It’s not until you line them all up in a collection like this that you remember just how many bangers Five Finger Death Punch have in their arsenal. “Arena sized anthems” is an often over-used phrase, but the platinum-selling Americans have them by the bucketload. Exhibit A – ‘Wash It All Away’, by Christ, I had forgotten how primal that was. The crunching twin guitar groove metal that gives way to an absolute mammoth “arena sized” chorus? Impossible to resist. Exhibit B – ‘Lift Me Up’, guest vocals from Rob Halford? Where do I sign? The list is endless. After settling the much publicised legal battle with current (for the minute) record label Prospect Park, the next studio album is crucial, not just for 5FDP, but metal in general. Each year another household name calls it quits, and the question “where are the next generation of festival headliners?” usually rears its ugly head. Along with Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Stone Cherry and a resurgent Disturbed, Zoltan Bathory and his bandmates are capable of making the leap from arena band to headliners-in-waiting.
‘A Decade Of Destruction’ runs sixteen tracks long, and covers (as the cunning title suggests) a decade’s worth of material from six studio albums. The early birthing stages of the band spits out ‘The Bleeding’ from the certified gold debut, ‘The Way of the Fist’. Following straight after is ‘Jekyll And Hyde’, and it’s interesting to see how much 5FDP has evolved since 2007. ‘The Bleeding’ hints at the blend of in-your-face metal and melodic commerciality that ‘Jekyll And Hyde’ produced on a larger scale. By the time that ‘Got Your Six’ appeared in 2015, Ivan Moody had grown into a formidable vocalist and frontman. The demons he battles are well documented, but perhaps best summed up by the lines “I just wanna be Jekyll but I’m always fighting Hyde”. Formed from a voicemail message that Moody left guitarist Jason Hook, it’s a high-sheen slice of commercial metal with ironically enough, monster-sized hooks.
If you go to a 5FDP gig, you can be sure of a few things; you will get caught up in a pit, you might get instructed by Moody to sit down and start rowing, and you will sing and scream at the top of your voice. When they start up the raucous cover of ‘Bad Company’, and especially after a few pints of warm over-priced beer, you will be caught up in the atmosphere, and find yourself screaming along to the chorus. How about ‘I Apologize’? Anything with a chorus the size of Godzilla needs a few thousand voices bellowing it out alongside the band, and this beast is tailor made for that, same with ‘Battle Born’. I class that as the metal version of little Jon’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ – “I’ve been a thousand places and shook a million hands, I don’t know where I’m going but I know just where I’ve been…”. Two new songs are tagged on to make it more appealing to the fans that already have all the albums. ‘Trouble’ is what you could describe as a “typical” 5FDP song, and a cover of The Offspring’s ‘Gone Away’ highlights the softer, arena-friendly aspect of the band. Both have massive riffs, humongous solos, and the hooks that you would expect from Five Finger Death Punch. ‘A Decade Of Destruction’ is a timely reminder of the potency of a band that perhaps doesn’t get half the recognition and respect they deserve.
Available December 1st on various formats… including cassette! More details on their website.
Review: Dave Stott