Review by Richard Henry for MPM
So there is one thing for certain about Five Finger Death Punch, they are very much a love them or hate them band, what we have here is Album Number 9 from the outfit, called Afterlife, just released on August 19th
There have been some obvious changes in the band in the last few years and much documented ups and downs, we have change of personel with Jason Hook leaving and the U.Ks own shredder, solo artist and former Sacred Mother Tongue guitar player Andy James jumping into the band on a European tour with Megadeth, so down to the album!
Track 1 – Welcome to the Circus
We open with something that i wouldnt find out of place on a Slipknot as an intro with creepy clown music, then we lauch straight into a fist pumping driving riff, the song itself seems to be about the clown show we are all living in, and a commentary about everyday life, the main verse actually reminds me of White Zombie in a way, great chorus and one that will stick in your head for awhile after hearing it, love the touch of the almost death metal growl at the end of the chorus, reference to previous songs (Jakyll and Hyde) snuck in there as well!
Track 2 – Afterlife
Starting with a nice clean guitar intro, that once the track enters in with Charlies drums continues on, we have an electronic drum beat before the main riff kicks in, nice vocal from Ivan and a bit more of a soaring vocal mixed with the low vocals and the spoken lines, its a song that benefits from the chorus lifting it, very short lead break from Andy demonstrating what he is capable of, then we have another breakdown before heading into the last chorus and finally the intro is the outro
Track 3 – Times Like These
This is the first breather on the album after the one two punch of the first two songs, now if you have heard the cover of Blue on Black that these guys did, i am thinking exactly the reverse, i could imagine Kenny Wayne Shepherd doing this track, its an almost countryish bluesy verse, and then the chorus i wouldnt think would be out of place on an Alter Bridge album, and i think its a real breath of fresh air, the first two tracks are unmistakenly what they do, this is different, and very cool, best track for me so far!
Track 4 – Roll Dem Bones
Ok so this literally sounds like something from Slipknots Iowa, thats not a bad thing but there is no way you couldnt hear the comparison, We have yet again a few electronic drum break parts and i feel in a way it takes away sonically from the tone of the album, the middle section is very cool with a good dose of double bass from Charlie and finally after 3 tracks we get to hear what Andy is capable of with an awesome solo right in the middle, then out to a big chorus and then back to that riff, good track but i cant help but hear a comparison straight away!
Track 5 – Pick Up Behind You
Listening to this song i wonder if this song is about Ivan with the message no matter what you do I’ll be there to pick up behind you after all the ups and downs, its a song that has a real single vibe about it, nothing too harsh with the riff and again i cant help but hear a more industrial vibe to the drums and the parts of the song, its really hard to hear the guitars in parts of this song, they are really stripped back, its what they do as far as the chorus, its a real sing along song with a great message behind it.
Track 6 – Judgement Day
Again we start with what i can only describe as a hip hop intro, straight into a sing along refrain with the guitar riff, this is in the verse a rap song, with no real drums, the pre chorus is again devoid of guitar and its the chorus before we get a proper riff, very odd track and not entirely sure it does anything much else but break up the album, maybe its me but if this was a bonus track on a Bodycount album it would’nt surprise me but in the middle of this album for me it just doesnt work
Track 7 – IOU
Synth intro, check, spoken vocal, check, then we come in with a decent riff and the verse is getting me back into the album again then for the prechorus, we cut the guitars and back to electronic drums and synth, yet again it just feels like it would have been better served with proper dums and maybe a clean guitar than the break, because the chorus is killer, i absolutely love it, i just feel like some of the other songs there are too many parts taking away from the songs, now that, that is a solo, unreal and fits the track perfectly, then we drop into the electronics again, this for me is a fantastic song that keeps getting the momentum taken away from it
Track 8 – Thanks For Asking
So we have the second “ballad” track on the album, this track not only borrows from Wrong Side of Heaven, both in some of the lyrics but also in the style of the quiet verse building into the chorus, something that while not what everyone picks up from the band, its something they do really well on the more ballad tracks, i cant fault this track, great chorus, love the vocal and i love the references to the track mentioned above.
Track 9 – Blood And Tar
As the end of the last song fades into the start of this one, we shift gears again and hit with a much harder track. This for me is one of the standout tracks on the album it just keeps driving, none of the distractions we have on the other tracks, this one keeps going, as expected with these guys, masssive chorus, great vocals from Ivan the whole way through the song, that solo, yeah thats why you get a guy like Andy in the band, perfect! This for me is the standout track on the album!
Track 10 – All I Know
So after the heavy we have, soft intro with a sing along refrain, then we go into a whistful verse, for some reason i am getting Metallicas Unforgiven vibes, you know what your going to get, a massive chorus, and i for one love that about the band, the songs will get stuck in your head, its never a bad thing, can it be predictable at times, yes, but its a strong suit and the band know it, another great solo and back into that verse melody, great track!
Track 11 – Gold Gutter
This has proper old school vibes, aggressive from the start, again Slipknot vibes and a bit of Phil from Pantera in the spoken parts, great drumming on this one and Charlie gets to stretch his double bass chops on this one finally, if this doesnt have you nodding your head in the pit then i dont know! Love the breakdown in the middle and the end of this one, the heaviest track on the album for sure!!!
Track 12 – The End
That it is, the last track on the album, this has a single vibe, acoustic intro and then we go into another chorus that will stick with you, again its what this band do, we get to the middle and we have another synth section with drum interludes, be interesting to see how they will pull this off live with all the breaks in the songs, after that probably the most “djent” style riff i have heard these guys do, another chorus and then out with the acoustic intro
Its a solid 8/10 album, is it much different from other albums, no, is it groundbreaking, no, are you going to get exactly what you expect from a Five Finger Death Punch album, 100% yes, is that a bad thing, well it doesnt seem to hurt AC/DC or Slayer so i guess not! Very enjoyable and a great album number 9!