Just from the outset I'll mention this, I only looked twice at this record because it contains Mongoose McQueen (aka Chris Jericho, Canadian WWE wrestler) and Duke LaRue (aka Rich Ward, ex of right-wing metalers Stuck Mojo) I just had to see what they were up to, and I'm (kind of) glad that I did.
First off, you have to understand that, like the WWE-style fighting that hits Sky/C4 every week, if you take it all 100% seriously then you miss out of a lot of the fun to be had, I mean, just read the band's profile, is a fun lie better than a boring truth? did you see Coldplay at Glastonbury? Right. The music covers all bases of metal from the past 20 years, with each track hinting at borrowed vocal and guitar styles making the album sound quite mixed internally, but overall very together, like a covers band who do a few different bands stuff, but all in the same style, see? yeah...
'Happenstance' starts with the decidedly Cradle of Filth-esque 'wind through the graveyard' style synth-instrumental 'Whitechapel 1888' (Jack The Ripper place/time) so it's a bit of a shock when it suddenly turns to old metal guitar squeals and drum beatings... Then it hits you, Jericho, sorry, Mongoose McQueen, can actually sing, he can hit and hold all the notes, proper-metal style, from the Iron Maiden posturing of 'Freewheel Burning' and the massive guitar solo laden end track 'Where Eagles Dare'. The pure America-rock stylings of 'Big City Nights', that, come to think of it, that wouldn't sound too out of place as a James Dean Bradfield Manics album track, hmm..
Onwards to the KISS like stadium-rock intro heavy 'L.O.V.E. Machine' underlayed with another heavy beating of drums, the Stuck Mojo influence is in evidence in the total heaviness of much of this record, even on the pure AC/DC riff'n'chips that is 'Balls To The Wall'. He really can sing you know, and with 4 guitarists and a drummer behind him, there's no need to worry about any nu-stylings like rapping or turntable mixing slipping in, no, this is the real deal, air guitars and vein popping vocals all the way, baby... Well, there is 'With Fire' which is about as close to something actually made this century on the whole album, but only just, don't worry.
Like I said, approach this with a touch of humour but also with a touch of the history of what was, of should have been (turn up the bass, old bands) like they obviously have. The worst you could call this is a concept album, a psuedo-tribute band playing all of the songs they grew up listening to mixed together, but really that's all any band is, at least Fozzy have fun and sound good doing it.
Play this to some old metal guy and pretend they're really a band from the 80s, you've got a good chance of being believed, jokes don't have to be in the best taste to still be good.
8Ollie Appleby's Score