Review: Five Finger Death Punch – "Got Your Six"

Five Finger Death Punch: the most unfairly hated band on the internet releases their sixth album. Will it shut the blabbermouth crowd up once and for all? Unfortunately, I doubt that, but in my opinion, this is a beast of an album, and we are now looking at your next superstars. Yes haters, say hello to the leaders in the race to dethrone the old guard and prop up festivals the world over for a long time to come…… suck that one up losers.

Now before I get to the review, let’s get out the Five Finger Death Punch check list:-
Represent the armed forces      Check
Screaming vocals                         Check
Cracking ballad(ish)                    Check
Good amount of swearing          Check
Couldn’t give a shit attitude       Check
Awesome solos                              Check
Chant along chorus                      Check
5FDP swagger                               Check
Sledgehammer riffs                     Check
Well the checklist is spot on, so how can this be a bad record? Well, it cannot, but it could be a slice of what has gone before. I have supported the guys since “The Way of the Fist”, there was just something there that drew me in… the rawness, the split vocals, the outstanding guitars… to me just like the checklist, it ticked all the boxes for a kick-ass metal band.
I have stuck by them, and am happy to say in the last year I have caught them live three times (Glasgow, Download and Hellfest) and not once have they pulled a duff set. In fact, they are brilliant live. Ferocious, and they go straight for the jugular. I really do not know where the hate comes from. There is no use trying to get an answer from the idiots online…you will just get the ”They are shit” as they drag their knuckles from the floor to the keyboard.
As I said, this will not change the delusional mind (not that the band give a crap), but I think it is going to propel them onto the bigger stage. It is difficult to say it is a more intellectual album, as we have all the pain, rage and violent tendencies which may be an outlet from where Ivan has been lately. I will not discuss or attempt to make assumptions on something I have no insight into, but I will ask this question; how many of the best bands never had any controversy around them? The only top tier band I can think of are Iron Maiden, and I put that down to astute management, rather than the fact nothing ever happened. Somehow controversy equals superstardom.
So, everything is lined up for this band to take it’s rightful place beside the greats. We need bands stepping up to the plate and smashing it out of the park, Five Finger Death Punch will do that. The bat will be barbed wire loaded, and it’s your head that will be flying over that boundary wall.
We all got a little taste of the title track “Got Your Six” when they were promoting, via pre-release. You will have already heard this is an army term for looking after your brothers, and no matter what you say about these guys you cannot fault the love and comeradery between them, it is evident in every show they do… and boy have they some amount of gigs behind them.
“Jekyll And Hyde” is the current single, and the video is hilarious, and shows you the guys’ attitude. The song shows you what this band are about, and there is no doubt that this will be loved by the fans, live, with the sing-along piece. We get what seems like a distorted and bizarre solo, but when you break it down, this is classic 80’s stuff. “Wash It All Away” has a real Sabbath/Ozzy lick to it. We get onto the chugging guitars, before splitting into a little off-metal build up. For me this was the first little chink of light as to what made this album different. The song seems more than what has been before and dare I say, mature?
We all got a little taste of the track “Ain’t My Last Dance” when we had the little meltdown a while back, and it was a perfect rebuke to those celebrating prematurely. That put them back in their boxes and the song is classic 5FDP, with those scorching deep guttural vocals, the harmonics, the solid drums and the heartfelt lyrics. Is this Ivan from the inside? The dark and light, the good and evil, the pain and ambition?
“My Nemesis” has a big opening, almost theatrical. It starts with the angelic Ivan in fine form, and has that huge, arena filling feel to it. Another rung climbed for the journey. “No Sudden Movement” is a scorcher. We get a ripping, full-on thrash intro and c’mon, what song cannot go on to kick ass when your opening lyric is “live your life like you are a demi-god”? I hope they have that on t-shirts, and soon. The song blisters through, and with your click, reload, this is also built for the crowd to chant ’til hoarse.
Are 5FDP giving advice on “Question Everything”? If they are, you should heed this, for everything in life. We get some keyboards and a bit of a Rush vibe stuck in there with the usual recipe, but it works brilliantly. This one goes so quickly, from light to dark, you will feel like a punch-drunk Tyson opponent. It also has a sublie Spanisg guitar piece just for good measure. “Hell To Pay” gives us that Priest chugging riff. Ivan is wearing his heart on his tongue here. You can feel his pain through the speakers.
“Digging My Own Grave” is a similar story of pain, but for me the lyrics step up big time “I am like a monster in a cage, trapped inside a maze”. How much more dark and disturbed can you get? I loved this one. In fact, it went on repeat quite a few times before I could move on. It wasn’t long till I realised why it struck such a chord. This could quite easily be a reflection of how I feel about a past relationship. The guitar solo took me back decades when they were a facet of every song worth its salt.
I hope “Meet My Maker” is not a view of the future. Not in the respect of individuals, but of the band, as the only thing that can halt the deserved rise to the top is themselves. How many bands have we seen got there, or thereabouts, to throw it all away? I have fingers, legs, and eyes crossed this does not happen. They have been through too much crap to throw it away now.
“Boots And Blood” takes the swearing to new levels. There is a bit of an inconstancy here as Ivan screams “I won’t waste words on you” ,but I am sure ‘Fuck’ is a word. No matter, this is a live song waiting for that audience participation. A brilliant and simple song that sends the middle finger up at the haters. We then get the answer machine message from Ivan as he passed on the feel for “Jekyll And Hyde”, and that, my friends, is it… if you are too skint, or too stingy, to get the deluxe version…. but if you did splash out, you go straight onto” You’re Not My Kind”.  This is worth the extra cash on its own.
“This Is My War” is a total change for Five Finger Death Punch, and I loved it. It is nearly a rap intro at the start. For me, these little additions to the armament made this album. This is what sets it above all previous releases. We finish on “I Apologise”. This feels like that southern twist the guys pull off . We have heard it before, but it works so well. You could even see this on a western soundtrack (as long as the devil is involved somewhere).
You may have picked up that I enjoyed this a little bit. They have matured, they have focused on each song. Quality rather than quantity. There is no filler on here. Even the bonus tracks stand out like a penis in a whorehouse. I am so glad for the boys, as they work damned hard, and seem to have to climb hills no one else has, to just to be heard.
I expect first week figures to be through the roof (even though those damned Maiden guys decided to release on the same day). Now that all the pieces are coming together, there is only one thing left to work on, and that is dreaming up a big enough show to fill the stages they will be playing. If you want my advice guys, stick with the army theme, get some tanks, a helicopter, jeeps and bazookas that shoot fire. Have a word with Crüe, they will be flogging some stuff soon. Mix it, adapt it and make it your own. The sky is your limit and your dreams are your only barrier.
[caption id="attachment_6469" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 5FDP @ Hellfest[/caption]

Review: Ritchie Birnie


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