Review Summary: More of the same from FFDP, but that's necessarily a bad thing.
I'm prepared for the large amounts of *** I will get for just doing this review. After all, Five Finger Death Punch seems to be a band that's universally hated by the Sputnik community. I've got my shields up, fully prepared to get called something for admitting that I like this band. But, I must clarify. I'm not a steroids-juicing gym rat, a professional athlete, a meth-maker, or an angsty, angry teenager. So, considering I just covered about 80 to 90% of FFDP's fan base, why do I like this band? Simple answer: For all the different genres of music I listen to, for all the high-brow critically acclaimed artists I listen to, I enjoy a band that doesn't pretend to be anything more than groove-oriented radio metal. And FFDP is the leader of that pack, for what it's worth. Now enough with my soliloquy, I'm here to review a record.
Five Finger Death Punch's fourth record, The Wrong Side of Heaven & The Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1 (I know, a mouthful) is the first of a planned double album (part 2 comes along in the fall.) It's also the first FFDP album to feature guest vocalists. It's also the second album to feature a cover (this time, LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"). Other than that, it's basically more of the same from Five Finger. Opener "Lift Me Up" features a strong vocal performance from Ivan Moody and the Metal God himself Rob Halford. "Anywhere But Here" features Maria Brink, the LL cover features rapper Tech N9ne, "I.M.Sin" features Max Cavalera, (singing in Portuguese no less!) and "Dot Your Eyes" features Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta. There are versions of "Anywhere But Here", "I.M.Sin" and "Dot Your Eyes" that are guest-free on TWSOH&TRSOHV1.
As it comes to the music itself, Five Finger Death Punch are reinventing the wheel by any means. The guitar riffs are okay but very generic at times, and the rhythm section is nothing super special, and although drummer Jeremy Spencer is actually pretty talented, FFDP's music really doesn't give him much room to demonstrate that talent. Simply put, FFDP is groove-metal musically. Vocally, Ivan Moody has a decent clean voice when he chooses to use it, but his harsh vocals aren't anything legendary.
The biggest turn-off for most people is Moody's lyrics, which are profanity laced and often border on cocky and cringe-worthy. However, when he lays off the macho attitude and chooses to get introspective on cuts like the title track and the downright spooky "Diary Of A Deadman", the lyrics are decent. "Diary Of A Deadman" might be the most unique track Five Finger has ever done, with atmospheric riffs and a spoken-word vocal.
In the end, this review will probably get negged relentlessly and I'm sure my 3 rating for this record will drop down very quickly, but I felt it was my duty to review this, and as a fan of this band I like TWSOH&TRSOHV1 a lot. It's certainly better than American Capitalist, as well as slightly heavier. So, bring your *** Sputnik.