Covers can be really effective on rock albums, but I am not sure that the testosterone-fuelled Fozzy audience will really get the inclusion of gay disco anthem Relax, and just how this would come across with Jericho singing the words – it’s a workmanlike effort, but Sigue Sigue Sputnik would do it better. Back to the ‘nu-metal’ catchiness with Nowhere To Run, which again is heavy on the synths and sequencing, but this makes it very radio-friendly, but does not really deliver the power it promises.
My Great Wall is a little more dark and distorted, and this provides more of a solid punch from the slabs of guitar, and the immense chorus. The track descends into a maelstrom of guitars, bass and drums before the briefest of stops for a breath, before tearing back into the mammoth chorus…..this one makes you really want to turn the volume up. The tone gets darker and heavier again with What Hell Is Like, with some solid work on the drums from Brooks that really accent the power of the riff. This is probably the most complex and heaviest track on the album, and features another slick guitar-solo and some complementary lead breaks through the chorus. Fozzy can do industrial synth-metal well with the super-sized harmonies and slick production from Johnny Andrews.
The feel continues through Omen, which does more of the same, with another great hook-line in the chorus, and a bit of a schlock-horror rap in the delivery. The Worst Is Yet To Come sees Jericho show off more of his vocal range – the vocals are generally pretty clean throughout, and there are many layers to the harmonies from the production. There is a terrific little segment mid-song that allows Ward to let rip on the guitar before diving back into the chorus again.
The album closes with The Vulture Club which epitomises the dark, heavy, programme-heavy modern rock/metal which seems to be the audience that Fozzy is directed towards. This has more distortion in the voice, a great bassline from PJ Farley, a death-metal rap prelude before a demonic and rapid-fire guitar-solo over a pulsating breakdown section, which perhaps would have been more effective earlier in the song-list.
We get the chance to see Fozzy and the band when the mighty Silverback Touring bring them over with Buckcherry towards the end of the year, which looks to be another inspired double-bill, along with Australian migrants Massive heading home for a few long-delayed shows.
Website : https://fozzyrock.com/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/fozzyrock
Instagram : https://instagram.com/fozzyrock
Pic – Adrienne Beacco
Pic – Adrienne Beacco