Courtesy: Century Media Century Media Records
Veteran hard rock band Fozzy launched the latest leg of its “Judas Rising” tour on Friday. The tour, which currently runs through September 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, includes performances in Charlotte and Jacksonville, North Carolina on September 19 and 20 respectively. The tour’s launch also follows the release of the band’s latest single, ‘Burn Me Out,’ which is taken from the band’s most recent album, Judas (2017). Judas is an interesting change of pace for Fozzy at least stylistically speaking. That is not a bad thing, either. In fact, the change in the band’s sound exhibited in this record is a big part of what makes the record such an interesting new offering. ‘Painless,’ which comes a little early in the record’s run, is just one example of that welcome change. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Elevator,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another example of the change exhibited in the record this time out, and another of the most notable of those examples, too. It will be discussed a little later. The full-throttle ‘Wolves at Bay,’ which closes out the album is one more example of the change that is evident in this record that makes it another interesting new effort. Of course it is not the last of the songs that shows the change from the band this time out. Keeping that in mind, there are also some more familiar works early on in the record. When those songs are considered along with the songs noted here and those not noted, the whole of Judas proves to be a record that presents Fozzy at the top of its game.
Veteran hard rock band Fozzy’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2017’s Judas is one of the best albums that this band has released to date. Simply put, it presents Fozzy at the top of its game. That is thanks to the growth and change exhibited by the band throughout the album. The first real sign of that change comes early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Painless.’ Musically speaking, this song is one of the most radio friendly songs that the band has composed to date. At the same time, it doesn’t sacrifice the hard rock edge for which the band has come to be known in its previous albums in order to achieve that accessibility. It shows similarities to works from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch and other similar hard rock acts, showing again, that accessibility.
The song’s lyrical content shows a certain growth, too, as it presents a subject in a distinctly difficult place emotionally and psychologically. What’s interesting here is that it doesn’t just come right out and give away the situation, perhaps intentionally leaving interpretation to apply to any difficult situation. This is inferred as front man Chris Jericho sings in the song’s lead verse, “My life trapped in between/A whisper and a scream/A suicide machine of my own making/You medicate my brain/Like needles in my veins/Consumed in your embrace/There’s no escaping/My fix I the misery/Won’t stop till the end of me/I can’t feel anything.” This alone comes across as perhaps someone dealing with the impacts of drug abuse. That is just this critic’s own take on this verse, though. He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Killing me one breath at a time/Caught in your web/I’m paralyzed/So go on and lay me down to rest/You make it painless, painless.” What’s even more interesting is that later in the song’s third verse, Jericho switches things up even more, singing, “Do you know what it’s like/To be hollow inside my life, my grave/Do you love me enough to finish me off/Don’t leave me here this way?” before reprising the song’s chorus. At this point, it’s as if Jericho is hinting at a relationship issue making things even more difficult. Simply put, this song is just as deep lyrically as it is musically. Keeping that in mind along with the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole shows quite a bit of positive and welcome growth and change from the band. That growth makes this song just one example of what makes Judas another strong effort from Fozzy. It is of course just one of the songs that serves to show that welcome change. ‘Elevator,’ which comes later in the record’s run, is another example of the change that makes Judas an interesting new offering from the band.
The growth exhibited in ‘Elevator’ comes instantly in its musical arrangement, as it opens with the driving guitar and keyboard lines that open the song. That combination, which runs through the course of the song, gives the song a little bit of an industrial sound. It’s a sound that Fozzy has used very rarely, if at all in its past records. The expert balance of the elements along with the solid time keeping (and Jericho’s vocal delivery) makes for an overall musical arrangement that itself shows even more the change in the band’s musical direction this time out. When that change is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the two elements make the song in whole another notable addition to Judas.
Where ‘Painless’ presented someone in a very low place, ‘Elevator’ is the polar opposite so to speak. Jericho sings here, “Step in/We’re gonna take a ride/To the promised land/Heaven is in our hands/We’ve all been down/There’s only one way out/’Cause when you’re feeling low/There’s only one way to go/I’m your elevator.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “We crawl through dirt/You know we’ve been hurt/Put your faith in me/’Cause I’ve got the golden key/So wave goodbye/I’m gonna get you high/High above the crowd/Nothing can stop us now/I’m your elevator.” It goes without saying that unlike ‘Painless,’ this song is quite the uplifting piece. Now whether the song was intentionally supposed to be religious in its wording or if that was purely metaphorical language is left for the band to explain. That aside, the positive, uplifting message here, coupled with the song’s equally empowering musical arrangement shows even more the change in Fozzy in this record. That exhibited change shows even more why the record in whole is some of the band’s best work to date. It still is not the last of the songs to show that noted change and how that change is a positive for the album in whole. ‘Wolves at Bay,’ the album’s closer, is one more strong example of that change and its positive impact on the album.
‘Wolves at Bay’ stands out – as with the previously discussed songs – in part because of its musical arrangement. Its opening bars present a thrash metal style approach before switching over to the band’s more familiar melodic hard rock sound a la Sevendust, etc. in the verses. That thrash metal approach, which again the band has rarely if ever, used returns in the chorus. The driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement is echoed in its equally powerful and aggressive lyrics. Jericho sings here, “You like to hunt/Your game is fear/I was the one, your souvenir/This is a fight/The one that you’ve been fighting for/You did incite the call for us to go to war.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Pushing and pushing/Giving me no choice/Humiliate/Intimidate/Until I hit the breaking point/Back to the wall/Keeping the wolves at bay/Fight my way out/’Cause it’s the only way.” The song continues on lyrically in similar fashion from here. Simply put, there’s a certain level of aggression and confidence here. This is someone saying, “back off, you’ve caused me to be this way, and I won’t hesitate to attack if I have to,” It’s a strong song and an interesting contrast to the album’s opener. Those powerful lyrics and the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement shows again the change evident from the band in this album. That welcome change also again shows what makes Judas such a strong new offering from Fozzy. When it is considered along with the previously discussed songs and the rest of this record, the whole of the album proves to be not just a strong new album, but some of the band’s best work to date.
Fozzy’s new album Judas is some of the band’s best work to date. That’s because while it does present some familiarity to listeners, it also exhibits continued positive growth and change from the band. That is exhibited in the song’s discussed here clearly. When they are considered along with the songs not discussed here, that change becomes even more evident and appreciated. When it is considered in whole, the result is a record that every Fozzy fan will enjoy. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Judas, Fozzy’s new tour, its latest news and more is available online now at:
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