Since 2013 the band FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has provided me with a ton of comedic fodder. The double album travesty in 2013, Got Your Six in 2015, then 2018’s horrific And Justice For None were harbingers that I’d make fun of them with each and every subsequent release. Bear in mind, this is a band I used to love once upon a time. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. First of all I heard bassist Chris Kael got sober (Step One), and then singer Ivan Moody’s rehab finally stuck (good for him!). Finally, a new drummer came with Charlie Engen. And quite frankly I think all three of those things rejuvenated the band for new album F8 (Better Noise). By the way, Engen is really good!!
“Full Circle” grabs us by the throat and refuses to let go. This song should be the set opener, and if it isn’t the guys have no idea what a missed opportunity that is. “Living the Dream” is heavy as fuck with some timely lyrics that blur and blend the lines between fiction and reality. The hook is well done, and Moody does some of the best singing I’ve heard from him in nearly a decade. Rhythm guitarist Zoltan Bathory and lead shredder Jason Hook really come together on this track, and I guarantee we’re gonna hear this one live for years to come. Oh, and “Bottom of the Top” is an exercise in how to make a killer metal song that makes you want to put your head through a goddamn window. Because that’s exactly how it made me feel!!
Out of nowhere comes “A Little Bit Off”, an acoustic-tinged number that is actually one of the best things I’ve heard these guys do. So clearly it was an album favorite. Then the aforementioned “Bottom of the Top” caves your goddamn heads in, doesn’t it? Those meaty, dirty riffs take no prisoners, and you can tell the band is a focused, well-oiled machine. I can’t believe this is the same group I’ve been skewering for seven years, I really can’t.”To Be Alone” is a catchy mid-tempo number with a great chorus and very, VERY good lyrics. Yep, another favorite. I wasn’t initially sold on “Mother May I (Tic Toc)” but it is actually a pretty heavy number with arguably the best guitar solo on the whole thing.
“This Is War” shows both Hook and Bathory swinging that barbed-wire baseball bat, especially during the chorus : ”You want it, you got it, take it, this WAAAAR!!” It’s a song we can all headbang to. “Scar Tissue” comes down with the strength of a jackhammer, hell bent on crushing you. Official closer “Brighter Side of Grey” is gorgeous, and the riff is perfect. In a sea of favorites, THIS was the album favorite. Ivan Moody delivers a powerhouse performance, and the boys just kick ass. There are two bonus tracks, “Making Monsters” which basically sounds like white privileged guys losing a water polo tournament. That’s one. “Death Punch Therapy”, does the complete opposite and gets the blood pumping!
Hey guys, at the end of the day I really enjoyed this FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH release in F8. I didn’t mention it earlier, but Kevin Churkos’s production is off the charts. The band seems like they are fully together for the first time in a long time, and the results speak for themselves. I am all too happy to finally say that these guys are back after seven years of nonsense. Sobriety seems to agree with Ivan Moody, the proof is in the pudding and the subject matter of the lyrics. I really hope they’ve put all the bad behind them, and that 2020 will be the year they thrive. Because quite frankly I want to take Mini-Amps to see them again this summer so I can watch him rock out!! Seriously though, what a great record!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Brighter Side of Grey”, “A Little Bit Off”, “To Be Alone”, “Living the Dream”, “Bottom of the Top”