December , 2013
Review by Lisa Sullivan
Five Finger Death Punch
"The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell - Volume 2"
Label: Prospect Park
I really wanted to like the new Five Finger Death Punch album, The Wrong Side of Heave and the Righteous Side of Hell - Volume 2. Unfortunately, this release falls far short of what I expected.
I grew up with the death metal bands that set the standard. Houston's Deadhorse was one of those bands. Growling vocals, heavy chords, and double bass drums set the stage for thought provoking, angst driven vocals about futility, war, and God's existence or nonexistence. The songs were loaded with rage, doubt and longing and fueled a new generation of artists who took punk, metal, grunge and hardcore to new levels.
The new FFDP release sadly reeks of formulaic teen angst, interspersed with over the top profanity, and inane lyrics. It was very difficult to get past the first three songs. For some reason death growls and lyrics about broken hearts just don't mesh; it sounds contrived. But I think the song that offended me the most was "A Day In My Life". The repetitive chorus of "Welcome to a day in my fucking life" sounds like a battle cry, but honestly what the hell do you have to cry about? A fistful of platinum albums and headlining shows worldwide? Sounds like a tough life.
If you can get past these tunes, there are a few on the album that really shine. "Battle Born" is a well written, soul searching tune, that reveals a little more depth to the band's songwriting skills. It's a more melodic piece that reveals a softer side of vocalist Ian Moody, one that he should probably share more often as it strips away the superhero/villain facade that he relies upon too frequently on this album. "Cold" is also a powerful piece filled with introspection, another standout. And finally, "House of the Rising Sun", is probably the best cover I've ever heard of the tune made famous by the Eric Burdon and the Animals in 1964. I wish there had been more songs like these on the release.
The cover art looks like a teenage boy's fantasy, straight out a video game, featuring ripped devils and angels with machine guns and brass knuckles; the only thing missing is a centerfold. The inside art is an eagle composed of various weapons, power symbols and American iconography. I found myself searching for some political sub-context in the lyrics, but it's just not there. I am certain this album will go over well with the target audience but I do not think it will broaden their fan base. Maybe that wasn't their intent, but every band should strive to stretch and grow or they will become obsolete. There seems to be potential here; let's hope Five Finger Death Punch steps up to the plate next time.