By Ryan Falla
Well how about this, beloved WWE wrestler Chris Jericho brings us his 7th full-length album, ‘Judas’, with his band Fozzy. Chris Jericho has been a constant figure in the metal scene the last decade, rubbing elbows with all breeds of metal and rock superstar. His passion for metal allowed us quite the gift, as the last record I listened to from a WWE star was Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s debut. I was holding hope that ‘Judas’ is as fun to listen to as other works by wrestling stars.
What strikes me is the apt songwriting displayed by Fozzy, regardless of whether you have a taste for hard rock or not, the fact is these tracks are wonderfully structured. An album that sounds like it was written by an actual musician? That’s hard to come by in the landscape of athlete-fronted music, there’s no disconnect between passion and ability with the musical prowess of Fozzy.
If you follow Fozzy you likely are already keyed into the ‘Judas’ music video that’s exploded on the internet since its release. One thing that trouble many hard rock bands is the lack of disparity between tracks. The tonality between most is almost cut-and-paste, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from standard hard rock. Opening tracks ‘Judas’, ‘Drinking with Jesus’ and ‘Painless’ take on a tone that, while not cookie cutter, offer a lack of disparity.
Again, that seems to be an issue with hard rock within itself, too often does it encourage “safe” songwriting over exploring derivatives and experimentation. There’s a difficulty in this because while the tracks are all solid overall it doesn’t create an enticing album.
The track ‘Three Days in Jail’ is one hell of a ride though. It has a strong, yet standard kick-off, and barely a minute in you’ll find yourself running face-first into rap-verse breakdowns. Yeah man, this happens to be one of those records. This is the point where it was became clear there is a lot of playing safe with this record and the application of formulas that hold little water.
There’s almost too much consistency in ‘Judas’ that the sudden outbreak of rapping comes off as a silly shock. Although I do have to say the last quarter of the record kicks it up WAY harder than the rest of the record. Now, this isn’t to say they go full on Motörhead mode, but the riffs take on a more metal focus than the hardrock centric tracks previous to this act in the record.
‘Running with the Bulls’, ‘Capsized’ and ‘Wolves at Bay’ are filled with legitimate headbanger riffage. What truly shocks me is the closing track ‘Wolves at Bay’; the entire record takes on a standard tone and then out of nowhere you’re hit with a flavoring of thrash/power metal. It’s easily the best track on the record, but also the last which requires either a great deal of patience or a disposition to skipping tracks.
Unfortunately a strong album cannot be made from a landscape of tracks so overtly similar in form they wash in and out of each other. There are some solid standouts such as the last handful of the record, and arguably the opening track.
Even if you’re a die hard fan of Chris Jericho I can’t see ‘Judas’ holding a special place in your record collection. In fact I’m not sure if it would hold a place in your collection at all. ‘Judas’ is a very solid album, but that’s all it tends to be, and after a while decency wears thin when excellence is not fulfilled. As it is with most hard rock, so too is it with ‘Judas’, the 7th studio record from Fozzy and Chris Jericho.
If you like what you’ve read/seen, buy a shirt and help keep Metal Assault running full time!
Come to one of our events!
Record Label: Century Media
Release Date: October 13th 2017
01. Judas (4:11)
02. Drinkin With Jesus (3:56)
03. Painless (4:00)
04. Weight Of My World (3:18)
05. Wordsworth Way (4:48)
06. Burn Me Out (4:04)
07. Three Days In Jail (4:17)
08. Elevator (2:50)
09. Running With The Bulls (3:52)
10. Capsized (4:16)
11. Wolves At Bay (3:09)
Total Duration: 42:41