Review Summary: The album title rings true since this band is still allowed to make music.
This is a band that really needs no introduction, mostly because no right-minded music fan would want to introduce them to anyone. This infamous group of single-minded angst-ridden, Monster-chugging Vegas natives have really made a name for themselves in the past decade. Something tells me that when I listen to this music, I'm supposed to be taking steroids and beating my girlfriend, but luckily I can't afford either of those things, steroids or a girlfriend.
This is what you can expect from really any song of theirs:
1. Generic downtuned, open-string pedal tone riffs.
2. Lyrics about social media, athletes, haters (which they DON'T care about, which is why they talk about them so much) or whatever else is trendy when the album drops.
3. A humdrum cover of a classic song.
4. Garden variety pseudo-tough-guy inferences.
Do you expect any different from this album? Because you really shoudn't
The album starts off with possibly the most subtle song of their career, Fake, which is basically Ivan going off on somebody because they're a fake. You can expect many uses of the "motherf****er" phrase, which happens nearly 30 times through the song alone. Hm, riveting.
Next up is track 2 (which naturally comes after track 1), Top Of The World. Guess what? Ivan is talking about how he's so great and he's living the dream. Don't worry, this still includes his constant berating of whoever "you" is. All I can say is he definitely isn't talking about alcohol like that. This song cuts off rather quick too, I didn't expect it to be over so quickly, however it does just become white noise after awhile so silence becomes startling.
Sham Pain is up next, we've all heard this song by now if you've been curious as to whether or not this band could do any better. They can, but they seem to willingly not. This song is so full of contradictions because he is literally complaining about all these news outlets and not being allowed to sleep and he has to meet up with fans (how horrible!) then the chorus goes on about how he can't complain. Ivan could complain about being God if he were one. Not because he should, but because he complains about everything...I'm sure you picked up on that,
Hey man, they haven't done a cover of a classic yet...uh oh...
Kenny Wayne Shepherd isn't even safe anymore. They had to go and desecrate The Offspring, Bad Company, and House Of The Rising Sun, so they decided to cover Blue On Black because I guess they thought they needed to do the guy a favor by ruining one of Kenny Shepherds only real hits.
I may be wrong, but I'm not a blues guy.
The song is more or less the same, except with how you'd expect a Five Finger Discount cover to sound. You can literally imagine what it sounds like in your head, I don't need to go into anymore detail than that. It's slow and bluesy but with Five Finger Stinkfist production.
Fire In The Hole is a little bit more interesting if you ignore the lyrics, which at this point just become white noise. It's a little bit more interesting but not any better. The chorus is your run of the mill pounding on the double bass, but the verses carry an actual groove, and the end of the choruses are kinda nice by Death Punch standards. Maybe I'm just becoming numb to Dumb Metal, because this isn't their worst song ever, which is most of their catalog. Other than a cool, albeit, unoriginal groove, it's nothing special.
I Refuse starts off with a piano intro, with Moody singing again about how he refuses to let his sadness and anger show. HA.
This is a ballad, which means acoustic verses and electric anthem chorus. I expect to hear it on the radio later this month, as soon as they release a veteran themed music video. "Wake me up when this is over, I'm tired of living life like it's a dream," Ivan says. This ties into what he discussed in Top Of The World, which isn't surprising since there are very few lyrical modes for Moody. The acoustic guitar solo sounds nice, really tasteful in the song. This is another one that isn't the worst, but it's not very good. A turd can only get so polished, but I guess it doesn't matter to these guys.
Speaking of things not mattering, It Doesn't Matter is the next track, and guess what? This song really doesn't matter.
Take everything you've heard on the first couple of tracks and last couple of albums, and you have this song. This is the worst song I've heard on this album so far, which says a lot because I'm listening to Five Finger Eleven Lunch or whatever.
I haven't spoken too much about guitar solos, but that's because they aren't ever really noticeable. They come and go just so Ivan can repeat the chorus over and over.
I've been giving this band a lot of hell in this review, but listen to Sham Pain, Fake, and It Doesn't Matter and tell me that they didn't DIRECTLY ask for it.
When The Seasons Change is another ballad that they thought deserved to be released. The lyrics to this song are only slightly better, as well as the musicality. It's an acoustic affair, mid-tempo, strong sections. I have to say, this almost comes off as a love song, which is pretty dumb only because they spend 75% of this record telling "you" that you're fake, dumb, and worthless, only to start telling you that they won't let anyone bring "you" down and they'll protect you. Sounds to me like someone who wants to be the only person who yells at you. This is the type of stuff that you listen to if you require your girl to never talk to any other guys ever.
Stuck In My Ways, huh, I tell ya what, you aren't wrong about that, Ivan. In this "song" he talks about how he knows what he has done wrong but can't get out of it. If you expect very much out of this song musically, you will be very disappointed. Simple drum groove, then double bass pounding in the chorus. No real musical substance. He just can't let go of the problems he talks about not caring about in other songs.
I only have a few more songs to do and I'm already tired of this whole album.
Rock Bottom is up next. Wow, my formatting is really repetitive, which is fitting for this band. This song is a heavier one, because the 4/4 double bass pounding happens throughout. Ivan is talking about how you're a punk and you'll never know what it's like to be a man like him. Yeah, I hope I don't know what it's like to be a man like how Ivan portrays himself through this music. An aimless guitar solo then repeat chorus. At only 2 and a half minutes, it still seemed like this song would never end.
Next up is their infamous cover of Gone Away. What was once a personal but grungy number by punk outfit The Offspring turns into a "personal" melodramatic begging for pity. I love the original song because I relate to it a lot since my father died, he was my idol and nothing and no one in this life will replace him or the happiness my family had with him. You can imagine how happy I am with this cover. It's no longer a story about a personal struggle of losing a loved one and moving on. The original was perfect. It displayed a degree of emotion that didn't compromise it's ability to be a radio hit. This comes off as an attempt to cash in on someone else's emotions. Of course, the original was marketed as a single, so maybe he wasn't as protective over it as I make it sound. Anyone can cover anything. Very meh.
The intro to the next song Bloody nearly caught me off guard. It sounded like it was the beginning of some dumb pop song in the top 40 indie pop songs. The band sets down an okay heavy groove over the electronic background. The intro and verse are damn near alright, then the chorus hits and it's basically every chorus I've stopped to talk about. I stopped focusing on the lyrical content because it's more or less the same. He's saying that he doesn't blame you for leaving him.
It's possibly the most marketable heavier song on the record, it almost has a pop flavor, especially in how the verse is sung. It's better than the last albums single "Wash It All Away," but as long as this isn't jammed into my ears as much as that, this song will remain one of the best from this album. Best by Death Punch standards.
Will The Sun Ever Rise is the final track on this album and I've never been more excited to hear silence once again. There isn't much to say about this song. It's basically a slower song with an anthemic rock chorus. Wow, I've never heard THAT before. Ivan is talking about how you have nothing to say, I'm assuming he is looking in the mirror and saying this. I'm guessing they're attempting to make another "Far From Home," which I don't blame them for, that song is one of their only good ones.
At the end of the day, Ivan is going to complain about anything in plain sight, so it's just best to ignore this band as much as possible. No musical growth will be achieved and no real lyrical substance will ever be had. Unless they take a very long hiatus to collectively get their lives together.
This album gets 1 "fake motherf****er" out of 5.