Review Summary: Not really original, the same no bullshit-approach, but a tad more melodic and groovy. Five Finger Death Punch evolves a bit, but still keeps their formula alive with a very, very solid album.
Five Finger Death Punch entered the scene in 2007 with their straight-on-metal-debut ‘The Way of the Fist’. After mixed but mostly positive reviews, stating that they do have potential to grow larger, they returned in 2009 with “War is the Answer”, which gained them more fans than they lost. The band had grown up a bit, and that definitely came forward in the music. They still maintained the ‘no bullshit’-approach, but also showed a tad more of their musical composing capabilities. It’s now 2011, and Five Finger Death Punch bring forth their brand new album ‘American Capitalist’.
Five Finger Death Punch has never been the most original band. Pretty much all they do has been done before, as a matter of fact. With ‘American Capitalist’, the band continues to wander down the same road. If you never liked the previous albums, this one won’t convince you to think otherwise. But if there’s one thing they prove again; you don’t have to be original to make some decent music. The album kicks off fast and steady, like we’re used to when listening to a FFDP-album. With neat and tight riffs, a good and catchy chorus, FFDP set the tone for the rest of the album, with their opening title track. This song marks the start for the rollercoaster you’re about to jump in on, which continues to hit you hard with ‘Under and Over it’. The simple but overwhelming drum beat just makes you want to you bang your head. The fast pace remains through the first few songs. The first three songs have a quite similar chorus regarding structure; they all have a steady double bass beat underneath it, a catchy vocals line, it may take a few listens to tell those apart. In ‘The Pride’, vocalist Ivan Moody rap-style-summarizes a lot of money-mongering brands and persons the capitalistic part of America is proud of. This will surely be a moment many people ask themselves “What music did I get myself into"”, but on the other hand, it effectively gets the message across. The album tries to show the way of handling and thinking from the capitalistic point of view, pointing out the ups-and-downs throughout the songs. In this, FFDP emphasize the more narrow-minded part of capitalism, and by dedicating an album to it, they are satirically mocking it. It’s for you to decide whether you feel offended. I think it’s fun to know a band you’re a fan of, is making fun of selling out. They are aware of who they are. As Moody sings in style: “I’m not selling out, I’m buying in”.
The lyrics FFDP produces are probably the mostly criticised part of their music. There still hasn’t changed much about that, the lyrics are straight-forward, in-your-face, simple. Five Finger Death Punch is just not the band to write lyrics you decipher a bit more everytime you hear them. Even though that diminishes the relistening-value of the cd a bit, it works perfectly when you’re just not in the mood for complicated stuff, and that’s exactly what this band does well. And the music compensates for this fact enough to spin the cd a few times extra. Where the majority of the songs are loud and outspoken, with just a slight emotional touch to them, the slower and soft songs kick in at the moments you actually wanted to hear them.
The song order feels natural when the pace is changing, and those are the moments when Moody tries to go a little deeper. Quite successfully in the song ‘Coming Down’, with an awesome solo adding up to it. A little less successful in ‘Remember Everything’. The latter feels a bit cliché sometimes, and the chorus pretty much sounds like a pop-song, although also here a beautiful solo makes you feel a bit guilty if you dislike the song. It most probably is one of those songs you will either love or hate. Throughout the album, Zoltan and Jason lay down good fitting riffs and quite inspiring solo’s. It has to be said though, that they tend to overuse some riffs, as a few of them also seem to appear on the other two albums, so this is one of the weaknesses this album has. The drums don’t do much of an original job on the whole, but there is absolutely nothing to complain about, you will get your double bass fix without a doubt. Just like on the other two albums, Jeremy Spencer continues to be a very solid backbone for the band, he delivers really tight rhythms, and that really benefits the music.
The album ends quite abruptly with a song you’ll forget about pretty fast. “100 Ways to Hate” makes you feel that the band was out of inspiration, and just decided to add another agressive I-hate-you song to fill up the vinyl. The album opens quite strong, but closes a little weak. All in all, Five Finger Death Punch delivered a very steady, catchy, melodic album with ‘American Capitalist’. They’re not trying to explore, and are definitely not taking any risks. Still, the band seems to have grown further, being more of a unit in music than before, despite the departure of bassist Matt Snell. ‘Generation Dead’ is probably the best example of this statement.
The whole band seems to have focused more on the composing aspect of the music, and that fits them well. It makes the whole thing less original, and a little more commercial (which fits the subject) in the end, but it does not damage either the quality of the music, or the image of the band. After all, this album is somewhat of a satire towards capitalism, which might make you feel that Five Finger Death Punch finally have a bit of a moral story to tell. Overall these facts make for a very solid listen, and if you liked ‘War is the Answer’, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this one.
//A store in my country released the album on the 6th of October, so I thought it would be no problem to write a review, even though the international release seems to be October 11th//