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By Rebecca Blaze, NYC Contributor
Monday, October 2, 2017 @ 12:07 AM

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Century Media Records

Okay. I’m going to be 100% honest right off the bat. Since the second I got the Judas CD in my clutches, I was smitten. Absolutely, wholly, completely, entirely… some other synonym for ‘fully’… smitten. I have not for the life of me been able to stop playing this album, and I am totally okay with that. I know a plethora of people won’t give FOZZY a first chance, let alone a second, solely because Chris Jericho is the singer. And being honest, yet again, I was one of those people for the longest time. I go on the KISS Kruise every year, and in 2015 when FOZZY was announced as one of the support bands, I groaned. The first thought in my head was, ‘the wrestler? But why?! Why does he have a band? Why have I never heard of this band? They can’t be that good if I’ve never heard of them,’ and wrote them off.

Never have I been so wrong. And that’s hard for me to admit because dammit, I’m always right.

After pressing play on Judas for the first time, I was sent spiraling into a relatively unknown, at least to me, FOZZY abyss. From the first notes on the titular track “Judas” to the final notes on the closer, “Wolves At Bay” I was, as cliché as it is to say, lost in the music. Ever the heavy rockers, Chris Jericho, Rich “The Duke” Ward, Billy Grey, Frank Fontsere, and Phil Di Leo have once again proven to us that they know exactly what they are doing. While Judas differs from FOZZY’s previous albums as it is stripped down and not nearly as theatrical as its predecessors, it still falls perfectly in line with everything this band of merry gentlemen has provided us with in the past.

“Judas” has been out since May as a single, and I fell in love with it immediately. Months later, I still have no issue, no guilt, about playing it five or ten times in a row and rocking out just as hard as the very first time I heard it, live, in a dark venue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was there taking photos, but you best believe I put my camera down the second Jericho belted out the first line in a way that only he can. “Drinkin’ With Jesus”, which recently came out as the second single of the much-anticipated album, comes up next, and I must admit, for a fleeting second, I was a bit concerned about the song’s subject matter based off the name. Any worry I may have had was quickly dashed as I realized that, while still being heavy rock, is just as catchy as any pop song you may hear on the radio today. And I firmly believe it should have a spot on the radio! After listening “Drinkin’ With Jesus” multiple times, I came to the realization that at the same part of the song, every single time, when Chris Jericho’s vocals kick back in, I get chills. Musical frisson is a real thing, and it causes your brain to experience a large influx of dopamine. If you are part of the 50% of the population that doesn’t get to experience musical frisson, it basically gives you the same feeling you may get from the pleasure of eating potato chips or the pleasure of having sex. How’s that for a knowledge bomb during a CD review? Hey Chris, keep doing what you’re doing. Seriously.

The third track on the album, “Painless” has a fantastic beat to it, and instantly makes me think of things that aren’t so sweet and innocent. Speaking of sex, if you’ve got a playlist that you listen to during the deed, be sure to add this song to it. You’ll see exactly what I mean. For whatever reason, when I hear this song, I think of chains and leather. I’ll leave you to the deduction. “Weight Of My World” isn’t as strong as the first three tracks, but is by no means a bad song. There isn’t a single bad song on this album, to tell you the truth. It fits right in with the rest of the album style wise, and for that, I cannot complain.

Halfway through the album we come to “Wordsworth Way”, which, much like “Weight Of My World”, isn’t as strong as some of the tracks, but it is a welcome change in this case. FOZZY slows it down just a bit with this one, but it still doesn’t seem out of place for the overarching theme they appear to be going for. It is still a fantastic song that has relatable lyrics, and is well worth a spot on your playlist. Not the sex playlist I was talking about… the regular playlist. We’ll get back to that sex playlist, hold on. Don’t you worry your pretty little head.

When I listened to “Three Days In Jail” that was when I finally knew, no more questions asked, that this album was instantly going onto my cell phone. Heavy rock is married to rap is married to screaming in this one. It is by far the most exciting track on the entire album. “Three Days In Jail” is my second favorite song FOZZY has provided us with on Judas and in the three days I’ve had the album, has already garnered 75 plays in my iTunes. Yeah. That good. It has a very heavy intro, which is to be expected at this point, that sets the tone for the whole song. The first time you hear the rap segment, provided by the talented “Hyro da Hero”, it’s a bit jarring, but only for a split second. You soon realize that it perfectly meshes with the rest of the track, and that it just wouldn’t be “Three Days In Jail” without it. The guitar solo provided by Rich Ward is a perfect segue into the screaming portion of the song, and expertly rounds out the eargasm provided to you in a short 4 minutes and 17 seconds.

Remember when I said we’d get back to that sexy time playlist I was talking about? Add “Elevator” as well. It is my favorite song on the whole album, and the only disappointing thing about it is that it also happens to be the shortest, clocking in at a mere 2 minutes and 50 seconds. If you don’t believe me about putting it on the playlist, pay very close attention to the lyrics. While not nearly as obvious as, say, “Lights Go Out” off FOZZY’s Do You Wanna Start A War album, it is still enough to make you feel things.

The first words that came to mind when I heard “Running With The Bulls” were ‘heavy but delicious.’ The lyrics are clear and concise, and I love that. I can guarantee you that if this song had come out when I was in high school, I would have used it to explain my teenage angst on more than one occasion. Considering I was that kind of teenager, putting my faith in “Running With The Bulls” speaks a lot for just how fantastic the song truly is. “Capsized” is another fantastic song, though it doesn’t stick out to me like some of the other tracks. It just is more of the heavy rock that we expect from FOZZY, but hey, it’s still good.

I could not think of a better song to close out the album than “Wolves At Bay”. It brings home what we’ve seen throughout the ten tracks prior, such as the raw, heavy instrumentals and more of Chris Jericho’s remarkable vocal work. I fall in love with the chorus time and time again, and this song only continues to grow on me with every listen. I’m confident it will grow on you, too.

I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again now—I am in love with this album. So many of the tracks have a raw grittiness to them that you don’t get to experience often, and I am glad I found it here. When I did an interview with Jericho earlier this year, he had said to me, “…the only people that don’t like our band are the ones that haven’t heard us.” Initially, I disagreed with the man, thinking he was just touting an 18-year-old brainchild. However, after having gone to a handful of FOZZY shows, as well as having listened to every song from the beginning until now, he wasn’t wrong. They got me in with “Judas” the song, and they are keeping me here with Judas the album. Chris, Frank, Billy, Rich, and Paul—consider me a proud follower of the church of FOZZY. You’ve won my stubborn ass over, and I’m willing to bet that you will make a lot of current FOZZY fans thrilled with this release, as well as win over a bunch of new ones.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of Judas in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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