This ‘Five Finger Death Punch’ review was written by Viktor Balthazar’, a GIGsoup contributor
Continuing a fascinating level of productivity, Five Finger Death Punch last week released their sixth studio album since their formation in 2005. The Las Vegas-based quintet carries on with no changes in line up and presents yet another dose of relentless and provoking straight-in-the-face heavy metal.
Besides being their sixth record, ‘Got Your Six’ has a significant meaning that in military terms literally translates as “got your back” – a statement of the band’s resilience that contrasts with the recent rumors of misunderstandings between the members and even potential break. Moreover, the title’s meaning corresponds with the band’s interest and involvement with the army and the lives of the veterans as covered in their previous albums.
In a recent interview, front-man Ivan Moody and guitarist Zoltan Bathory state that this is their heaviest album so far, with the musicians entirely focused on their metal roots and bringing back the original groove and unstoppable beats. In comparison to the previous record ‘The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell’ which came out in 2013 as two separate albums and consisting of 25 songs altogether, the eleven tracks in the standard edition of ‘Got Your Six’ truly cut off all extra elements and experimentations but also totally lose any signs of variety and diversity.
With all respect to their music and evident passion, it is not nearly as heavy as their previous work. Yes, there are no conventional ballads but repeating the same guitar riffs and drum parts again and again with Ivan’s catastrophic attempts to compile meaningful lyrics does not make an album heavy. When ‘The Way Of The Fist’ was released in 2007 there were many metal-heads (including myself) that were extremely excited about this new band ready to take down the world with their charge. Now, 8 years and 5 records later, a question of how much longer they can continue to produce the same material is inevitable.
Of course, there are some really good tracks in the album, but this comes with no surprise. All criticism and negativity aside, Five Finger Death Punch are still unstoppable at what they do best – pour all emotion, rage and passion into their music, but only when they want to show it. ‘Question Everything’ is a perfect example of what their music can be – rich, evolving, melodic, with a beautiful finishing touch on the guitar solo at the end. However, further down the track list comes ‘Boots and Blood’ which is a manifesto of American redneck stereotypical masculinity in its worst form, with no creativity, development and a horrific lyrical incompetency.
The band’s signature compositional structure is again prevalent throughout the album with lots of heavy riffs, fast drums, Ivan’s combination of hoarse uttering and emotional singing, and heavy grooves giving songs like ‘Hell To Pay’ and ‘Ain’t My Last Dance’ their distinctive Five Finger Death Punch flavor. ‘Digging My Own Grave’ and ‘I Apologize’ (from the deluxe edition) join the band’s more melodic and dramatic elegies, again against the heaviness that the musicians promote here. Along goes the opening ‘Got Your Six’ that gives a promising start to what proves to be a rather disappointing album, mediocre at best, with the rest of the tracks failing to impress with lack of any musical qualities or interesting ideas.
The album fits perfectly with the morning traffic rush or journey to work in the crowded underground, or proves to be the right soundtrack for an action-packed video game. Musically, however, it is poor, monotonous and exhausting. The good qualities of the band seem to be left behind for an unnecessary and unsuccessful attempt at returning to heavier metal roots. Give it a spin but proceed with caution.
‘Got Your Six’ is out now via Eleven Seven Music.