Live Review: Five Finger Death Punch – Fox Theatre, Pomona
Mon, 26 Mar 2012 06:53:53
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Five Finger Death Punch will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest metal bands ever.
Playing to a packed house at the Fox Theatre in Pomona this past Saturday night, the quintet fiercely stomped through a brilliantly blistering set that elegantly balanced instrumental intricacy and unforgettable hooks.
Modern heavy music remains divided into two camps. There are the underground shredders who boast virtuosity over palatability and then there are the radio-ready songwriters who eschew technicality in favor of accessibility. Five Finger Death Punch stand out as the rare exception—melting your face with fiery fretwork while you're singing along to every word. The only other act in history to truly "walk" that middle ground with its head held high was Pantera. Not too mention, Five Finger Death Punch have got arena showmanship down to a science.
Kicking off the show, guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook tore through the unforgettable opening of "Under and Over It" from their latest masterpiece, American Capitalist. It's a timeless riff locked and loaded with flavor and finesse that illuminates the uncanny knack for melody the six-string duo possesses. Jeremy Spencer's impeccable drumming blasted during the verse and chorus while Chris Kael held down a formidable bass groove that could've broken the Richter Scale. At the eye of the storm, frontman Ivan Moody stalked the stage with an unmatched intensity that quickly possessed the audience. He seamlessly dropped from guttural vitriolic verses into stadium-size singing, generating the perfect contrast of dynamics alongside his band mates.
As every element cascaded into an all-encompassing assault, spotlights, strobes, and multi-colored lights shone from the back of the stage, heightening the emotions of every song. Moody bowed to Zoltan mid-song on "Salvation" as the guitarist flawlessly churned out more fret fireworks. Between Bathory and Hook, there was no shortage of mind-blowing guitar playing especially during a blazing "American Capitalist". The track also gave Moody space to once again slip from demonic to melodic like only he can. "Hard to See" grew into the monster of "Menace". 21st century thrash has never sounded so tough, especially as Spencer's double bass drums lit up while he pummeled. Moody crooned mid-song, "I'm tired of trying to please the world that spins around me. This time, I'm doing it for me and me alone."
He's giving every inch of himself on these lyrics and it's impossible not to feel. With inimitable charisma and panache, Moody dedicated "Bad Company" to "our brothers and sisters" in the Armed Forces overseas. During "White Knuckles," he invited all of the kids in the crowd on stage introducing them as "the next generation" to an audience roar. Spencer's drum solo saw his riser elevate high above the stage as the lights continued pull the crowd into the world of American Capitalist.
Moody's soaring vocals serenely carried "Never Enough" and "Far From Home" from hell to heaven, while the set closer "Burn It Down" saw the band steamroll everything in its path. The masterful madness culminated on "The Bleeding" another brutally beautiful gem from the group.
All great bands thrive on dynamics, and that blend has been gone from hard rock for far too long. In a musical landscape dominated by faceless DJs, ephemeral pop stars, and aging superstars, Five Finger Death Punch rise as an ass-kicking juggernaut for the ages.
Were you there?
Watch our video interview with Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook about "Remember Everything" here!