Better Noise Music [Release date 09.10.20]
This album is the second ‘greatest hits’ package that FFDP have released following on from Volume 1 back in 2017. It has proved to be a very aptly timed release as it neatly rounds of the tenure of guitarist Jason Hook who has recently left the band. So, what has Jason left as his legacy?
This album contains 12 songs spanning the band’s career and is augmented with five ‘new’ tracks which are in fact made up of one completely new song, a new acoustic version of another and three remixes, more on which later…
For me Volume 1 focused too much on the mellower and more commercial side of the band and although it was a good collection it lacked punch ironically. Vol 2 is an altogether rockier affair although it does start off gently with the band’s ‘country’ hit ‘Blue On Black’. The FFDP version of this song really works although some considered it a step too far, but the band have never been ones to shy away from a bit of controversy and are happy to do as they damn well please!
‘The Tragic Truth’ follows and this is Five Finger Death Punch at their best, a track best described as a clenched fist in a velvet glove. A slow build through the verse leads into an explosive chorus with Ivan Moody demonstrating his vocal talents perfectly.
The one new track on the album is up next and what a song it is! ‘Broken World’ I think sums up things in general at the present time, angry riffs and angrier vocals delivered with real venom, giving a voice to the people.
It is also the band’s first recording with new guitarist Andy James and judging by the fretwork on this track he is more than up to the task. The main refrain from next song ‘I Refuse’ could be the perfect follow on to ‘Broken World’ with Ivan pleading ‘Wake me up when this is over…’ I think we have all felt like that at some point through the course of 2020.
The rest of the original tracks are a great mix of all that FFDP have to offer whether it is their softer side on ‘When The Seasons Change’ and ‘M.I.N.E (End This Way) or at their heaviest with ‘Sham Pain’ and ‘Never Enough’
The other additional tracks are left to the end of the album starting with an acoustic version of ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven’ which the band were playing live prior to the European tour being cut short due to the rising pandemic. The song lends itself perfectly to the acoustic treatment and Ivan’s impassioned vocal is spot on.
That just leaves the remixes of ‘Trouble’, ‘Wash It All Away’ and ‘Bad Company’ to round off the album and maybe its an age thing but I fail to see the point. Surely a remix should enhance the original not murder it, but on these tracks the perpetrators are guilty in the first degree. Still, they are at the end and easily avoided so it’s not all bad.
If this collection is to act as Jason Hook’s swansong then he is leaving behind a body of work that he can be justifiably proud of, he would do well to disown the remixes though! ****
Review by Dave Wilson
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