Album Review – Five Finger Death Punch – Afterlife – Metal Planet Music

Review by Richard Henry for MPM

So there’s one thing for sure about Five Finger Death Punch, they really are a love it or hate it band, what we have here is the outfit’s number 9 album, called Afterlife, which comes to be released on August 19

There have been some obvious changes to the band over the past few years and well documented ups and downs, we have changed personnel with the departure of Jason Hook and Britain’s own chipper, solo artist and former Sacred Mother Tongue guitarist Andy James jumping into the band on a European tour with Megadeth, so until the album!

Track 1 – Welcome to the Circus

We open with something I wouldn’t find out of place on a Slipknot like an intro with some creepy clown music and then we go straight into a fist driving riff the song itself seems to be about the clown show in which we all live, and a commentary on everyday life, the main verse kinda reminds me of White Zombie, a great chorus that will stick in your head for a while after you hear it, love the feel of the growl almost death metal at the end of the chorus, reference to previous songs (Jakyll and Hyde) also slipped in!

Track 2 – Beyond

Starting with a nice clean guitar intro, which once the track comes in with Charlies drumming continues, we have an electronic drum beat before the main riff kicks in, nice vocals from Ivan and a little more than a rising voice mixed in with the undertones and the spoken lines, it’s a song that benefits from the chorus lifting it up, a very short lead break from Andy demonstrating what he’s capable of, and then we have another breakdown before heading to the last chorus and finally the intro is the outro

Track 3 – Times Like These

This is the first breath of the album after the one two punch of the first two songs, now if you heard the cover of Blue on Black that these guys did I think the exact opposite I could imagine Kenny Wayne Shepherd do this track, it’s a bluesy almost country verse, and then the chorus which I don’t think would be out of place on an Alter Bridge album, and I think it’s a real breath of fresh air, the first two tracks are definitely what they do, it’s different and very cool, the best track for me so far!

Track 4 – Roll Dem Bones

Ok so this literally sounds like something out of Slipknots Iowa that’s not a bad thing but there’s no way you can’t hear the comparison we still have some electronic drum break parts and I feel in a way it takes the sound off 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 hear what Andy is capable of with an awesome solo right in the middle , then a big chorus and then back to that riff, good track but I can’t help but hear a comparison right 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 after you after all the ups and downs this is a song that has real unique vibe about it, nothing too harsh with the riff and again i can’t help but hear a more industrial vibe to the drums and parts of the song, it’s really hard to hear the guitars in some parts of this song they’re really stripped down, that’s what they do like when it comes to the chorus, it’s a real song to sing with a great message behind it.

Track 6 – The Day of Judgment

Again we start with what I can only describe as a hip hop intro, straight into a sung chorus with the guitar riff, it’s a rap song in the verse, no real drums, the pre-chorus is again devoid of guitar and its the chorus before having a good riff, a very strange track and not quite sure that he does anything other than break the album, maybe that’s me but if it was a bonus track on a Bodycount album it wouldn’t surprise me but in the middle of that album for me it just doesn’t work

Track 7 – acknowledgment of debt

Synth intro, check, speaking vocals, check, then we come in with a decent riff and the verse takes me back into the album again then for the prechorus we cut the guitars and go back to electronic drums and synth, again it just feels like it would have been better served with some proper dums and maybe a clean guitar than the break, because the chorus is killer i love it i just feel like some of the other songs there are too many parts that take away from the songs now that it’s a solo, unreal and fits the track perfectly and then we go back to the electronics this for me is a fantastic song that just keeps losing momentum

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 lyrics but also in the style of the silent verse embedded in the chorus, something that is not what everyone picks up from the band is something they do really well on the more ballad tracks, can’t fault this track, great chorus, love the vocals and 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. For me this 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 continues, as expected with these guys, a massive chorus, great voice from Ivan throughout the song, that solo, yeah that’s why you have a guy like Andy in the band, perfect! This is for me the title track of the album!

Track 10 – All I Know

So after the heavy we have, a soft intro with a sung chorus, then we go into a hissing verse, for some reason I’m getting Metallicas Unforgiven vibes, you know what you’re gonna get, a massive chorus, and i for a love that about the band, the songs will get stuck in your head, that’s never a bad thing, can it be predictable sometimes, yeah, but that’s a strong point and the band know that, another great solo and return in this verse melody, great track!

Runway 11 – Gold Gutter

This has some good old school, aggressive vibes from the start, again Slipknot vibes and a bit of Phil from Pantera in the spoken parts, great drumming on this one and Charlie can finally stretch his double bass chops on this one- Ci, if that hasn’t got you nodding in the pit then I don’t know! I love the breakdown in the middle and at the end of this one, the heaviest track on the album for sure!!!

Track 12 – The End

That’s it, the last track on the album, it has a unique vibe, an acoustic intro and then we go into another chorus that will stay with you, again that’s what this band does, we get to the middle and we have another synth section with drum interludes, be interesting to see how they pull off live with all the breaks in the songs, after that probably the most “djent” style riff I’ve heard these guys do, another chorus and then with the acoustic intro

It’s a solid 8/10 album, is it very 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 doesn’t seem to hurt AC/DC or Slayer so I guess not! Very nice and a great album number 9!

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