Trading with a name that comes right out of the pulp fiction world of a Quentin Tarantino movie Five Finger Death Punch (famously taken from a scene from Kill Bill 2) could easily have been dismissed as tongue-in-cheek metal chancers. ‘The Way of the Fist’ (possibly another reference to Martial Arts B-movies) proved that there’s more to this band than their name gaining critical reverence and shifting enough units to be certified Gold. With the follow up ‘War Is The Answer’ and third album ‘American Capitalist’ achieving the same status FFDP are no longer just a metal band with a quirky name.
Packing eleven original tracks plus three alternative versions featuring a selection of pals FFDP have acquired over the past six years of being, ‘The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1’ (hereby simply known as ‘TWSOHATRSOH #1’ for the remainder of this review) enters with the vociferous ‘Lift Me Up’ featuring none other than Rob Halford of Judas Priest. It’s one of the most sublime intros to a metal album I’ve heard in a long time with crunchy alt-metal guitars operating a heavy duty riff with more than just a passing nod to Rob Halford’s ‘Priest’ of yesteryear.
‘Watch You Bleed’, ‘Wrong Side of Heaven’ and ‘M.I.N.E (End This Way) follow the classic FFDP theme of bittersweet melodic verses and shouty anthemic choruses. ‘Anywhere But Here’ continues this theme but with the addition of Maria Brink of ‘In This Moment’ to share vocal duties (even transpiring into a full on duet on track 13). ‘Diary of a Deadman’ likewise takes the rough with the smooth only with the verse taking influence from late 90’s Nu-Metal balladeers.
‘You’ is a short, sharp groove metal/nu-metal rampage that while peppered with generic and somewhat cliche characteristics, still ticks all the right boxes to make you wanna jump about and crash skulls. It’s nothing new but it’s still fun and irreverent.
‘Burn MF’ begins with a tasty old school Thrash Metal riff not one hundred miles away from Chris Poland era Megadeth. Any thoughts that FFDP were about to embark on a traditional Thrash Metal number are soon stripped away as the verse reverts back to the band’s usual formula even though the original riff does reappear, most notably during the chorus.
‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ could easily have appeared on an early ‘Limp Bizkit’ record, whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on your point of view regarding that whole rap-metal scene. Late 80’s/early 90’s R’n’B nuances litter the track even daring into verge on ‘Art of Noise’ territory during the pseudo-guitar solo. If you’re a grim, fiercely gloomy type you’ll hate this song as much as you go sunlight, however, if you’ve even got the tiniest speck of a sense of humour then this could well be your next metal party anthem.
Both ‘I.M.Sin’ and ‘Dot Your Eyes’ are reprised later in the album with the addition of Max Cavalera and Jamey Jasta respectively. However with very few discernible differences between the duplicated tracks one could question the need to include both versions on the album.
I sat through ‘TWSOHATRSOH #1’ more times than I care to remember, simply because it’s an album that I found very hard to put down and only stopping when my ears began to ring like the bells of St Clements with tinnitus. If Volume 1 is anything to go by then Volume 2 (due to be released 9th November 2013) is going to cement FFDP’s status as one of the foremost stars of modern metal.
The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Right Side Of Hell, Volume 1
Released: 30th July 2013
01 Lift Me Up (feat Rob Halford of Judas Priest) x
02 Watch You Bleed x
03 You x
04 Wrong Side of Heaven x
05 Burn MF x
07 Anywhere But Here (feat Maria Brink) x
08 Dot Your Eyes
09 M.I.N.E (End This Way) x
10 Mamma Said Knock You Out x
11 Diary of a Deadman x
12 I.M.Sin (feat Max Cavalera)
13 Anywhere But Here (duet with Maria Brink) x
14 Dot Your Eyes (feat Jamey Jasta)
Five Finger Death Punch are:
Ivan – Vocals
Zoltan – Guitars
Jeremy – Drums
Chris – Bass
Jason – Guitars