The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1 review by Five Finger Death Punch

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  • Released: Jul 30, 2013
  • Sound: 4
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 3.7 Poor
  • Users' score: 6.8 (181 votes)
Five Finger Death Punch: The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1
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Sound — 4
Heavy metal is for outsiders, we know that. Its aggression and subversive ideology ensure its anchorage to the underground, regardless of the offshoots which break the mainstream from time to time. That's the reason it will last a lifetime, but take a moment to consider the people swept up by those commercial trends, the fans for whom the passing of time has dragged them kicking and screaming from the music they loved. Nu metal is a prime example. While the more recent phenomenon of commercial metalcore continues to pump out fringed riff-peddlers some eight years on, it's been slim pickings for the brutish, protein-shake types since the turn of the millennium. Although Five Finger Death Punch play a much updated and far from pure version of what nu metal was (they notably feature guitar solos, previously the genre's kryptonite) the all-American stars fill the gap perfectly. They're heroes.

Their remarkable success has even earned them the praise of Rob Halford, who says he discovered the band and their amazing sound on one of his regular internet adventures. His guest spot on the opening track of new album "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell" is a real coup for the band; "Lift Me Up" is a familiar FFDP stomp which fits a vintage Halford verse between spurts of Slipknot-esque chanting and stocky '90s riffing.

Sadly, these compositions are rather vacant upstairs. Loud, hi-fi production and tight performances mask an over-reliance on garden variety metal riffs. "Burn MF" and "I.M. Sin" (I know, right?) are built entirely on guitar parts that have been trotted out on countless occasions by countless forgotten bands. Frontman Ivan Moody has the balance of shouts, screams and sing-songs nailed down, but his chorus hooks are highly processed and rarely feel genuine. At the contemporary end of their sound, "Anywhere But Here" is melodic and peppered with proficient lead work from Zoltan Bathory. Meanwhile, their cover of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" triggers a particularly awful series of 2001 flashbacks, when metal's mainstream ambassadors employed DJs, wore backwards caps and swung their knotted dreadlocks in a cruel whirlwind of artistic depravity.

Lyrics — 3
Moody's full of fighting talk. "Dot Your Eyes" may have a twinge of sorrow ("My life is perfect, so you believe/are you that stupid? I strongly disagree!") but the ever-resilient frontman channels the pain how any responsible man would with threats of violence. "Don't give a rat's ass what you think about me/I'll dot your eyes and cross your f--kin' teeth," he snarls. And as if that wasn't intimidating enough, he's got linguistic muscle as well - "You own a clock? Your time is up!" His approach to lyricism is tragic and hilarious in equal measure, like the village idiot struggling for a comeback when somebody makes fun of his dungarees. The vague aspirational tones of "Wrong Side of Heaven" and "M.I.N.E. (End This Way)" seem to be positioned as justification for the angst and misplaced aggression of almost every other song.

Overall Impression — 4
In fairness to Five Finger Death Punch, assembling the fanbase they have takes a lot of hard work, particularly when they're currying favour for what was thought to be a terminally uncool style. That only proves that metal is for outsiders, but only the least curious of outcasts will see this as is the best that the genre has to offer. There's a wonderful range of stuff out there, with worlds of innovation and complexity to explore. "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell"? It's big, but it ain't clever. This is brainless macho garbage.

111 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Javis425
    I love the "metal for outsiders" but I also very much enjoy these guys. I don't look for complexity and all that in every band I listen to. Sometimes I want to listen to straightforward "angsty" rock. Downvote me all you want, but I'm enjoying this album
    staceap
    Know what you mean, dude, that's what attracts me to stuff like Deez Nuts and *shock horror* Emmure. Got enough music that's trying to be all deep and insightful, sometimes you just want some something fun to bounce around to!
    guitarded222
    same i thought it was great. people can knock them all they want but at least they have their own sound, which most metal bands cannot say these days.
    Masterofpirates
    You know it is possible to drink protein shakes and also not like shitty metal.
    vppark2
    Yeah, I thought that was uncalled for...I drink em all the time after lifting heavy weights....and I dont listen to this shit.
    headbang123
    The songs are kinda alright (though slightly unoriginal). But the lyrics are pitiful.
