Let me preface this review by saying this: I never gave FOZZY the time of day…ever. I mean, they were a cover band with Chris Jericho from WWE as their vocalist. Even when they started writing their own material I pretty much avoided them. It had to be gimmick based right? Now that there “Chasing The Grail” playing in my head, I have to admit that I was wrong. FOZZY is not some silly gimmick. They are actually very talented and “Chasing The Grail” was the modern OZZY OSBOURNE album I have been waiting for for far too long.
To say that FOZZY sounds like OZZY might seem like a joke. In all honesty, they do. In almost every aspect. This album sounds like something the Prince Of Darkness might have done in the last decade or so, except for the fact that its twice as good as anything the Prince Of Darkness did put out in the last decade with Zakk Wylde.
Granted, the album is far from perfect. There tends to be two types of songs included on “Chasing The Grail”, in two different aspects. There are the ‘headbangers’ and there are the ‘ballads’. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of grey area in this ideology (sans the epic closer “Wormwood” which a long progressive type song that combines the two and even throws a few curve balls into the mix like guttural vocals). Within the ‘headbangers’ and the ‘ballads’ there is ‘not filler’ and ‘filler’, which is the albums biggest flaw. Despite some very tight writing and some solid playing on most of the songs, some of them just come off as straight on filler. Considering how good the other songs are, this is a definite disappointment. After the first three songs or so the album hits a doldrums and never comes out of it until late in the game. It’s perhaps the biggest issue of “Chasing The Grail”.
Even with the amount of filler that represents the central part of this album, it’s hard to deny that when FOZZY is on top of their style they can definitely rock it. The first three tracks take it the limit of what FOZZY is with their heavy and catchy riffs, radio friendly melodies, and a surprisingly solid vocal performance from Chris Jericho. As a wrestler, its probably a solid guess that no one knew that he could give that kind of a fun and solid vocal performance, even though it is rather over layered – somewhat similar to what OZZY did with his later career. Even on the last epic track the band nails it like it was never supposed to happen from this kind of band.
I was definitely taken back by how impressed I was with FOZZY. Although the album has significant amounts of filler on it, when the album hits the target it hits it hardcore and it works. Any fan of newer OZZY or any kind of straight up Heavy Metal can find a few to satiate their Metal hunger on “Chase The Grail”.
PS: It’s also very awesome that guitar God Jeff Waters (of ANNIHILATOR fame) lends a few solos on this record. Another added point for the band.
Songs to check out: “Martyr No More”, “Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday The 13th)”, “Under Blackened Skies”.
(Online June 12, 2010)