Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Fozzy is back for another round. Long gone are the days of being the long-lost heavy metal band at last freed from Japan, back to reclaim their stolen hits like “The Prisoner” and “Stand Up and Shout”. Now fully known by their true identities, including WWE superstar Chris Jericho (vocals) and ex-Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward, Fozzy have abandoned their love of classic metal covers in favor of an album of all new, all original material. The original material on their last album, Happenstance (“To Kill a Stranger”, “Crucify Yourself”), actually tended to shine brighter than their covers (Iron Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare”, The Scorpions’s “Big City Nights”). There was always something to this band that whispered that, despite the fun of being a cover band, they would be better off doing their own material, and with All That Remains, the metal world can finally pass judgment. Speaking personally, this is their best work yet.
If this album proves anything, it’s that Fozzy is much more than a one-trick pony. The material overall is strong, while also showing off their ability to craft songs that don’t all sound alike. The traditional metal stylings of “Nameless Faceless”, with a hammering main riff and some blistering solos, moves into the more melodic sounds of “Enemy”, and it quickly becomes apparent that Jericho is better off doing his own vocal thing rather than trying to ape Bruce Dickinson, Dio, or Klaus Meine. “Wanderlust” switches off between a trudge-riff verse and an almost serene chorus, leading into some blistering guest soloing by Zakk Wylde.
After the radio ready title-track, the beatdown continues with “The Test” and a thunderous chorus riff despite Jericho’s chuckle-inducing rap verses. Almost fitting, though, since the next track, “It’s a Lie” features a bunch more rapping courtesy of Bonecrusher, tempered with some guest female vocals by Alison Divine. Somehow, it all works. “Daze of the Weak” borders on thrash but tempers things out with its slowed-down chorus and lead sections. “The Way I Am” mostly hangs around the same territory as “Enemy”, with a guest appearance in there somewhere by Alter Bridge/ex-Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. “Lazarus” is a heavy number in the traditional metal vein, but featuring a hardcore-style breakdown section. Finally, the album closes with “Born of Anger” – and what a way to go out! Full on thrash metal here, with Jericho and Ward sharing the vocal duties (the latter has a tremendous growl delivery), so what better time to bring in ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman for some guest soloing? I’d like to see the band do a whole album that sounds like this, but that would pretty much go against their modus operandi.
Fozzy has truly come into their own with this album, proving their worth as more than just a band that can play the classics, but can in fact play some damn fine metal of their own. If you’re one of those people who blew them off in the beginning as just a gimmick band, come back around and re-evaluate. I’d almost guarantee you will change your opinion and become a true believer of the Fozzpel.