Review by Claire Frays
The year was 2009 and the then virtually unknown Five Finger Death Punch occupied an opening slot on Metal Hammer’s Defenders of the Faith Tour. Just a few months later they headlined their own UK Tour. Fast-forward four years and 5FDP has become quite the unstoppable force.
Never a band to do things in half measures, 5FDP has rather ambitiously laid down all of the cards electing to pack in twice the punch in the form of a double album release. The accompanying Volume 2 is expected later this year, and if it’s half as a good as Volume 1, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell could be a big contender for album of the year.
Volume 1 opens with the monumental, no-nonsense, fist pumping ‘Lift Me Up’. It’s catchy, angry, aggressive and features Rob Halford from Judas Priest, whose vocal contribution lifts the song to a whole new dimension. ‘Watch You Bleed’ follows, beginning softly and acoustically before thundering into the signature 5FDP sound. The pace and heaviness picks up again when the bang-your-head ‘You’ rolls around, which sees Ivan Moody performing some seriously fast rapping on the verses – think The Pride but on steroids – oh and the breakdown is a neck breaker too!
With Ivan’s soulful, emotional voice, Five Finger Death Punch ballads are always something special. ‘Wrong Side of Heaven’ provides ones of the album’s finest moments both musically and lyrically. The ballad slips into a melancholic tone with Moody pitching God vs. the Devil, apparently questioning himself before climbing into the songs colossal chorus. This song will clearly mean a lot of different things to different people when they hear it whilst ‘M.I.N.E. (End This Way)’ is a touching tale of regret and remorse with the lyrics ‘We both knew it would always end this way’ recurring throughout the song.
‘Diary of A Deadman’ launches in heavy style, all guns blazing including killer drum beats from Jeremy Spencer and, gutsy heavy rhythms and guitar squeals that Hook and Bathory have developed a synergy for. It’s rounded off with strong, thumping bass melodies from new man Chris Kael, before slowing to a narrative piece reminiscent of the reflective snippets contained within Sixx:AM’s ‘The Heroin Diaries’.
The album also features a series of top draw metal guests whose contributions add a different vibe and colour to already impressive material. This comes in the form of Max Cavalera (Soulfly/Cavalera Consipracy) on ‘I.M. Sin’ and Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) on ‘Dot Your Eyes’ whilst Maria Brink (In This Moment) shines with Ivan Moody for a duet on ‘Anywhere But Here’. Rapper Tech N9ne also features on a superb metalized cover of LL Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’.
This is Five Finger Death Punch at their best.
8 out of 10
- Lift Me Up (Featuring Rob Halford of Judas Priest)
- Watch You Bleed
- Wrong Side of Heaven
- Burn MF
- I.M. Sin
- Anywhere But Here (Featuring Maria Brink of In This Moment)
- Dot Your Eyes
- M.I.N.E (End This Way)
- Mama Said Knock You Out (Featuring TechN9ne – LL Cool J Cover)
- Diary of A Deadman
- I.M. Sin (Featuring Max Cavalera)
- Anywhere But Here (Duet with Maria Brink)
- Dot Your Eyes (Featuring Jamey Jasta)