Review Summary: The sound of a sell-out
Just how far can you push anger, hate and general violence before it becomes a gimmick? This is a question that Five Finger Death Punch, touted by every non-creditable press outlet from Kerrang! to Revolver as this generations Pantera, seem to be intent on answering as they continue in their pursuit of worldwide domination. Granted, Way of the Fist was a decent american metal debut if you were a fan of the style but the trajectory from "War is the Answer" onwards has been decidedly downward looking and this is shown no better than on "The Wrong Side of Heaven...Vol. 1".
Nothing here shows an advancement on the Five Finger Death Punch sound. Only recession. Everything from the simple, chugging guitar lines, asinine lyrics and terrible artwork just stinks of cheese and whats worse is that everything feels incredibly forced. "You" is outlined by bassist Chris Kael as an apparent continuation of the sound present on The Way of the Fist which is both an insult to that albums credibility and his intelligence. That album had pounding double bass sections, good grooves and for once Ivan Moody was not including swear words in every single sentence he screamed out while "angry". This record has very little of that. "You" sounds like the garbage the band threw out on American Capitalist in songs such as "Menace" in an attempt to remain metal, with numerous uses of the f-word and variations on the lyrical concept of "not caring about you" covering up some of the bands most redundant riffs yet and a pointlessly catchy drum performance. And the less said about "Burn M.F" (three guesses what the M.F stands for) the better.
Even the ballads on this record are completely redundant. While every single attempt at this softer song style has basically been a reworking of "The Bleeding" or "Crossing Over", they have traditionally been recognized as a strong point for this band. Not here. Quite what message the title track of this record is, is quite frankly beyond this reviewer. Moody croons about having the devil on one shoulder and god on the other and deciding right from wrong but isn't this just something called the process of living? Whats amusing, and somewhat tragic is that "M.I.N.E (End This Way)" is somehow even worse, with lyrics basically saying "I love you, you love me, oh wait no you don't". Sure, relationships are things covered by musicians all the time but when poppy backing vocals combine with terrible lyrics and "Coming Down" pt. II, the result is like a forced fart.
There is absolutely no reason for this record to exist. There is nothing here that Pantera, Slipknot, Devildriver, Lamb of God, Disturbed and every other humdrum metal band hasn't already covered and in a much more authentic delivery. The only signs of half decent songs are found in "Watch You Bleed" and "Anywhere But Here" but even these sound like rehashings of "No-One Gets Left Behind" and "Hard to See". No doubt this will sell incredibly well and the band members will see a lot of fame as a result, but there is much better stuff out there that was written twenty years ago. Avoid