Sound — 7
A compilation of well crafted heavy metal awaits both dedicated and unfamiliar followers of the genre on this newly released offering from Fozzy. Amongst a conclave of melodic choruses, punishing percussion arrangements, driving bass lines and solid chord progressions, a few touches of mainstream elements attribute a moderately lighthearted tone to several selections found throughout "Do You Wanna Start a War." Such a notion would typically sound the preemptive trumpets of impending doom for a new heavy metal effort, however the outcome here stays within comfortable territory and doesn't demolish the end product.
The album's title track proudly welcomes the listener to this latest Fozzy offering, which is further bracketed by an anthemic chorus that's repetitive enough to leave a quick impression and determined to become a live staple for the band. The energetic guitar work on "Bad Tattoo" is easily a tie back to the group's earlier efforts, and quickly reveals that this new compilation will alternate between one of two musical frontiers. "Lights Go Out" doesn't immediately step out in front and catch the listener off guard, and admittedly takes some time to build up towards a climactic refrain, however once lead vocalist Chris Jericho shifts to his higher octave singing voice you're caught in the current of comforting complimentary guitar playing.
Not the entire album is built around formidable compositions, however, as indicated on the somewhat less memorable power ballad "Died With You." Focused primarily on delicate piano work accompanied by Jericho's singing, this no doubt is a resurgence of the Metallica-meets-Journey categorization the vocalist prominently attributed to the band. However, the album does a solid job at switching from arguably it's lowest point to one of the more memorable collaborations, "Tonight" which features an appearance from Steel Panther's Michael Starr. The two frontmen join forces during the chorus for what is a standout hard rock selection, highlighted by soaring vocal melodies and slamming power chords.
"Do You Wanna Start a War" takes another left turn during the malicious "Brides of Fire," a song which is propelled by heart stopping drum kicks and angst-fueled vocals. This stylistic barrier is continued on "One Crazed Anarchist," which happens to be one of the more impressionable guitar-driven songs on the album, as talkbox-accented playing fills the space between Jericho's lines during the verses. Similarly, "No Good Way" introduces growling vocals and a backbone of percussion and guitar work which keeps the album transitioning smoothly. One of the far more bizarre efforts on the album is a cover of ABBA's "SOS," which does a decent job at removing a degree of the pop flair of the original to make it an authentic cover, however fails at maintaining enough originality to allow the outcome to become standout.
Lyrics — 7
World Championship Wrestling fans were likely familiar with Chris Jericho before he formed Fozzy in 1999, and while the performance from the The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla probably would confuse those who only recognize him from his wrestling career (particularly on the album's cover of ABBA), his singing style on "Do You Wanna Start a War" is an admirable one. The majority of the album shows Jericho remaining in a comfortable position which fluctuates between diminished growls to higher-than-talk-singing pitch. However, there are some moments on the album which are less standout; "Unstoppable" shows Chris Jericho falling into a questionable direction heavily centered upon screeching, which when layered atop a highly repetitive instrumental section makes for a poor listening experience.
Overall Impression — 7
All in all, Fozzy execute a slightly more mainstream approach that also manages to retain enough elements of their distinctive sound to appease dedicated listeners on their sixth studio album, "Do You Wanna Start a War." Aside from a handful of questionable moments, the album is largely centered around impressionable guitar work and anthemic choruses that are bound to appease even unfamiliar listeners.