Do You Wanna Start a War?

Written by: BW on 01/08/2014 23:28:53

There are a few surprises that Fozzy seem to bring up and two of them are quite prominent. The first one is that they’re fronted by ex-WWE wrestler Chris Jericho and to be honest, he isn’t too bad a singer when you first hear him. The second thing is that the band have been around, with Y2J fronting them, since the turn of the millennium. Their sound is a little towards the Alter Bridge range for those who also haven’t heard any of what they’ve done before now, but can a fresh hearing of their work produce an instant fan?

The title track is the starting block and to be fair, “Do You Wanna Start a War?” isn’t too shabby. The guitar work is solid and the song itself has enough power and throat to get some interest. What I would say is that after a couple of listens you really feel there is a limit on this, as the words are repeated, almost to the point that the verses are as identical as the chorus line, which always instigates laziness to me. It does manage to sound okay though.

“Bad Tattoo” has some nice riff work, particularly noticeable at the beginning, as well as the song itself having some decent changes of tempo. What is noticeable is that the band are pretty tight, but there does seem to be a basic level in certain other areas, but it’s early days in that matter. It does alright as a generic metal song, but doesn’t do a lot to stir the emotions up. There is a little hint of “Whole Lotta Love” styled guitar notes in the mid section, but that is the main distraction in a slightly boring tune.

When I listen to “Lights Out” I seem to find it difficult to link it to any specific area. There’s almost a slightly Muse-like opening, which then has the track leaning to Ozzy Osbourne’s later stuff. This latter similarity is noticeable during the vocally strong mid section once the instruments take a brief breather. Again it is a solid tune and is suitably powerful enough to certainly keep fans happy.

It wouldn’t be a metal album without a slower track, so why be surprised when “Died With You” turns up. This is the ballad of the piece, albeit the chorus does have more punch than you would be expecting. Jericho doesn’t seem to have too bad a low end on his voice and the verses seem to hold well, as well as the light harmony on the chorus sections. Give yourself a standard guitar solo in the middle and a vocal build up just after it and you have all the standard ingredients.

“Tonight” is a weaker song than most. It sounds a bit like the brief Sum 41 and Blink 182 high periods, but it is executed pretty badly. The chorus chords sound a little off, especially the build up to that point of the song. The result of all this is a bland and uninspiring track that shows that some people just should not have a warble in their voice.

At least when you hear “Brides of Fire” you do get some blood pumping back through you. Remember earlier I had said that Mr Jericho wasn’t a bad singer? Well, to be honest, he isn’t too good a singer either. He can do a decent growl, but other than that it covers the requirements and not much else. The other sticking point I had leaned towards, but had to wait a few listens to make sure of, was that the lyrics are not exactly well thought out. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this, but you know when you hear a song sometimes you pretty much have an idea what is gonna rhyme with what? Sometimes the word or maybe even the whole sentence can be predicted. Here we have some basic song writing and that is a shame, as the music itself holds up well. We have a fast paced tune with some double kick poundage and some decent growling, as I said. The guitars hold up well too, but with all that said and done, the actual soul of the song still feels like it is lacking.

One of the highlights on this album is “One Crazed Anarchist” which does blend everything that Fozzy have in their repertoire and manages to hit it right. Some proper heavy bass and guitar combos and a screaming session from the front man seem to bring things together, along with the right chords and melody and we have ourselves a winner. The only downside is that the ending is pretty weak and doesn’t hold with the rest of it.

The song that confirms my decision about a lot of things on “Do You Wanna Start A War?” is “Unstoppable”, mainly because the lead singer changes and shows just what is possible with someone more suited to this genre of music. What gets added with a change at the front is someone who can hold the warbling and add some extra gusto to proceedings. With the kind of songs that are on this disc I personally think that if she had been doing the vocal work rather than Jericho then some of this album would be a bit better. There was a reason I picked Alter Bridge as an example, as Myles Kennedy shows what a band can attain when all the ingredients are of that same level. It just doesn’t feel like that is the case with Fozzy.

Sadly, the rest of the album reaffirms this. “Scarecrow”, “Witchery” and “No Good Way” all have decent instruments and the singing is in key and with feeling, but something is lacking and you could think to yourself that this might never be found. It is nice to hear a clean mix of vocal and scream, but the actual singing sections just don’t seem to hold the same quality. It seems ironic that if this was turned into a full on throat killer album with a little singing in it that would make a big difference. You can only imagine what happens when they cover the ABBA classic “S.O.S.”

Overall, we have an album that isn’t crap, but it doesn’t set the world on fire either. It will never start a war, but it may well bleed the occasional nose in the playground. It is listenable, but it is never going to reach the dizzy heights of classic unless some tweaks are made. If I were to sum up the album in two words...?

"It’s OK", but if you want to listen to what they CAN do then may I suggest their 2010 album “Chasing the Grail” which is much more suited to their way of playing.


Download: Brides of Fire, Do You Wanna Start A War, One Crazed Anarchist
For The Fans Of: Alter Bridge, Soil, Drowning Pool, Creed

Release date 21.07.2014
Century Media Records

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