Sound — 7
Testosterone could be an instrument on Five Finger Death Punch's sophomore effort, War Is The Answer. If you like crunchy metal with as much bark as there is bite and that has a little more balls than your average rock radio act, then War is the Answer will foot the bill and then some. FFDP traffic in short blasts of energy on this album. Most of the songs hover at the three minute mark and under; few last beyond three-and-a-half minutes, so these are efficient, get in and get out songs that follow the formula of a catchy, radio-accessible song, but FFDP aren't that simple. We're surprised, too. The drums on Dying Breed and Hard to See are like rounds of fisticuffs: fast, violent, and pummeling. The riffs are chunky and full of moshability on Bullet Proof, as well. While this sound was dominating those bought-and-sold second stage slots at Ozzfest, Five Finger Death Punch don't sound like some industry-manufactured model coming down the assembly line. There's attitude here. No, they're not single-handedly reviving and resurrecting nu metal, but they are keeping it alive better than, say, forefathers like Korn. And while some of you readers may scoff at the notion of nu metal making a comeback, the genre did sell a f--k ton of records when it was in vogue, so there clearly are fans of this style. It speaks to someone, namely truckers and strippers in the meat and potatoes heartland. And if you're a math teacher in New York City and the choppy snarl of the socially-charged No One Gets Left Behind or the sensitivity of the ballad Far From Home gets you by the jugular, we'll that's completely fine.
Lyrics — 7
Clean singing. Impassioned screaming. Like any good band looking to make an impact beyond the metal underground, Five Finger Death Punch plant their feet in two vocal worlds on War is the Answer. Vocalist Ivan Moody was once in makeup-slathered, major label neo-metal act Motograter raise your hand if you remember them!- and the mother fucker can sing. The ballad Far From Home allows him to spotlight his clean, melodic vox, against some riffage that would make any 80s axe proud. He's got an above-average bark that pairs nicely with his clean singing and the band's mixed bag of tempos and riffing. Walk Away is a moody, Alice in Chains-inspired diamond in the rough, and it's another platform for Moody to showcase his voice. There's also a solo that could have been picked up somewhere in the 1980s, as well!
Overall Impression — 8
There were a few sweet, Swedish melodies in the mix here. You'd think that Five Finger Death Punch were listening to In Flames or Soilwork here and there and that influence crept into a few moments of War is the Answer, and that's to the aforementioned bands' credit. Five Finger Death Punch should be easy to dislike, but they're actually making a name for themselves amongst the Mudvaynes and Chevelles of the world, with that extra natch!- punch and ability to go as melodic as they wanna go!