Chris Jericho - Vocals Rich Ward - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals Frank Fontsere - Drums & percussion
Billy Grey - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals Paul Di Leo - Bass & backing vocals
Ward takes center stage on the first two tracks: "Judas" and "Drinkin' With Jesus" where he unleashes some sledgehammer riffs that will have no issues getting heads and bodies moving in some way, and the choruses call out to you for the addition of your voice. It may not be surprising, but Jericho sounds like Ozzy in several places vocally. His vocals are just as much at the forefront of the album as Ward and Billy Grey's simplistic, yet tight and consistent guitar work. When it comes to the songs that will work well in a live setting, many arrows point directly to "Painless". This song, with its soaring chorus and stomping groove, is designed for arenas and stadiums. You'll know what I mean when you hear it.
A couple of songs seem like they would work really well in more of a club environment. A perfect example is "Burn Me Out". It feels like it was designed to be played at clubs and parties with its danceable beat, which will have no problems getting people on to the dance floor, even though it's hard rock. It's unbelievably catchy, but I will say that the industrial elements can be a bit off-putting. I felt that the build-up before the chorus that sounds like a build-up in a rave was not needed at all, even though it's only two seconds long. Arriving at the end of the album with "Wolves At Bay", this is where the band head into slightly heavier territory. Starting off with a thrash vibe, it quickly heads into chugging, triplet-based riffing and a flashy guitar solo. It's sure to find a lot of favour with fans of the heavier sound.
Of course, there are a couple of flaws on the record that need addressing. I found that the rapping section in "Three Days In Jail" was unnecessary. The same can be said about the vocal effects and industrial elements found throughout the record, namely on "Weight Of My World" and "Elevator". They're not all terrible tracks. I'm just wondering why the band chose to include those bits on the record. Incorporating a more accessible sound after you've created some gut-punching albums can be polarizing. The advantage of it is that it can garner you new fans, while the disadvantage is that it results in some hardcore fans walking away. It all depends how far you choose to go with it.
In my honest opinion, Judas doesn't really match the heights hit by All That Remains and Chasing The Grail, but it was still an enjoyable listen despite the slight flaws I addressed. Even though some fans of the heavier stuff might not fully embrace the radio-friendly stuff, there's still a good amount of heavier moments to enjoy. With the unification of their heavier roots and their more accessible sound, Fozzy created a diversified listening experience that will satisfy fans on both ends of the bridge with Judas.
Highs: "Judas", "Drinkin' With Jesus", "Painless" and "Wolves At Bay"
Lows: The rapping section in "Three Days In Jail" and the vocal effects in certain areas were unnecessary.
Final Rating: 8/10