    EpiExplorer
    Too much bro-ness for me. Gotta find my Tapout vest, OBEY hat, get a terrible fringe-cut and drink loads of Monster, Relentless, Red Bull, Red Rooster and shitty mass-produced beer in front of everyone to be able to listen to this. But that's just me.
    a drummer
    you're not the only one. this shit just oozes bro-ness. they wouldn't be too bad if his lyrics weren't directly out of an angry teenagers diary. They are just so cliche and simply put, bad.
    Burnzyburns
    This band kills me, because they are pretty damn good at throwing down a thick, fast riff... But they're choruses are usually awful, I hate his lyrics and their image is a joke. I wish they were even more just dumb bro, rather than "I'm a tough guy, but I can cry too" since they can't come up with a good melody or lyrics. I think they'd be a solid band if they cut their losses and just try to be Pantera-type heavy all the time.
    SIEGE312
    Honestly I really don't think they take themselves that seriously. Whenever I've seen em live it really looks like they're just out to have fun. That being said, if you look at it the same way, it can be more easily enjoyed on occasion.
    Burnzyburns
    I do agree with that, good point. I still wish there was someone with a whip to flog them all every time they write a melodic chorus. Leave those to people with songwriting talent. But then again I'm the guy that says "they're" instead of "their."
    Logan_B
    Why does their "image" matter. Who the **** cares, enjoy the music buddy..
    westley23j
    dont forget about the Affliction t shirt under the vest. all tool bags gotta wear an Affliction t...
    Cavalcade
    "Burn motherfvcker burn motherfvcker burn"? Really? Are you shitting me? I just checked my phone, and apparently this isn't 2001, and that isn't the "new" Dope single. Well, now I'm just confused.
    EvilorDivine68
    Brb guys, getting my camo shorts, Tapout shirt, tons of beer and Monsters, and my bros while we use shitty grammar skills on those who say this album sucks because it actually does in almost every way.
    swastika
    I like the album, does its job to pump up your blood and make you shake your fist in the air and that's all I expect from a 4 minute -ish Nu Metal(or call it whatever u like) song. and when the band presents the ballads (as in M.I.N.E) I believe they manage to deliver in a pretty decent way. as the other fella said, not everything is supposed to have a complicated multi-layered structure. IMO it deserves at least a 7.5 from 10.
    dewitt
    I wouldn't say it deserves a 7.5, at least. It deserves a 5. Think about the range of numbers to choose from. 5 is in the middle, and it even says "average" right beside it. This album is very average for this kind of music -- nothing special, nothing too horrible. Therefore, it deserves at least a 5. Anything less than that is judging it too subjectively, which isn't a very professional way to review music.
    Black Mustangs
    Did anyone at all during the writing and recording process mention to these guys that they could have just named the two albums "The Wrong Side of Heaven" and "The Righteous Side of Hell" rather than this volume bullshit?
    EddieRowan
    I know these guys get a lot of sh*t for some reason (mostly from the purists and elitists) but whereas a lot of modern bands sound the same, these guys stick out to me. They are instantly recognizable, have a signature sound, and for the most part are awesome at what they do. I know I'm probably gonna get downvoted to hell for this opinion that is clearly the wrong opinion, but I look forward to hearing more from 5FDP
    crazysam23_Atax
    The problem is, underneath their distortion and the average vocals, musically...they're no different than any other Nu-Metal band. Only thing is, they're kind of like Creed. Whereas Creed did Grunge when most Grunge bands had either switched to a different genre or broken up, 5FDP do Nu-Metal when Nu-Metal has mostly faded. Also, a ton of bands can do the teenage style angst thing; it's so cliched.
    wylde1994
    I'm just a normal dude, and I enjoy FFDP's material. I'm always impressed with the guitar solo's, i think Jason Hook is a very underrated guitar player.
    nashmanz
    The lyrics. Oh my god, the lyrics!!! Haven't had a good laugh in a long, long time. Thank you FFDP.
