To prove to the world that I don't just listen to music that's folksy or strange, I undertook listening to and reviewing “Happenstance” by the band Fozzy. Until the illustrious Metalboy told me, I had no idea that Chris Jericho, famed WWE wrestler, had a band of his own.
Now, I'm the type of person that typically judges a book by its cover. If I was to see this cd sitting on a shelf at Borders, I'd have probably passed it right by. There's a big Bible-looking book on the cover, with the band and album named emblazoned upon it. I'm not a big fan of the death metal scene, unless it's done rather jokingly. The cover art screamed “Death metal” at me, so I grabbed the cd partially so I could laugh at it, and partially because I was indeed hungry for something new to listen to.
I erred, I admit, when I realized that this was actually some pretty damn good old-school style metal. I was reminded of Queensryche's earlier albums, with a bit of a tougher edge to them, especially in the tune “Big City Nights” which practically screams of Queensryche's album “Empire“. While Chris Jericho's vocals may not be as high-pitched as operatic as those of Geoff Tate (Queensryche) he does indeed possess some good vocal talent. The guitar playing is straightforward and in the background for the most part, though Rich Ward does depart on the occasional tasteful guitar solo. Heck, even the guitar layering is well-done.
Here's the kicker, to me. It's all done rather tastefully, yet it's rather obvious these guys had a good deal of fun recording this album. At first listen, this all sounds like some rather serious dark-ages-of-metal stuff. The album starts off with some dark-sounding pipe organs and other things of doom. I thought that up until I heard the track “Balls to the Wall” which turned out to be, despite dark overtones, absolutely silly. Occasionally someone would scream out, in some evil voice, something akin to “Let me drink your BLOOD!” or something else stereotypically dark and evil.
So I guess I learned something else when I heard this album… I enjoy heavy metal when it's done jokingly, as well, and not just death metal. All in all, I spent most of the time listening to this album raising an eyebrow or laughing over various lines throughout the album. All in all, I'd say “Happenstance” by Fozzy is well-composed fun, and I'd enjoy hearing more of it. The vocals are clean, the guitar and bass playing are good, and the drummer more than holds his own. Now, if this wasn't meant to be “fun” metal, and was done with all seriousness, darkness, evilness, and whatnot, I sure do feel like a jackass.