By Greg Maki
From classic metal cover act to legitimate metal band of its own to rock radio stalwart, Fozzy has had one of the most unlikely paths to success imaginable. After the 2017 album and single “Judas” propelled the band to new heights, Chris Jericho, Rich Ward and company seem concerned mostly with sustaining that momentum on “Boombox,” their eighth album.
As a dyed in the wool metal fan, my instincts scream at me to dismiss this record with hardly a second thought, filled as it is with songs that are a better fit for dance floors than mosh pits and a glossy, electronic sheen erasing whatever edge there might once have been to the riffs and rhythms. But that would be a boring way to live, and the simple truth is that the majority of the songs on “Boombox” are incredibly catchy pieces of modern hard rock. Would they be better with a greater emphasis on Rich Ward’s guitar? Of course. You can never go wrong by featuring a man known as the “Duke of Metal.”
On “Boombox,” Fozzy has honed in on what made “Judas” such a hit, namely big, big choruses, as on “Sane,” “I Still Burn,” “Ugly on the Inside” (featuring a very familiar refrain) and “Nowhere to Run.” It’s no surprise that my favorites are the heavier tracks—“Purifier,” “What Hell Is Like,” “Omen”—though those still are as much about the hook as anything else here. There are a couple songs that just don’t work, however—the country-inflected ballad “Army of One” and a cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s 1983 hit “Relax” (done better by Powerman 5000 more than 20 years ago).
In short, if you’re looking for something heavy along the lines of past Fozzy albums such as “Chasing the Grail” (2010) or “Sin and Bones” (2012), calmly walk away. If you were into “Judas”—and based on the success of all the singles from that record, the majority of Fozzy fans fall into that category these days—”Boombox” probably is just what you’re looking for.
Century Media Records – May 6, 2022