Sound — 9
Five Finger Death Punch are a groove/thrash metal band from Los Angeles. The sound is completely different to the american metalcore sound of the moment. The sound uses melodies playing over typical groove/thrash chords. The vocals kick in with a very harsh, agressive typical of Machine Head vocals and then switches to a much more melodic style of singing in the chorus, the drums provide bursts of double bass in periods while holding the infectious beat found in 'Ashes' and 'Meet the Monster'. This type of thing is nothing new, with bands such as Machine Head, Prong and Fear Factory having done this. However, the sound is mixed well (thanks to Logan Mader, ex-Machine Head) and the whole album is free from the shackles of the underproduced thrash sound of albums such as Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' and Testament's 'New Order'. I was particularly impressed by the guitar work more than anything else on the album mixing the right amount of dissonance and melody and also the switching of vocals. The negatives with making your own sound, as they have done well, is that songs can sound too similar. This is a trap they seem to have fallen into, with many of the songs starting aggressive verse, melodic chorus and repeat. However the solos split up the monotone and I'm giving this album a 9 on sound.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics aren't what I would have expected of this kind of metal. Most of this kind of metal deals with social discord (Machine Head) or are more southern rock influenced (Pantera), however the vocals on 'The Way of the Fist' could be described as emotional, dealing with personal feelings towards others and personal disappointments. This makes listening to it slightly awkward. For example in 'Ashes', at the start the lyrics go a little bit like: 'You don't understand me, and you probably never will.' To hear that through an agressive groove-style vocals is slightly confusing to say the least. However many of the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and live up to the sound of the album, for example: 'I'm a walking one-man-genocide black belt in corrupt'.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is definitely for those who have a love-hate affair with current metal, e.g. Metalcore. Fans of older Thrash albums are more likely to seek the sound of older Thrash albums and may be put off by the lyrics. In the way of groove metal now, it is leagues ahead of bands such as Prong, while this album was on par with Machine Head's 'The Blackening', but losing out on the lyrics side. Not as epic as Machine Head's album either. The first song I heard was 'Ashes', which instantly won over, while 'Salvation' and 'Can't Heal You' won me over. 'The Bleeding' is slightly less aggresive and really made to be a single. For Fans of: Fear Factory, Machine Head, Prong, Trivium (post-Ascendancy), Diecast and Demon Hunter.