Five Finger Death Punch "American Capitalist" Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Tue, 04 Oct 2011 10:15:34
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With American Capitalist due out October 11, Five Finger Death Punch stand poised to seize their rightful spot at the top of hard rock.
It's been a long time coming, but the quintet have officially arrived as heavy music titans to be mentioned in the same breath as Pantera, Korn, and Slipknot with their third full-length offering.
American Capitalist is something of a declaration for Five Finger Death Punch. First off, the music affirms their status as a taut and tight technical sonic war machine. Secondly, the lyrics show a cleverness and maturity rarely found in modern rock, and they're also painfully poetic at times. Third, American Capitalist is the culmination of years of hard work complete with battle scars, burns, and a giant middle finger to everyone who uttered the word "no" to these five individually and collectively. In that sense, this is everything that a classic hard rock album should be.
The opening title track sets the tone. Guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook practically set their fretboards ablaze with the tune's thrash fireworks. The duo seamlessly switches time signatures, dropping down a guillotine of a hook. The song showcases one of many leads that's bound to inspire a whole new generation of shredders like Iron Maiden and Metallica did back in the '80s.
Underneath this deluge of six-string wizardry, drummer Jeremy Spencer blasts through syncopated double bass pummeling. He manages to balance this air raid with arena-ready grooves at all the right times.
During "The Pride", vocalist Ivan Moody runs down a list of pop culture staples and million dollar brands before assuring, "I'm not selling out! I'm buying in"! It's the sharpest examination of commercialism and "selling out" since Tool's "Hooker with a Penis". Moody's intelligence shines through as he sarcastically touches on our collective obsessions while affirming his band's position as a bastion of integrity in music. Five Finger Death Punch haven't abandoned any of the hallmarks of their sound, rather they've enhanced every element.
After a lulling acoustic guitar, "Coming Down" serves as a musical suicide note that's as tough as it is touching. Moody's voice reaches beyond the orchestral heights he's known for and into a dark pantheon alongside Mike Patton, Layne Staley, and other geniuses of this craft. Bathory and Hook infuse the song with flourishes of distortion as a picture of disillusionment comes into focus chillingly. It's like "Fade to Black" 2011…
"Menace" rides to hell and back on the fuel of Spencer's stomp as the guitarists bludgeon, bruise, and batter. The song is modern thrash at its finest, especially as it breaks into another massive refrain. A sludgy, almost funky bass line gives way to crumbling distortion on "Generation Dead" as Moody's voice recalls Vincent Price with a pronounced theatricality.
"I Remember Everything" will no doubt inspire a few fan letters. It begins with a symphonic hum as Moody writes an open letter to his family, exposing all of his own flaws so searingly. It's excruciating and entrancing, but it builds into the kind of epic chorus that stadiums sing along to. This is as honest as rock ever gets. It takes most acts decades to be this real.
There's a punk-y sense of fun to "Wicked Ways" especially during the mega catchy hook. "If I Fall" is emblematic of everything so mind-blowing about American Capitalist. A somber intro morphs into a lightspeed riff and drum assault before Moody blasts into another unforgettable line—"If I Fall, I'm dragging everybody down."
The final mushroom cloud envelopes everything on "100 Ways to Hate". It's another example of refined metallic assault and battery as the detractors and haters all get one final "fuck you" for a send-off.
Now, this genre has seen some great bands blossom in the past decade. However, it's remarkable to see a band achieve as much as Five Finger Death Punch has independently. The band released two gold-selling albums—The Way of the Fist and War Is the Answer—via their management, Prospect Park's own label in ballsy and brilliant fashion. They went from obscurity to international fame, and it was because they worked their asses off and wrote great songs. The record industry should take note. It doesn't take huge budgets and zany marketing schemes. It takes a diehard work ethic, the will to never give up, and songwriting talent. If more bands did that, we could potentially witness another rock renaissance.
Regardless, let's hail the new kings—Five Finger Death Punch.
Pre-order American Capitalist on iTunes here!
Watch the video for the album's first single "Under and Over It" here!
Read our latest interviews with singer Ivan Moody about the album here and here!