Metal/thrash act Five Finger Death Punch comes out of sunny California and gives us their wishy-washy debut, The Way of the Fist.
The instrumentation on the album is very solid. It's nothing amazing or mind-blowing, and it's certainly not anything you haven't heard before, but what they do, they do well. The guitar playing is very good, with lots of hooks throughout most of the songs and some very tasteful leads and solos. Lead single "The Bleeding" and "A Place to Die" both have very good intros and solos and are definitely standouts on the album. The drumming is also another high point on the album; like everything else, it's nothing amazing, but it's very solid. Some good fills and well-done double-bass add to the songs well, showcased by "Ashes."
However, the vocals...the vocals... While I shouldn't say they're bad, the vocals on this album are definitely lackluster. They follow almost the same exact pattern through most of the songs (scream/shouted verse, sung choruses) and in that sense make the album a bit repetitive. Ivan Moody's sceam/shout only stays at one pitch most of the time, while occasionally reaching for a high-pitched scream here and there. His singing on the other hand is actually pretty decent, but like I said, nothing to write home about. The bass on this album, as always on a metal record, is non-existent, and when it does actually pop up it's just following the guitars with nothing ever standing out.
Lyrically, this is where they drop the ball. There's a big "tough guy" vibe going on in the lyrics, but they try so hard to be tough that it comes off as cheesy and sometimes laughable:
- "I'm a walking one-man genocide, with a black belt in corrupt."
- "Step to me, step to me motherfucker, zip your lip, you've run out of time."
- "Everything I touch turns to ashes."
- "Where did I go wrong? Who was I supposed to be?"
In conclusion, FFDP aren't the "next big thing" in metal, even though they claim to be allied with "true metal," but that doesn't mean they don't have talent. They actually have a lot of talent, but they don't use it in the right way, and when hearing the lyrics, they come off as immature and it's hard to take them seriously. That doesn't mean this band is a total waste -- people should definitely give them a listen, but what you will be hearing is slightly above average thrash metal/metalcore with a lead singer who sounds like he's 14. Shit, no wonder they were on the Family Values Tour...