FOZZY
"Judas"

(Century Media )

01. Judas
02. Drinkin' with Jesus
03. Painless
04. Weight of My World
05. Wordsworth Way
06. Burn Me Out
07. Three Days in Jail
08. Elevator
09. Running with the Bulls
10. Capsized
11. Wolves at Bay

RATING: 7.5/10

It's fascinating watching a professional wrestler break into mainstream entertainment, or any medium where he doesn't have to shred his body to eek out a living. Mickey Rourke's incredible portrayal of Randy "The Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler", a film based on the secret lives of numerous pro grapplers of yesteryear (some folks attesting the late Sylvester Ritter, aka Junkyard Dog), taught us that wrestling is a brutal way to earn a paycheck.

When Hulk Hogan unleashed Hulkamania worldwide, you couldn't turn your head anywhere without finding his bronzed biker face and flexed pythons gleaming back at you. While most of Hogan's doings outside of the then-called WWF were hella-cheesy, the "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling" cartoon is the stuff of greater infamy than his dark side NWO sanction, what rooty poo candy ass doesn't like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson?

We also have Chris Jericho, who has turned a hard rock experiment into a long-running, viable commodity. Seriously, did anyone ever think FOZZY would make it to its seventh album?

The whole prospect made sense ever since wrestler entrance themes became less posh and comedic and more agro. Every wrestler who didn't opt for a hip hop promenade wanted his own version of MOTORHEAD's "The Game", which helped light up Triple H's explosive skulks to the ring. Chris Jericho, one of the quicker and flashier characters in pro-wrestling history, was a natural candidate to take a stab at rock music. Whether you're a fan or not, give him some cred. This was a bigger upset of the odds than the Strongbows taking the tag-team belts from Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito. Old school, baby.

Even before FOZZY's newest album, "Judas", hit the streets in October, the title track blitzed to the fore as Sirius XM's number one rock song; a second single, "Drinkin' with Jesus" quickly followed. Jericho and his founding partner Rich Ward, STUCK MOJO, are on fire, suffice it to say. Old-school promotion, baby.

If there's any differences to "Judas" as an album, it's that it's occasionally heavier (i.e. "Running with the Bulls" and the perfectly nasty ""Wolves at Bay"), but at large, it's status quo with one polished blast of agro pop after another. The title track has a massive swing and a gluey chorus as Chris Jericho suavely snarls and wails his way into your throat along the trail of Paul Di Leo's bass grooves. The peppy and grimy "Drinkin' with Jesus" has been done to death by FOZZY's numerous contemporaries, straight down to the replicated chunk chord patterns and stereotypical skid mark at the end of a bar. Still, there's something stupidly fun about "Drinkin' with Jesus" that puts a cheeky foot over the line of sacrilege without going too far—though it's not necessarily advisable to enter the confessional and utter, "Father forgive me, I got fucked up with Jesus last night."

"Painless", "Three Days in Jail" and "Capsized" ride some of the same tired tropes already staked out by SEVENDUST and NONPOINT. Yet, there are some worthwhile moments to this album, like "Burn Me Out", which carries a pumping dance groove and blatant pop sway that works beneath its stealthy burp chords. Call it Chris Jericho's Gaga moment. Before that, "Weight of My World" also shakes its ass, but with a harder groove and gnarly riffs with a subliminal funk thread whisking behind it all. It's by far the most interesting track on "Judas", outside of the title cut.

Rich Ward is still a fret blazer, peeling off tasty licks and wicked solos (most impressively on "Wordsworth Way") while Chris Jericho re-establishes himself as a unique voice in far-too-familiar terrain. What FOZZY is doing may be redundant, but the argument that it's working can't be taken away. It's certainly less painful than pulling off wrestling moves, finishers like Walls of Jericho, aka "Liontamers."

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).