When Fozzy started nearly 20 years ago they played mostly cover songs and were seen by some as a vanity project for frontman Chris Jericho. As the years went on, they got rid of Jericho's Moongoose McQueen persona and focused on writing original material. When they signed with Century Media their profile continued to rise, with 2014's Do You Wanna Start a War being their most successful release so far that spawned the hit single “Lights Go Out.”

All the pieces were in place to continue that success with Judas. They brought back bassist Paul DiLeo, who had been out of the band for a few years. They also decided to have “Lights Go Out” co-writer Johnny Andrews produce the record. As Jericho told Loudwire, elevating him to the producer's chair was the right move, even though there was some friction along the way.

“We argue a bit, and I always go back to thinking about Metallica when James and Lars are mad at Bob Rock for telling them what to do,” Jericho says. “We went through that phase, too. Any time you get a producer to come in and explain the lay of the land, it's a little bit of a chafing, shall we say. Then you start to learn and figure out that he's pretty much right with what he's doing, and it makes for a better song, which is all that matters.”

The album's first single “Judas” immediately rocketed into the upper echelon of the rock charts when it was released a few months back, making it an easy choice to be the record's opening track. The follow-up single “Drinking With Jesus” is a rousing anthem with heavy guitars from Ward and Billy Grey.

Fozzy songs aren't overly complex, but they are catchy as hell, making pretty much every song on the album a potential single. “Painless” is perhaps the most accessible song on Judas, a semi-ballad with a soaring chorus. The driving “Weight of My World” has electronic elements and a modern vibe.

The album lags a bit in the middle with some songs that are solid but not spectacular. “Three Days in Jail” will be the most polarizing song, featuring both rapping and harsh vocals along with Jericho's melodic singing.

Things pick back up with the urgent “Running With the Bulls” and the rifftastic “Capsized.” The album closes with “Wolves at Bay,” once of the record's heavier efforts featuring a screaming guitar solo.

Even with Jericho's numerous other ventures, Fozzy have still managed to release new albums on a fairly regular basis, honing their craft and steadily improving. Judas is their most polished and fully realized album, and should be their most successful, as well.

Chris Jericho Talks Fozzy's Judas Album + Future Plans