Better Noise Records [Release date – 28.02.20]
This is album number 8 from Five Finger Death Punch and it’s one that marks a number of firsts for the band. It is the first album to feature new drummer Charlie Engen, the first album on Better Noise Records and most importantly, the first to feature the new sober and clean Ivan Moody.
Thankfully Ivan has turned himself around after battling his demons and has now been alcohol free for two years. So here we have an album from a revitalised and refreshed line up but do they still have the anger and the hunger?
After ‘F8’, a brief, anticipation building instrumental piece, which opens the album the guys kick things off with ‘Inside Out’ which quickly confirms the guys are still pissed off and firing on all cylinders. ‘Full Circle’ then continues the onslaught with big riffs, powerful drumming and a killer chorus. The band then have a pop at Trump’s America with ‘Living The Dream’ which again contains a great chorus.
It’s not all full throttle though and the band are also masters at writing slower, reflective songs which still have a cutting edge. ‘A Little Bit Off’ is a prime example and sounds like a cathartic piece by Moody possibly describing his life over the past few years suffering with his addiction. The harder and louder ‘To Be Alone’ could also fall into the same category with Ivan exorcising a few past demons.
This album has highlights aplenty and many powerful songs contained within. For me though the one, two of ‘Darkness Settles In’ and ‘This Is War’ shows the band at their best. ‘Darkness Settles In’ is a slower, brooding number which features an excellent vocal from Moody whilst ‘This Is War’ is the full on FFDP experience complete with machine gun riffs from Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook, bombastic drumming from new man Engen and pummelling bass from Chris Kael. This is a relentless track that beats the listener into submission, in a good way.
‘Leave It All Behind’ and ‘Scar Tissue’ rock along and again contain all the FFPD trademarks including the killer chorus which begs to be screamed out by a crowd in a live setting. That is one thing that strikes you listening to this album, all tracks have the ability to become future live classics which is testament to the quality of the song writing.
‘Brighter Side Of Grey’ then rounds off the album in fine style. However, when you buy the album ensure you get the extended version with the bonus tracks as the added songs are top notch. ‘Making Monsters’ is exactly what the band have done here as this is a huge track with a twisting riff.
Not to be outdone ‘Death Punch Therapy’ hits hard and heavy. This track should be on prescription as if you have any anger issues or are stressed to the max then you can vent your frustrations screaming along to this! Things are then finished off with the radio edit version of ‘Inside Out’, not a necessary addition but good none the less.
This album only confirms what I thought when I caught the band live last month, the guys are at the top of their game and have released a record which reflects the new found energy within the FFDP camp. This album could indeed seal the bands ‘F8’ and find them reaching new heights and headlining major festivals across the globe. I for one will be down the front, fist in the air, when they do! *****
Review by Dave Wilson
Gig review (January 2020)
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