Fozzy - Do You Wanna Start a War (Century Media)

Release Date: 
20 Jul 2014 - 11:30pm

The last time I spoke to Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho, around the time of the release of their last album, the largely excellent Sin and Bones (2012), he told me that he saw his band as musically ‘the bastard child of Journey and Metallica’. After a few listens to Do You Wanna Start a War, the bands new outing for Century Media, I can only assume that that mission statement has changed drastically over the last couple of years – and not necessarily for the better.

For what might have been the band’s triumphant entry into ‘the big time’ on the back of that afore-mentioned heady clash of styles has actually become more of an apologetic limp back into the same arena they did so much to leave last time around. Much of …War is comprised of lukewarm post-grunge and superannuated nu-metal riffage (ie just what US radio loves to play) mixed up with the odd memorable pop metal refrain (the perky Unstoppable might just be the best Pink song she never recorded), with a bit of lip service paid to the bands metal roots on the likes of the grinding opening riff to Scarecrow and the album’s standout tracks, Brides of Fire and Witchery, which is easily the heaviest thing here and actually closes the album leaving you wanting more  - quite a feat when you’ve been confounded by almost everything else present.

To say this is a disappointment is an understatement. There’s nothing here in the league of Sandpaper or Spider in My Mouth, with the likes of the title track and the strange, misplaced-sounding Lights Go Out (top 40 pop fluff meets Sepultura anyone?) offering scant reward to those listening in the hope of something similar, or even better, than Sin and Bones.

It’s not actively awful, of course, although the decision to cover Abba does come close to signifying a certain desperation in the camp – It’s not as if metal bands covering Sweden’s finest is a unique thing in 2014, so why not go the whole hog and actually cover one of the band’s classics rather than a poorer song (SOS) that hasn’t been covered thus far – but after the band made such massive advances with Sin and Bones it is disappointing to see them playing things so safely here.