    Lord.Yosef.Vonl
    Ivan Moody is unfortunately failing as a singer. His work in Motograter was exceptional, and the first FFDP album was awesome. Ever since getting a taste for fame they've recycled their own riffs and lyrics, and try too hard for the Affliction wearing supplement monkeys.
    Cavalcade
    "Affliction wearing supplement monkeys." There's an insult I'll have to use sometime.
    Lord.Yosef.Vonl
    I hope that you will lol. People need to realize how ridiculous it is to be a complete douchebag for no reason. Also, Viewtiful I hope you're just being a troll. Otherwise your ignorance is just absurd. I sing different FFDP lyrics to their own songs when I listen to them, just because they've recycled so much.
    EvilorDivine68
    Listen to the riff in "Burn It Down" and the riff right after the first chorus in "The Way of the Fist." It is the EXACT same thing.
    Viewtifuldude
    It's not, and if you think they're "lol so unorgnle" because they revised and changed up an old riff they used before, I guess literally every song after the beginning of music is unoriginal.
    EvilorDivine68
    It definitely is. If you don't think the rhythmic pattern and the note sequences (including the key) aren't the same, then you need to take the bro-ness out of your ears. It's one thing for a band to write the same passages and riffs as another band, but when they rip off themselves, yeah, they are clearly unoriginal. Oh, and try not to talk like we're some trolling idiots that can't spell, idiot.
    Reanitheory1
    While I agree it's pretty predictable, that's kind of what I listen to FFDP for. It's kind of like the band equivalent of a "generic cliche action movie", Just switch off your mind when listening and try not to overanalize their songs and you'll have a good time.
    Lou108
    This album is drivel, musically dull and very predictable; as is most of their back catalog. But that being said, i still like the style and their sound. Not really sure why, i just do.
    RoamingConflict
    Angry teenagers will go apeshit for this. I guess they managed to hit their target market perfectly. Besides that, this album has nothing to offer.
    ewolf5150
    i remember when i thought FFDP was cool, then i realized i wasn't 20 anymore. the bro-ness, workout, jock metal, im gonna beat you up, im angry lyrics are to corny for me now. FFDP is the quintessential generic beginners guide to heavy metal. they appeal to the poser metal crowd and use generic riffing, terrible lyrics, and simple song structures and ppl buy it hook line and sinker. ( i used to be one of them)
    link no1
    "I realized I wasn't 20 anymore, so I had to stop listening to them and do what everybody else did so I would fit in." That's essentially what you just said. It's pretty ironic that you said they appeal to 'the poser metal crowd' when you in fact, sound like a poser.
    kartikc11
    chorus for burn MF very similar to...?
    mysticguitar77
    Yep, the chant in the chorus is exactly the same except FFDP used 'burn' instead of 'die'. Too similar to be just a coincidence AND taking this further, Dope has another song called "Burn" which also has a similar chant in the chorus with lyrics of "burn, burn, burn the MF down". Given that information, you can make your own judgment or just choose what you want to believe. Regardless, I think it's quite obvious where the inspiration came from.
    TheHydra
    Not a Five Finger Death Punch fan, but I dig that "Lift Me Up" single. Chorus is pretty good and the riffing is alright.
    mustaine42
    While I'm not a fan of their new work, I really love The Way of the Fist. I don't hear the nu metal thing, though.
    HeavyMetalSonic
    Most metal bands (the good ones) write songs about many different things. There's religion, war, politics, movies, books, comic book characters, video games, personal experiences... but with these guys, it's the same two things over and over. It's either about a failed relationship or 'I hate you and I'm gonna beat you up.'
    Viewtifuldude
    American Capitalist - American Capitalism Under and Over it - not letting fame corrupt you The Pride - being united despite differences Coming Down - Dealing with suicide Menace - doing something for you, not just pleasing everyone else Generation Dead - Losing faith in the progression and integrity of a generation back For More - Give it your all, always do you best and you'll succeed in life That's a chunk from the last album, shall i go on to the other two?
    vppark2
    Under and Over It - "Did you hear the one about me being a prick? Did you know I don't care? You can suck my... Did you hear the one about me trying to die? Fist in the air and a finger to the sky. Do I care if you hate me? Do you wanna know the truth? C'est la vie....adis....good riddance....**** you!" Those lyrics actually speak to you?
    duncang
    In his defence, not many artists can write in three languages. That takes real class.
