After an announcement in January that Fozzy had signed with Century Media Records, you had to wonder if that label selection would reflect in the bands new material. With Century being the home of a plethora of hardcore thrash acts, was this a hint at a new sound? Well the wait is over to find out, "Sin and Bones" is out on August 14th and has been streaming on the Loudwire site for a day or 2 now.... let's break it down!
01 Spider In My Mouth
03 Blood Happens
04 Inside My Head
05 Sin And Bones
06 A Passed Life
07 She’s My Addiction
08 Shine Forever
09 Dark Passenger
10 Storm The Beaches
Following such a good album as "Chasing the Grail" meant that this offering would not only have to stand apart from that but also better it for the fanbase that has been grown over the last decade. It has managed to sidestep any comparison by providing a real big mix of songs stylistically, this will probably be seen (in years to come) as the album which defined the Fozzy sound, or "sounds" as the case may be. Firmly planted in the hard rock/metal crossover there is enough in Sin and Bones to keep the existing fanbase wet, while drawing in a new crowd from different avenues.
The opening track "Spider in My Mouth", brings with it an intro worthy of Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osborne - hauntingly menacing and I don't think I'll think of Incy Wincy Spider the same way ever again! Leading into the blistering opening riff is an excellent lofi version of the same, providing just enough of a pause to crank up the volume when it kicks, suprisingly there's a real groove to this song - switching between the storytelling riff work and a ultra melodic sing-a-long chorus, reminiscent of a bit of Def Leppards more solid material.
Track two, "Sandpaper" continues in the groovealicious vein with an instantly recognisable hook line. There are noticably more harmonies on this track than we've seen in previous Fozzy material, you kind of get the feeling that you can spot the "radio tracks" (for the US, sadly it will probably be overlooked here in the UK), there's a level of commercial appeal to these lighter tracks whilst not losing their hard edge.
In complete contrast, we move onto "Blood Happens", which sports a series of grinding riffwork, a serious growl sequence on the vocals, and a breakdown that has an almost 'live quality' to the energy it brings. Despite the mix of beats and riffs taking place, this is a stand out track that's going to kick ass when played live - or your money back!
"Inside My Head" brings us another lighter sounding offering, but this is a track with substance. It took a couple of listens for the lyrical depth to shine through. There's a story behind songs like this, we don't usually find out what they are, but the quality of emotion that rings through tells us that it's there. Again, we hear a slight echo of Joe Elliott in Jericho's phrasing, but we can let him off as he brings a much more solid level of emotion to the mix.
I can see why "Sin and Bones" was chosen as the title track, with a catchy chorus for the crowds to sing along with, and some quality riffage going on to support a memorable experience. For me though, this is probably the small thorn in the album. Whilst having all the elements to make it a great tune, there's a feel that it was designed that way, rather than it being a more natural expression that we've seen in tracks like "Spider" and "Sandpaper".
"A Passed Life" will either be loved or hated! People who buy the album for the driving Fozzy Rock, have to wait it out a bit - what we have here is a venture into (slightly over) radio length progressive rock with a haunting metal undertone. There is a definate aim to not rush through this track, you can feel that you're supposed to be in anticipation of what is to come. Some will compare this to Metallica's Unforgiven, and while there are similarities - Fozzy have captured a more intricate animal here. WIth a halfway break into a heavier guitar driven melody, one could be confused into thinking that Bruce Dickinson had made guest appearance. The final 2 minutes provide a crescendo into riffdom that will work excellently live, I can see this recorded 6 minutes streching to 10 (or 11) easily.
Next we get a blues rock monolith in the form of "She's My Addiction", while sounding 100% current, I get reminded of the good old 90's when Little Angels and Thunder were in their prime. Sporting female backing vocals adds an extra layer of texture to this track, which in itself stands apart from some of the more serious lyrics on the album. She's My Addiction is about fun, it's fun to listen to and adds yet another facet to the bands arsenal.
"Shine Forever" is probably the most 'Grail' of all the album tracks, a mid-tempo powerhouse, dropped verses contrasting with explosive chorus hooks. This track is metal to the core, providing a level of heaviness in the music that allows the vocals to slide effortlessly over. This is also a great track for Paul Di Leo, with his crunchy bass shining through both during the track and during the breakout instrumentals, the grind of this song could be compared to the mighty sound of Sabbath - just without the darker tinge.
Nearing the end of the album comes "Dark Passenger", a vocal led work in the vein of Linkin Park to an extent. Bringing more elements into the Fozpot - notably a piano intro and strings featuring throughout show a different quality to Jericho's melodies. Almost in contrast this song has highs and lows musically, when it's big it's huge, when it drops it's almost serene.
The final track of Sin and Bones is the near 12 minute grindfest of "Storm the Beaches", I think you could quite easily say this is the standout track on the album. It's an opus of a track, in fact it's almost 2 tracks! A relentless riff session fill the first 3rd of 'Storm', then we're treated to a rather obscure but novel cinematic soundtrack experience (also the intro/outro), after this is a section that could have become track 11 in my opinion. 'Storm the Beaches' features some of the best guitarwork on the album, with intricate licks sliding between sections, and blistering riffs that will break some necks - if not through their ferocity, through their sheer length!
Without overdoing how good I believe this album is, it is bloody great! Sure there are a few overtly commercial portions, but it's nothing to detract from the original quality of the rest. There are outstanding melodies provided by Jericho, Ward has worked extra hard slicing each riff and lick to perfection - never too long, never to short. This is an album that firmly puts the bands 'novelty' beginnings where they belong, and does indeed live up to the reputation of being a serious band.
Getting a rather special 9/10 from Scribes, it's exciting to think of where the journey will take Fozzy from here. Remember to BUY the album and support the band!