Fozzy: Sin and Bones

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Fozzy: Sin and Bones
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Fozzy: Sin and Bones
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Century Media Records
August 14th, 2012
Release length: 51:43
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What started out as a cover project. Fozzy has moved into a much more dynamic band that writes original material. Since their 2000 self-titled debut, they have issued four full-length albums. For 2012, however, Century Media Records present their fifth recording, Sin and Bones, which has seen a much more welcoming embrace from fans and critics alike, citing a good deal of qualiry compared to previous outtings. Is this the album that shows Fozzy finally recognizing their potential after all these years, or is this just a product of hype thanks to the name of their frontman, WWE’s Chris Jericho?

The production of this album is a mixed bag. There are plenty of positive elements, such as the varied light and darker tones that are captured well. The guitars sound rich with a deeper distortion that is amplified nicely by the louder bass presence that meshes perfectly to give it a nice extra kick. The vocals come through well with the enthusiasm captured nicely at a level that is just a bit louder than the instruments, but still a clear priority in the mix. However, the drum kit becomes the main drawback to the album. While the clicks of the bass kick sound great, and the snares have a nice tightness to them, they don’t quite come through as well as they should, and the cymbals just sound a little washed out, enough that you will notice it. On top of that, while almost everything sounds good, the final product seems a bit muffled and restrictive, as if a lower budget audio recording on top notch digital equipment.

But, when the music itself is good, the cymbals become the only problem that really shines through, and even then not all the time. Sin and Bones has plenty of great material, such as “Spider in My Mouth.” Both an introduction to the album and a full song, it starts with a creepy “Itsy Bitsy Spider” interpretation against a slightly altered lyrical version to represent the song title and theme, sung by a little girl to make it even more disturbing. The track itself, however, is simply heavy with some catchy chords that can easily have you banging your head along with an old-school Heavy Metal authority backing it up. The group’s Hard Rock roots come though in the largely melodic chorus that shifts to a much lighter environment, but is shifted into well enough to feel natural, as well as give a little more emotion to it. “Sin and Bones” has that same tone, but is a little lighter in more than just the chorus. It features a tighter performance with an all around easier sound that makes it rather addictive, and enhances the enthusiasm in both the vocals and music to make it seem radio friendly while hitting the listener hard “Storm the Beaches” also makes for an interesting “epic” on the topic of World War II. The music is pretty good with some nice spoken word narrations that are a bit cheesy, but still work to set the tone well enough. Unfortunately, the darker tone is restricted here as well, but it’s acceptable given that nothing feels drug along, and there are plenty of heavy passages mixed with some catchier elements that have a bit more edge. The gang chanting does appear once more similar to “Blood Happens,” but those are shorter and actually work better thanks to the war theme. For an eleven minute track, it’s not the most awe-inspiring or engrossing of songs on this topic, but it’s still an enjoyable performance that also closes the album out on an impressive note.

“Sandpaper” is a largely glamorous sounding Rock track that doesn’t quite have that dark tone to it that “Spider in My Mouth” introduces the album with, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. Infact, it really becomes a catchy old-school Hard Rock performance that even seems to have a bit of a Punk attitude in the vocals outside the chorus. Again, that part has a good deal of melody to it, but feels better suited considering the already light vibe the main passages give off. The enthusiastic vocals also sound a lot better here, and despite the less-than-rich sound, a lot of the faults in the audio remain hidden, including the slight washout on the dum kit. This is also apparent on the haunting “A Passed Life.” The depressive Rock song carries a bit of a ballad touch to it that really sticks out. The vocals sound slightly altered to even give it an astral vibe against a vacant and simpler start that sets the atmosphere into motion. The progressing build into a louder and more traditional Heavy Metal approach is executed well despite how short it is, and the enthusiasm fits the tension that builds in those sections. The additional keyboards that come into play after the first chorus really tug on the listener’s heart strings, easily making this the most impressive song on the album, as well as the most memorable.

The biggest issue that comes through musically is that some of the member’s other bands still creep through. Fozzy is known for having members of the group Stuck Moko involved, and it’s obvious that this is still present. While you can pick up on it throughout the album, the most obvious is “Blood Happens,” which goes off the deep end a bit with some really crushing riffs that are meant to sound commanding, and given the deeper audio they do their job well. However, the lower vocal shout of the song title that sounds more like Sylvester Stalone behind the microphone brings in an undeniable amount of testerone that ends up coming off more comical than anything. Aside that, it sounds like a carbon-copy of something Stuck Mojo would have put on one of their albums, making this a far less unique and original offering, and one of the least appealing. Aside that, you also have the heavily religious “Dark Passenger.” This isn’t a bad song overall, especially the Progressive Metal keyboard performances that appear during the chorus, and really just comes out of nowhere with the spirital lyrical content, though it’s nothing new for a Fozzy album. Thankfully it isn’t preachy, but at first you might not know it given the introduction being a narrative that explains the point of the song that will have those against religion, or just non-believers of the Christian way bracing for a rough ride (pun not intended) that doesn’t really come forward.

Given the group’s previous releases, it’s pretty easy to sit back and expect a decent album, but nothing that really stands out. However, Fozzy have definitely put their best foot forward with Sin and Bones, and it becomes clear that all this time together as a group has helped them mature into a much stronger, tighter Hard Rock/Heavy Metal act. Yes, there are some problems in the audio quality that, given the starpower behind this, simply shouldn’t exist. But, overall, the final product is really good with enough infectious songs to linger around in your memory for a while, have your bang along to them after many repeat spins, and even put a new light of respect on the members in the group. If you’re a fan of classic Hard Rock or early Heavy Metal interpretations of it, Sin and Bones is an unexpected kick to the gut that you might not have expected, and is well worth giving a shot, or at least sampling on-line first through your favorite MP3 retailer.

01. Spider in My Mouth – 4:47
02. Sandpaper – 03:12
03. Blood Happens – 04:07
04. Inside My Head – 04:02
05. Sin and Bones – 03:36
06. A Passed Life – 06:55
07. She’s My Addiction – 03:22
08. Shine Forever – 05:45
09. Dark Passenger – 04:23
10. Storm the Beaches – 11:34
Overall Score: 8/10
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Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.