    Cavalcade
    "I have sampled every language, French is my favorite. Fantastic language. Especially to curse with. Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculer ta mre. It's like wiping your arse with silk. I love it." -the classiest movie ever (thanks, IMDB)
    Viewtifuldude
    And duncang, that's "defense". Thanks for your "help", but I really don't need it.
    duncang
    It's British English. I would have expected a cultured gentleman like yourself to know that!
    Viewtifuldude
    Way the **** more than any piece of shit Dillenger Escape Plan lyrics do. I don't listen to them for enlightenment, I listen for entertainment, and catharsis. You honestly, you, cannot relate to being discriminated against for you actions, fashion, life styles or opinions? The songs about ditching all of the bad in your life, and distancing yourself from malice or anything unnecessarily threatens your happiness.
    Cavalcade
    You see, the problem is that you're acting like FFDP is the first, or the best, band to write about these things. They are neither. There are plenty of bands that write about these topics in a way that isn't pants-on-head Neanderthal. Catharsis, sure, why not. I'm sure this is great gym music. But only if- and this is a big "if"- you have a high tolerance for cheese. And when a Wintersun devotee says your music is too cheesy, IT'S TOO CHEESY.
    DeadMansHand
    It was better than American Capitalist for sure. I think UG just likes to rate on a downward slope from first albums to latest albums.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    They are groove metal not nu metal in the slightest.
    crazysam23_Atax
    They have all the characteristics of NuMetal. Sorry.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    all the characteristics, besides the tech nine track where is the rapping it's not there they are a watered down form of groove metal
    crazysam23_Atax
    That's not what Nu-Metal is... This is a good description of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NuMetal#Cha...
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    dude I know what nu metal is that used to be my thing in middle school. Considering that FFDP isn't on the list of nu metal bands I'm gonna say you don't know what nu metal is.
    Mixu93
    If they are so bad why people buy their albums? I personally think this is a better than American Capitalist and I can't wait for Vol. 2!
    Shimmeh
    If popularity = quality, then Happy Birthday is the best song of all time.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Why do people buy anything? Just because they sell albums doesn't make them great. Because a "group does it" isn't usually the best justification.
    Guitaristallday
    This was a pretty shitty review, the reviewer obviously hates the band and used the review of the album to pour out his dislike for the nu-metal genre. We all know nu-metal isn't the most wonderful of metals, but to give a decent album a 3 just because you don't like the band itself is not fair to the album.
    Fivestringmchin
    FYE FINGUR DERP PURNNNNCH. the part where Halford sings is okay.. but Ivan nope. wants to be Anselmo way too hard lol
    xmattmassacrex7
    This album to me is pretty good. I love this band. They have rapidly rise up my chart of favorite bands. This album is certainly no their best (American Capitalist is IMO). However, this is a solid record. Many of the songs make you wanna head bang like crazy or go apeshit in a mosh, which is what FFDP does best with their music. The lyrics might not be the greatest but the music is pretty legit. If i had to give my honest opinion i would say it deserves a 7-7.5/10
    Slayer35
    Some songs are great, like Lift me up, M.I.N.E,DOAD, Wrong side of heaven, anywhere but here and watch you bleed. You is alright, the rest I skip.
    alees68851
    Another review here guys worth checking out http://rockandmetalmusicreviews.blogspot...
    RJDfan666
    Yeah this review is a little more fair. Idk if id rate it as high as 8/10. But at least the reviewer sounds intelligent and makes valid points instead of taking the Neanderthal approach that this reviewer does.
    Cavalcade
    That was a painfully bland review. I didn't learn anything from it at all that I couldn't get from Wikipedia. Who is this random kid with a blog anyway? You?
    machineheadmf
    This 'random kid' is actually a guy who is probably in his 40's. He reviews a lot of new records, mostly that of Hard Rock and Metal but also does band reviews which can range from solo artists in the Pop Culture (Justin Bieber etc.) down to classic names (Megadeth, Slayer etc.) and also the ones which will most definitely get him some hate (Avenged Sevenfold, Asking Alexandria, Blood On The Dancefloor and Black Veil Brides to name just a few). He is actually a very funny guy and respects everyone else's opinions. He just voices his and others like it because he at least gives reasoning to why he likes/dislikes certain artists/albums. Also, he is called CoverKillerNation (CKN). I respect the guy for what he does. He wasn't making the review to tell you whether or not to buy the album, he made it to say his opinion and then to tell you to just go see what you think for yourself.
