When I was asked if I’d like to do a review on the new Fozzy album, Boombox, I said, “Hell yes!” I have enjoyed the previous seven studio albums from Fozzy so to be able to get a pre-release version of their eighth studio album got me very excited. As a regular contributor here at All Music Magazine with concert photos and reviews this would be my first album review. I’ve wanted to catch Fozzy in concert for a long time and it seems as though wherever I am, they are playing in a different location. So, I have never seen Fozzy live as of yet. I have gotten to meet and talk to Chris Jericho at a Metal Allegiance show in Anaheim, California back in 2017 when I was hired to document the show and the behind-the-scenes happenings that evening. I will say that Chris Jericho is a really nice guy and fun to talk to and he was really cool to me that day. I don’t believe he has cut his hair since then! Here’s an image from 2017 of Chris Jericho and Mark Menghi of Metal Allegiance.
Chris Jericho and Mark Menghi – Metal Allegiance show 2017. Photo by Scott Diussa
Now, onto Boombox. First of all, I do like the title considering I’m a product of the 1980s and I have had my share of boomboxes not unlike the one pictured here on the album cover. It’s a cool nod to that decade that produced so much great music. This new Fozzy album is certainly in-line with the previous albums so the diehard fans will enjoy adding Boombox to their album collection!
Fozzy band members:
Chris Jericho (lead vocals)
Rich Ward (guitar, vocals)
Billy Grey (guitar)
PJ Farley (bass)
Grant Brooks (Drums)
Boombox Track Listing
Great song to lead off Boombox! Very memorable melody and really great hook to this song. I really like the industrial vibe to the overall guitar sound. Lots of vocal layers showing off Chris Jericho’s abilities as a lead singer. The chorus with him screaming, “Sane” really reminds me of what Morgan Rose does in Sevendust. Brutal in-your-face for a song chorus. Then it lets you catch your breath with some breakdowns in there but then quickly ramps it all back up. Nice guitar solo by Rich Ward and I would have loved to have heard another eight bars at least!
2. “I Still Burn”
This is the most commercial track off of the album which is why it was probably released as a single. Another catchy tune with lots of vocal layers and a very big chorus. The track starts off with a good build up with Chris Jericho’s vocals then adding in a cool drum groove from Grant Brooks and blasting into the heavy chorus with the sing along melody. It continues on with a straight beat leading through the next verse into the heavy chorus again. The bridge leads into another short but fiery guitar solo that I would have loved to have heard more of!
I think this is one of my favorite tracks on Boombox. It was my first time through the album and it still is up there after many listens. I really like the heavy guitar sound on this track and the opening guitar riff. Super heavy and not as commercial as “I Still Burn”. The chorus is memorable and offsets the heavy verse with a great melody. The guitar solo (can you guess I’m a guitarist!) is well crafted and the right length for the song. My favorite lyric in this tune has to be at the end of verse 2 with, “To justify the dirt, Recite your chapter verse, While throw up in my own mouth”.
4. “Army of One”
Here’s our ballad on Boombox. It starts with some really nice acoustic guitar and piano with a bit of cello and strings in there. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but Chris Jericho tends to sound a lot like Ozzy Osbourne at times and this song you can clearly hear the comparison in the first chorus. I like the heavy guitar in the pre-chorus and how the overall sound builds into the full chorus. Again… Rich Ward had me going on that solo but it ended too soon! More Rich! Just a bit more! You really had it going in this song! Maybe we all can hope for a bit of an extension to that solo when Fozzy plays this live. This is simply a good, solid song.
5. “Ugly On The Inside”
This is a very funky and spooky song! Starting with some half step guitar chord slides and a strange little laugh in the back of the mix gives it a very creepy feel. A song about a hot girl that is really not a very nice person. The lyrics really paint a picture for sure. The layers of kids singing in the chorus still add to the horror type of vibe this song has. I wonder who inspired this song! The pre-chorus goes, “Strike a pose, your cage is made of gold. Underneath the soul is spoiled.” On a musical note, I like the bass sound and bass line in this song. Give it a listen!
