Review: Five Finger Death Punch – Got Your Six

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80%
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No surprises

This album supplies little in the way of creative curveballs, but it is the finest example to date of FFDP's chest pummelling and incredibly appealing style of metal.

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Bands like this with names like that are usually sniffed at by metal snobs, but there can be no denying that Five Finger Death Punch is a phenomenon like few others.

Their first album The Way of the Fist sold almost 4,000 copies in it’s first week in 2007, and that same year they embarked on not one but two major tour cycles with nu-metal giants Korn, including the long-running Family Values Tour. To date, they’ve sold over 2.5 million records in the USA alone. Their secret? Nail the basics and nail them right. This, their sixth studio album, is a testament to that philosophy.

The eponymous opening track of Got Your Six throws the listener straight into FFDP’s world of vein-bursting all-American anthemic metal. The dirty guitar and melodic fills are a staple of the bands compositional armoury, extremely enjoyable and nicely refined. Up next is the equally muscular ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, the album’s darling boy, with 6 million views on YouTube and enough hair on its chest to choke out a bear. Frontman Ivan Moody shines through here, exercising his full range of vocal capabilities in glorious baritone from spoken lyrics to corrosive growls and soaring cleans.

For a while after it seems as if things have slowed down and become a little more sensible. ‘Wash It All Away’ and ‘Ain’t My Last Dance’ are calmer, almost playful as string-men Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory dance across the upper frets of their guitars. But halfway through the latter track the listener will receive a less-than-subtle reminder that they’re still in FFDP’s house – a soul-mutilating and beautifully low-tuned drop fronted by a surprisingly brutal scream from Moody that’s guaranteed to give you an aneurysm. If you’re not foaming at the mouth by the time the song draws to a close then your volume isn’t turned up enough.

This back-and-forth between melody and coarse heaviness is the template for the rest of the record. Some tracks like ‘My Nemesis’ focus more on the former, some like ‘No Sudden Movement’ more on the latter. But by far and away what makes Got Your Six so easy to listen to is the amalgamation of these components into a single style that has Five Finger Death Punch stamped all over it. Many other groups might try to offset these two broad compositional areas against each other in a vain attempt to be complex or interesting, tinkering with all manner of musical tools or focusing on only one of them and leaving a metaphorical hole in their work.

Five Finger Death Punch’s simple methodology is to smash these two elements together. In doing so they have created an album that is blissfully and refreshingly simple, that manages to inspire as readily as it instils fear in the naysayers. And while metal snobs will undoubtedly continue to turn up their noses Five Finger Death Punch will continue to be the everyman’s choice for thundering groove metal ballads.

Got Your Six is out now via Prospect Park.

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MA English student at the University of Southampton and alternative music correspondent for The Edge.

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