Poor old Fozzy. It seems like their fight to be recognised by the more discerning metal buff is harder than one of Chris Jericho’s tussles in the ring. Sure, it’s easy to mock these dudes when Jericho is auto-tuned up to his eyeballs, and there is a pervasive nod to nu metal throughout their sonic portfolio. Yet within that gleaming pile of over-processed bro metal fodder lies a swathe of catchy-as-hell tunes that deserves at least a passing glance.
Boombox, Fozzy’s eighth studio offering, is an album of highly stylised, somewhat brainless but ultimately very catchy metal packed with layers of artificially enhanced riffs and electronic elements crafted for mass consumption. Bruising behemoth Sane is a rock club classic in the making, boasting the best of Rich Ward’s gargantuan riffs. Matching Sane on its hookiness is Nowhere To Run, an uncomplicated track begging for radio airplay. Likewise, Purifier is a simple yet effective crotch-rocket of a track lifted by Ward’s nods to Mötley Crüe riffage. Meanwhile Omen, for all of Jericho’s schlock horror lyricism, not only has an insanely catchy chorus but benefits from producer Johnny Andrews’ electronic brushstrokes. Even the rappy moments are forgiveable when you have melodies this infectious, especially on the sauntering songcraft of What Hell Is Like.
For all of Boombox’s merits there are, unfortunately, some clangers. I Still Burn sounds like it is one step away from being remixed into an Avicii-style dancefloor filler; country-inspired ballad Army of One feels gratuitous; while their cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax is utterly toe-curling. But then again, when else are you going to hear an Undisputed WWF Champion singing about the careful art of delayed ejaculation? Cerebral, introspective metal this is not, but Fozzy know how to write catchy metal-lite for the masses and Boombox, whether you like it or not, is full of it.