Five Finger Death Punch: 'The Song Has to be a Song Before You Add the Guitar Solo'

"There's a difference between just shredding and showing off or writing songs," says guitarist Zoltan Bathory.

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According to Five Finger Death Punch axeman Zoltan Bathory, songwriting and the genuine emotion each song carries is what comes first as far as the work of LA metal five-piece is considered.

During a recent chat with Loudwire, Bathory discussed the progress of the group's upcoming double album "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell," emphasizing that in its core, "a song has to be a song."

"The way we write, we are songwriters first and foremost," the guitarist said. "Every one of us can play. We are technical players. When it comes to songs, there's a difference between just shredding and showing of or writing songs. That's a different talent. First and foremost, the song has to be a song then you start to think about yeah, let's add a guitar solo. But a song, the core of it has to be the song."

Bathory explained further, saying, "It has to be something that makes you feel some way. If a song is just blah then we don't care. You have a big pallet. A song can make you feel different ways. A song can make you aggravated. A song can make you feel powerful or a song can put you in a melancholy mood. A song has many ways to affect you emotionally or your mind state. When we write a record we try to dabble into old feelings."

The guitarist also reached the subject of some of the guest vocalists featured on the new record, which include the likes of Rob Halford and Max Cavalera. As expected, the guitarist singled out the metal gods' frontman as the most prominent figure on the guest list, calling him a "legend and a founding father of the genre itself."

"Every vocalist has a signature," Bathory said. "When you hear Rob Halford singing three words and you know who it is, right? Or Max Cavalera or any of these guys; they have their own signature. You can't really barter with that because that is their signature. So when you get to this point where we could actually do this, it was a very fun thing. That is pretty much how it came about."

The release date of the double record's first volume steadily approaches, as it is officially set to drop on July 23 via Prospect Park Records.

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28 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Mountain_Goat
    When you write a song, you need to make sure that song is a song, if its not a song, then add more song until the song is definately a song. My brain hurts
    Caerbannog
    Personally, I can't stand this band's music, but he makes some valid points (as messily-worded as it is). Having the songwriting take a back seat to guitar solos is all too evident in a lot of Metal. Take Malmsteen, for example; his peak was easily during the Odyssey era, which contained brilliantly written songs. Whereas, these days, it's quite evident he doesn't care so much and churns-out weak songs around his solos.
    NateCochrane93
    this is pretty ironic coming from the guys who have done multiple albums with the same guitar riff
    rbe6
    every FFDP song is a song, hell, they are all even same so ngs
    sonofgkex
    I think he means that before you write a solo you need to figure out which two chords you will be butchering for 6 minutes. If you fail to do this the album will not sell to bros and meat-heads worldwide
    henrihell
    The guys in dragonforce should read this. Then mayve they would stop the guitarwankery and start making music.
    DystoCreativity
    Nah, that's their thing - pure, unadulterated, guitarwankery. Oh, and ridiculous lyrics about dragons having unprotected gay sex with wizards.
    Caerbannog
    The songs on Sonic Firestorm were superbly written, though they seemed to exhaust all their ideas with that album and everything since then has been pretty dire.
    Scarface88
    This is basically what I said in a comment on another article last week. You can't just throw things into a song because you're a rock/metal/jazz band; they have to fit. If the song sounds right with four or five verses, no chorus, no solo, no catchy riffs, then so be it. If it sounds right with loads of riffs (a la Call of Ktulu) then ok.
    sideslick
    "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell" reminds me on a Volbeat album. Anyone else with me?
    Kaseke
    I have to disagree on writing the song first... An awesome guitar solo part can some times spun off an awesome song, though that is rarely the case, but still.
    Rastapunk
    That's not true, a song doesn't have to be structured, it's an art.
    DystoCreativity
    Write a song that has no structure at all, and tell me it is amazing. Even the most chaotic, formless songs still have a backbone keeping everything together.
    payro21
    any of the new songs from August Burns Red...very little actual structure. But its probably the best album of the year so far.
    mitchbabineau
    a song isn't a song without a guitar solo.
    Andytheman87
    They haven't heard of changing the key for the solo?? They're just going to change the key on the backup guitars and sound lame?? They probably just noodle over top of the same chord progression anyways. This band is sub-nickelback