Review Summary: Five Finger Death Punch have hit "Rock Bottom"
Picture this. About a year ago, I made a new friend and we had a mutual love for metal music. I started to introduce into quite a few bands similar to what he liked, and vice versa. His favorite band that he requested was none other than Five Finger Death Punch. I had heard songs like “Wrong Side of Heaven” and “Bad Company” that I enjoyed to an extent, so I had to check them out. After just one listen through Got Your Six
, I came to the obvious conclusion that Five Finger Death Punch were just another radio rock/metal band, and a bad one at that. Then came along the pre-release of And Justice for None
, and my friend was hyping it up like crazy. Surely, Five Finger Death Punch could only go up from the failure of Got Your Six
Apparently, they had a different plan in mind.
And Justice for Now
somehow found the stairs to the basement here. Average, albeit generic and formulaic, instrumentation is horrendously hindered by Ivan Moody’s pseudo-tough guy default voice singing lyrics with the same originality as any rebellious, edgy teenager. With lyrical phrases like “You’re a fake motherf*****
” and “I ain’t your b****, I ain’t your boy, I ain’t no g*d d*** motherf****** toy
” and a song with the title “Sham Pain,” the themes of the album read more like a high school diary of a pissed off teen than a Platinum selling artist.
Most of the album follows the general styling of previous Five Finger Death Punch albums, performing “manly” aggression with chugging, down-tuned guitars held in rhythm by straight forward drum beats, layered by Moody’s “fierce”, annoying, monotonous shouts. The emotional aggression really comes through when Ivan Moody begins yelling about how he never gets a break from meet and greets, but assures us that he has nothing to complain about (what a shocker), or when he’s screaming “F*** YOU
” at whoever the heck he feels like, but saying it doesn’t matter in the end. Accompanying such lyricism are some actually catchy guitar riffs and solos. Unfortunately, such moments of slight success are often forgotten or go unnoticed due to the distraction of many other flaws.
Speaking of flaws, Five Finger Death Punch have lost all ability to write a decent chorus. Almost every chorus on the album is just lackluster, to say the least. What may start off as a promising intro to a song is often butchered by an underwhelming chorus of terrible transition or progression mixed with childish lyrics. In an attempt to redeem such issues, Five Finger Death Punch have included a plethora of guitar solos. Is Zolton Bathory a good guitarist who has both speed and melody? Yes, but And Justice for None
overuses that talent. Although the solos still remain one of the focal points of interesting musical aspects in Five Finger Death Punch’s discography, the album seems to have so many forced guitar solos that all almost follow the same scales. Alongside this, the placement of said solos are blatantly predictable and only become an annoyance as the album progresses.
Interestingly, a band known for their tough guy aggression portrayal, Five Finger Death Punch are at their peak when they hang up the intensity and focus more on either covers or ballads. “Blue on Black” and “Gone Away” are clear stand outs with Moody actually singing in both a melodic way and with good lyrics (which makes sense, since they aren’t his own). “I Refuse” and “When the Seasons Change,” both being obvious mainstream ballads, still manage to be highlights of the album because it shows a genuine maturity of a band full of childish immaturity. Although this is Five Finger Death Punch at their peak on the album, the peak acts more as a hilltop compared to their modern metal contemporaries who actually take the time to write genuine, even just slightly original material.
Although this album is overall horrible, Five Finger Death Punch succeeded in one thing. I’m definitely interested in checking out their new material to see if a band, already seemingly at rock bottom, can go even lower. At this point, Five Finger Death Punch of just become a joke of radio metal, And Justice for None
extending the punchline even further than before. Honestly, this band would be better off resorting to performing covers and ballads exclusively, or maybe even just do us all a favor and call it quits.