Album Review: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven and Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1

epgvFive Finger Death Punch is throwing a party and you’re invited.  That’s what it seems like on their new album, get ready for the title – The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1.  That’s a long one and if my research serves me right, we should expect Volume 2 later this year.  As for the party comment, the album is loaded with songs featuring someone else such as Rob Halford, Maria Brink, Tech N9ne, Max Cavalera, and Jamey Jasta.  Tech N9ne appears on a cover of Mama Said Knock You Out originally recorded by LL Cool J.  I have to admit, that song is mildly entertaining, but what about the rest of the album?  Has Five Finger Death Punch regained some of the ferocity from The Way of the Fist and War is the Answer or have they just become America’s party band?

First, the album boasts quite a few songs and that is something I can appreciate; 14 total including two are more or less added bonuses.  Dot Your Eyes is one of the songs that is featured a second time with Jamey Jasta at the end of the album.  Anywhere But Here, which features Maria Brink earlier on the album, is also another track at the end that is labeled as a duet with Maria Brink.  Personally, the two songs are not that different except that the duet has more vocalization from Brink, hence calling it a duet.

Aside from 14 tracks, there is also a live album included featuring 13 songs plus the intro and drum solo.  After taking a look at the track list, the band relied heavily on some of their less aggressive songs in favor of the catchy and melodic songs.  I was surprised to see some of their real crowd movers such as Dying Breed and Bulletproof left off the set list. Despite the chosen set list, I am not one to sit and listen to a live album. I would rather watch the recorded performance.

five-finger-death-punch-2013Excluding songs featuring somebody, there are eight 5FDP songs.  The band seems to have continued the momentum they gained from American Capitalist by creating riff-heavy catchy songs, but there is a slightly harder edge over their last album.  Not necessarily speed-induced edginess, but Dot Your Eyes and You feature an angst-ridden vocal range from Ivan throughout.   Both those songs have nice angry overtones and a “fuck you” kind of attitude.  Dot Your Eyes ramps up a notch when Jasta appears on the song at the end of the CD.  Even the Mama Said Knock You Out cover sounds quite angry and the best part is when Techn9ne makes his appearance.  Wrong Side of Heaven is the token Death Punch ballad and it is what it is.  I.M.Sin and Burn MF which stands for “mother fucker” in case you didn’t guess are both aggressive with melodic clean vocal choruses.  Diary of a Deadman is the token (partially) spoken-word song that 5FDP seems to like to do. The rest of the songs that feature an additional artist are songs that compliment those artists well.  The song featuring Max Cavalera is heavy, while Rob Halford is melodic.  Maria Brink fits in well with the band’s style and Jamey Jasta intensifies a song already pretty well intense.

I have come to realize that the band has gone down a different path than the one I wanted them to.  American Capitalist is radio-friendly commercialized metal which garnered the band tons of attention.  That’s not to say it sucks.  Overall sales and chart position will argue that.  But, it’s not what “I” wanted to hear.  I wanted more of War is the Answer because that album was equally brutal and melodic on all fronts.  Who am I to argue a band that wants to broaden their horizons?  Based on reliance of melody for American Capitalist, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 could have been something borderline Pop, but 5FDP did bring back some of that ferocity set aside on their last album.  The video they recorded for Under and Over It really made 5FDP look like a party band and I was put off by that especially after having seen their performance at Download 2010.  They really rocked the place and to see them do a video in swimming pools with bitches in bikinis and cars was repulsive.  The bottom line is that the new album is an improvement over American Capitalist, but if you are looking for pit-inducing ferocity, you will have to look for it on their older albums.  If you were a fan of American Capitalist, the new album will be right up your alley.  It’s just not up my alley.

Release Date:  30 July 2013

Record Label:  Prospect Park

Nationality:  United States

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About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on August 5, 2013, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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