Consistent is one word that can definitely be used to describe Five Finger Death Punch. The band has released three albums so far in their career and all three have been certified gold, meaning sales of 500,000. Now, the word consistent can also apply to two different mindsets depending on which camp you belong to. If you are a knucklehead, a nickname for fans of the band, then it would be safe to say that you think the band has consistently delivered some of the best head banging music since their first album The Way of the Fist came out in 2007.
Then, there are those who would say that the band has consistently put out some of the most overrated music ever since the release of their debut album. It seems that the band has developed a huge following of haters, which usually means that you are doing something right. Would their new album The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 convert some haters or just fuel their fire? Well, I think the answer to both questions would be yes. Let me dissect this new album and hopefully you will understand.
Ivan Moody and the boys open the album up with a track that has been all over rock radio, “Lift Me Up”, which features guest vocals by the iconic Rob Halford of Judas Priest. This is pretty damn near perfection for the boys. It has that chugging guitar riff through it that you associate with the band and it’s infectious as hell. Next up is “Watch You Bleed” and don’t let its acoustic guitar intro fool you because this is no ballad. It doesn’t take too long for Jeremy Spencer’s double kick drum sets in and takes over and it’s a full blown assault.
“You” is definitely a stand-out track and it provides one of the most intense, rapid fire vocal deliveries from Ivan Moody that I have ever heard. “The Wrong Side of Heaven” is up next and it proves that the band has definitely perfected the modern age metal ballad. “Burn MF” is a tender, emotional, heartfelt song (insert heavy sarcasm). This should be another great song to perform live when the band hits the road, complete with a great sing-a-long chorus.
“Anywhere but Here” features a guest vocal appearance by Maria Brink of In This Moment. The two bands definitely have ties together that go back quite a few years. Ivan and Maria have also been trying to record a song together for quite some time now, but the suits got in the way a time of two. It’s a great song, but I kind of feel like Maria was underutilized on it. There are more guest appearances on the album including Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. One of the most interesting tracks would be the band’s cover of LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”. I was really looking forward to this when I read about it, but it just doesn’t blow me away. It features an appearance by Tech N9ne, but I think it would have been much cooler if LL himself would have been on it.
Ivan mixes up his vocals on here and delivers the lyrics just how you would expect him to. The riffage from Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory may very well be some of their best work yet. Lastly, both certainly not least, would be the amazing rhythm section of Jeremy Spencer on drums and Chris Kael on bass, who seem to hold it all together and provide the underlying assault that sometimes gets overlooked and underappreciated.
Overall, it is definitely a very solid album and in time may prove to be their best one yet. It has a harder, more aggressive edge to it than their last album American Capitalist had. Will it convert some haters over to the land of being a knucklehead? I think it’s strong enough of an album to do so, yet it is definitely a huge dose of fuel for the fire for all of those haters out there. I don’t think there is much anyone can do for some of them because they are just always going to hate.