Review: Five Finger Death Punch - F8
For much of their career Five Finger Death Punch has been the laughing stock of metal, mainly associated with cheesy lyrics, pandering to a military fanbase, only relatable to people who chug Monster Energy drinks and drive pickup trucks. Besides a very short time period while getting into metal, I've never been much of a fan of the bands music. I'd go as far to say 6 of the groups previous 7 albums have been quite terrible. Now entering the studio for their 8th record, vocalist Ivan Moody and guitarist Zoltan Bathory promised a more focused and hard hitting release and a bit of a return to their roots. I have little to no expectations for this record but this band is just too big to ignore so let;s give it a listen.
The opener, F8 is a bit different of an instrumental output than I'd expect from Five Finger Death Punch, fully suited with violins. The title tracks mounts up the intensity to a fever pitch before launching into the lead single, Inside Out. The song sounds like classic Five Finger Death Punch, whether that's good or not is up to the listener. New drummer Charlie Engen, does a fine job on here, not playing the most complex patterns but hitting hard and performing sound fundamental metal drums. I will say, this record is excellently produced. It sounds like a lot of money went into making this record sound big and crisp, similar to Metallica's Black Album.
Full Circle is another of the singles previously released and honestly I'm not a fan of when bands stack their singles consecutively on a record. While many of the spoken word parts come off very cheesy, Ivan Moody does display strong vocal ability. While I may not be much of a fan of much of his music, I can't deny that Moody does possess a fair amount of talent. Zoltan Bathory's solos on F8 are flat out fantastic as he has a strong ability to shred at will. Living The Dream is a very sarcastic tracked mocking the idea of real life superheros and idols.These lyrics aren't that bad for a Five Finger Death Punch song and something that actually becomes a theme for this record,m it's a bit toned down on the corniness, which is a very positive step in the right direction. A Little Bit Off is an acoustic ballad that sounds like it has the potential to be a radio hit, don't be surprised if you hear this one soon. This isn't nearly as bad as the typical country tinged ballads the band has created in the past and for that I'll give them some credit.
Mother May I (Tic Toc), This is War’, and Scar Tissue Pack a surprising punch as possibly the heaviest tracks the band has made since their debut album The Way of the Fist. Mother May I is especially crushing, something I certainly didn't expect to ever be typing about this record. The record closes out with several tracks that balance the middle line between cleanly produced heavy metal and radio rock. There's nothing spectacular about these finishing tracks but also nothing that bad at the same time.
I don't know if I'd call this a rebirth for Five Finger Death Punch, it's more like the birth of actually making a surprisingly good record. I can't say I ever plan on gong back and becoming a big Five Finger Death Punch fan but this was a mostly well-written and produced release. These are certainly some of the bands best tracks to date. As much as I don't really want to admit it,, F8 is a pretty strong output and gets a 3 out of 5 from me.