This February saw Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) release their eagerly anticipated eighth studio album F8. Whilst there is no mistaking that this a Death Punch record, their legions of global fans are in for one hell of a surprise. This release is their most diverse and ambitious release to date. It has a little bit of everything for everyone.
After the intro track, the album opens proper with ‘Inside Out’ their first single release, a song with the familiar sound we have grown accustomed to. But it is when the record gets to track five that things change. ‘A Little Bit Off’ opens with a gentle acoustic guitar by Jason (Hook – guitar) with a sound that would fit in any modern song. Ivan (Moody – vocals) delivers his honest and open lyrics with a kind of vulnerability that can resonate with all of us (when we are having ‘one of those days’) – I was half expecting the band to kick in fully and the song to come crashing in but thankfully it doesn’t. It is clear that for FFDP less is more and that makes for a beautifully delivered track. The lyrics talk about some of the issues that Ivan (and the rest of the band) have been facing for the last couple of years, which gives the track a particular relevance. ‘Bottom Of The Top’ takes us back to the familiar musical territory of early Death Punch releases. What is apparent on this track though is Charlie (Engen -drums) is a very different drummer and brings a technical freshness that carries the band viciously along and allows Ivan to spit with some ferocity.
Stand out songs for me on this record are the aforementioned ’A Little Bit Off’, ‘This is War’, ‘Brighter Side of Grey’ and two bonus tracks – ‘Making Monster’ and the brilliantly named ‘Death Punch Therapy’.
What makes the album stand out for me is its contrast. Ivan sings cleaner and more melodically than on previous releases, but don’t let that sway your opinion. He still does his fair share of screaming and utilises more techniques and sounds than before. He has opened his heart to the world with lyrics that are honest, appropriate and relevant in this current climate. The band have released a mature album that challenges the norm but remains a Five Finger Death Punch record. Every time I listened to the album, I found something new. I think everyone will find something for them and at least one song will resonate with you. This might just be their best release to date!
F8 is out now on Better Noise Music (Formally known as Eleven Seven Music)