    Cavalcade
    I was talking about the blog post, not the video. I know (unfortunately) who CoverKiller is. I just didn't know he was in his fourties; I'm not sure if that makes it sadder.
    auzzietaco
    I haven't listened to FFDP, but this seems to be similar to Bullet for my Valentine's last album. A lot of potential,but angry teenager writing
    Viewtifuldude
    Oh my god you have no idea what you're talking about.
    vppark2
    He clearly does. Both terrible albums filled with teenage angst. Any worthy lyrics on this album worth mentioning? lol nope.
    Viewtifuldude
    "auzzietaco posted on Aug 05, 2013 067 am: I haven't listened to FFDP..." "vppark2 posted on Aug 06, 2013 03:37 am: He clearly does...[know what he's talking about]"
    BassKitten
    If they played this on the radio I might have a fangirl heart attack... like when they played in the end by bvb. no matter how shit you may think the band plz just step back and look at the big picture. after listening to bands for a few years you tend to take for granted that these people are real musicians with real drums and real guitars . just think to the poor people who will never discover punk n metal and listen to their autotuned 4-chord pitch corrected shit made in 2 seconds flat by some rich ass producer. you may not like their music but at least appreciate the talent required. \m/
    EpiExplorer
    Their technical skill isn't in question, its their ability to write cohesive and enjoyable music, and when put in the bigger picture, as you say, they write really uninteresting songs in an uninteresting genre.
    Cavalcade
    If this is "real music", I'd rather listen to "fake music" (whatever the flying fvck that means). Some of those people you write off for using samples have more songwriting talent in their pinkies than this band. If the highest compliment you can give them is "at least they play physical instruments", you should take a step back and look at some of the drivel you're spewing. Here, watch this:
    EvilorDivine68
    When I look at the bigger picture, I see the same lyrics going alone the lines of "I don't ****ing care what you think about me, kiss my ass mother****er, say it to my ****ing face." EVERY damn song of theirs' is like this. They sound like angst-filled 14 year-olds, and Ivan sounds like an 80 year-old trying to poop with a massive hemorrhoid.
    TheHydra
    Who cares about real instruments? It's been done.
    mysticguitar77
    That's not an album cover, it's a promo poster of some kind and I never accused either band of being posers so I don't know what you're getting at.
    DeeJay.CazTodd
    the best part of loving 5FDP is that we dont give a **** what you think. we love it so **** off!
    Cavalcade
    I didn't know that registering just to post how much you don't give a **** was "not giving a ****". You "Affliction-wearing supplement monkey".
    Shreddinator666
    I've always liked this band when I want to jam out to something simple and catchy, but I just can't get into this album, covering "Mama said knock you out" is just laughable. Also the solos in this are all weak and predictable.
    aqil.mardini
    I would say that this part of the album is a step back up from American Capitalist. If you're looking for a Way Of The Fist or a heavier album like I did, this isn't exactly going to be it. However, the technicals were very well written and produced and the lyrics are... Ivan. Simple, repetitive, amateuristic but was well structured, emotionally relatable and catchy. The collaborations don't have much impact though. I do have to agree that the album becomes a bore coming to the end. 3.5/5
    ju.da.sguitar
    this review is highly subjective,is notable their hate , should be more consistent with their previous records and as band and not what he like or not i think that is amazing and so versatile
    Kickass2000
    I love 5FDP, but this one they have gone a little off from their normal style. This is bound to happen. Every band goes thru this phase. I am not very impressed their previous albums were truly kick ass without having to try hard especially "War is the answer" and "American Capitalist". this one they tried too hard to deliver and failed I guess. Hope they stick to their basics. and revert to their original style. Cheers