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover of the song “Relax”. I love new takes on classic songs and I will be adding this to my Cool Covers playlist for sure. I don’t need to say much about this song since it is so recognizable and well known. Did Fozzy do this tune justice? Yes! But, I will say that it was almost too similar to the original version. That isn’t a bad thing but if you are going to redo a classic song like this maybe take it in a new direction with keeping true to the original. I wanted to hear it go more in an over-the-top heavy metal sort of way. Fozzy has released a lot of cover tunes and this one is still a great version to be added to their catalog. I’d think that this song could be a good live show opener to get the crowd going! Just a suggestion.
7. “Nowhere to Run”
Starting with a very cool, driving rhythm then having a very laid back feel to it this song is one of my next favorites on Boombox. Nice bass line to go with the drums in the verses and some cool swelling guitar to bring it to a very catchy chorus. Just a solid song that I enjoy a lot. Simpler song and I like it.
8. “My Great Wall”
This is a more industrial sounding song with some big guitars and big keyboards right at the beginning. I like the way Chris Jericho starts in lower register on this one and then adds in the doubled higher register vocals to add an extra dynamic to the verses. Again, a very sing-able chorus with a good cadence to it. Some great drumming in the instrumental section in middle with some serious drum fills by Grant Brooks.
9. “What Hell Is Like”
A spooky, groovy and very heavy song. This song has a very laid back type of beat to it with a cool guitar riff at the beginning and throughout the song. I have to go back to my Ozzy Osbourne comparison again not only on Chris Jerico’s vocal style but this song sounds like it could have been on an Ozzy album. It has a simpler guitar solo by Rich Ward and it really fits the song.
I will also call this song another one that sounds industrial to me with the really thick guitar and the keys at the beginning. Reminds me of the band Orgy and their Candyass album. Definitely some scary and (at the time of writing this) relevant lyrics to this song. When the chorus has in it, “And now the more I know the less I trust. We’re in the end of times so isn’t it obvious.” One thing I like in this song is how the drums in the verses go from a more tom filled beat to a straight beat with more guitar kicking in. It gives it a definite drive to get to the chorus. Just a heavy song… I’m liking it.
11. “The Worst Is Yet To Come”
Wow… all I can say about this song is… Bummer Man, he delivers! Yikes! Where did the lyrics to this song come from? Not sure I want to know the answer to that question. A very dark and looming song with some keys in the background that add to the overall dark sound. “Don’t connect the dots to a true lost cause, ’cause you don’t really know me at all. Hold on tight the worst is yet to come”! And a very spooky sounding guitar instrumental part in the middle with what sounds like a Whammy pedal in there. Like other songs on Boombox the chorus is still very catchy.
12. “The Vulture Club”
“Driving” is a good word for how this song hits you in the face and that somewhat dissonant chord that Rich Ward plays before the verses sure gives you a head tilt as it is not a predictable sound. The bridge vocals are very deep and heavy and not something you hear from Chris Jericho very often. Then enter the guitar solo with the Whammy pedal. A very cool instrumental break for sure. Then ending on that driving guitar line really wraps up the whole Boombox album.
My personal thoughts on this album changed each time I listened to it all the way through. After a half dozen full listens, the last two times with headphones, I found myself getting into the songs more and more and really hearing the hooks in each song. I actually found myself enjoying the song, “Sane” even more after watching the video multiple times. “Purifier” is still my favorite track and that’s because it has the most raw guitar riff on the album and I really like the chorus to that song. If I had to make a comment on what I would have like different on Boombox is less big production and more straight up songs like “Purifier”.
Fozzy has released two of the songs along with videos for each from Boombox. One for the song, “Sane” and the other for “I Still Burn”. Check out both videos below. Fozzy traditionally puts out some really unique videos such as the video for “Judas” from their album, Judas. Being a video guy I still think that is a fascinating video! Then comes the video for “Sane”. I wonder how many times the band had to ride that roller coaster to get the correct amount of takes for editing! Just a fun video! And, was the Jackson guitar actually sacrificed?
Each Fozzy album seems to up the level of production and maybe we’ve hit the top on this album. But, I really enjoyed listening to and reviewing this album.
“Solid songs and very memorable hooks with great vocals by Chris Jericho and great guitar playing by Rich Ward!”
My message to Rich Ward… more guitar riffs and longer solos! Good job on this one!
Album Rating: 8/10
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