by Brandon Smedley
Five Finger Death Punch, known to fans as 5FDP, doesn’t sound anything like a band name. If anything it sounds more like a karate fighting style. But that doesn’t stop the band from being one of the top heavy metal acts in today’s music (or in all of metal music). After two wildly successful albums (2006’s Way of the Fist and 2009’s War is the Answer), the band went back into the studio in late 2010 to record their third full album, titled American Capitalist. The band has not changed at all, minus the loss of original bassist Matt Snell. His departure in December 2010 left a hole for Chris Kael to fill, something that he has done amazingly on this record.
American Capitalist begins with the track of the same name, extoling what it means to be an American Capitalist and what good comes with it. In a recurring theme for the entire album, the song features a catchy guitar riff, a wild solo, hard hitting drums, a familiar deep, thumping bass line, and Ivan Moody’s sensational, easily recognizable vocal styles. Up next is “Under and Over It”, the first single off of the album, and the essential message behind it is that the narrator does not care about you or your ideas. Again, listen for more of the Five Finger Death Punch-esque sound. “The Pride” refers to being American as being part of the top group around. The examples of American ingenuity and pride given are varied; PBR and Johnny Cash get their shout outs, as do Bill Gates and Mickey Mouse. Disneyland doesn’t seem like something the tattooed and cursing Moody would sing about it, but it fits into the song well.
“Coming Down” tells how the narrator was metaphorically sacrificed by a close person just so they could better themselves or keep themselves from trouble. Lyrics like “I could never be, what you want me to…” really help the listener to relate to it (if they have had a similar experience). To get a little bit heavier and less mushy, “Menace” comes in as track five. And get heavier, it does. Basically, Moody is telling you he is a problem for you to deal with and he enjoys it. “Menace” also features one of the coolest sounding bass drops ever, in the middle of the final chorus. It makes for listening with large subwoofers a blast (no pun intended). Now we come to a song which consists of Ivan explaining your wrongs. “Do you see yourself as such a…shepherd? But you trip the blind and then you curse the leper,” really gives the entire outlook of the song. “Back for More” is a memorable riffed rock anthem made for people to get pumped up with.
I believe it can be generally agreed that most rock or metal acts, at least from the early 1990’s back to the 1970’s, have at least one good ballad song or a song that evokes some sad, depressive feelings. Ozzy Osbourne had “No More Tears”, Cinderella had “Don’t Know What You Got (Til Its Gone)”, and Mötley Crüe had “Home Sweet Home”. 5FDP hits hard with “Remember Everything”. I can safely say that this song is the saddest song I have ever heard. It will evoke feelings in you. Even for two guys who claim to be heartless and cold and are told such, the song brought out sadness and a depressed mood. This is by far the most biographical song Moody has written, and the emotion he puts into it really shows the fact.
Jumping off of the sad wagon, the band moves into “Wicked Ways”, with Ivan telling a woman that she is devilishly charming and that he couldn’t get out of her… wicked ways. “If I Fall” only makes Ivan seem indifferent to what you are striving for. If he is going down, he is going down hard and he is going to take you with him.
The final and most interesting song is “100 Ways to Hate”. The intro lyric is insanely inappropriate for school, but gives the song a unique flavor. Ivan hates the subjects of the song, and he makes it known. That is also the most interesting thing; Moody switches subjects at least three times, going from rival bands to internet trolls to a woman who made him change for her but left him in the end. It stays heavy and pounding through the entire song, minus the choruses where it slows but speeds up as they progress.
All in all, Five Finger Death Punch has come a long way from their beginnings in California. American Capitalist completes an album trifecta that most bands never manage to achieve. 5FDP’s success can best be judged by a cog system devised by Mötley Crüe; 4 cogs with the first being a semi-successful single, second being an album with exceptional sales, third several albums and at least a tour, and fourth the top of the game, all the while with a chance to drop off to the first cog again. Let me be the first to tell you: Five Finger Death Punch has jumped on to the fourth wheel and are riding it straight to the top.