Sound — 6
When I think of Five Finger Death Punch, several terms come to mind: distinguished, innovative, unique, and impressive to name a few right off the top of my head. So, essentially, I was rather excited when I got word that they were to release their second offering, "War Is the Answer". After having listened to "Way of the Fist" a hundred times over (and I still am to this very day) I expected a beast of a record. I heard "Hard to See" on their MySpace prior to the actual release of the record and my impression was that it was a decent song - very FFDP. So, having purchased the album itself in its entirety I have very mixed feelings. Sound-wise I find a few issues. Personally, I am not a very big fan of the guitar tones. I find them very muddy and lacking a certain punch. In turn, they tend to drown out the drums which I find to be very annoying because there are some solid beats on this record in certain places. I found this to be a problem on "Way of the Fist" as well and I had hoped the issue would be addressed prior to this recording's release. Carrying on, I must praise Moody's vocal performances. They range from vehement and very bitter to emotionally charged and passional and it tends to suit FFDP's sound overall even if they tend to bog down the musical integrity at times. FFDP tend to follow the screamed verse, sung chorus formula. Which can be good. However, to me it seems that because they follow this particular formula, a lot of the songs tend to grow very weak and brittle when the chorus comes making it almost difficult to diffrentiate between two songs, making them sound very similar in terms of what the guitar is doing at the time. There some very strong tracks on this record such as the opener "Dying Breed", their cover of Bad Company's "Bad Company" (which completely destroys the original version), "No One Gets Left Behind" the ballad "Far From Home" and "Hard to See". There are some very weak tracks, however, such as "Falling In Hate", the incredibly pretentious "Walk Away", and the title track "War Is the Answer".
Lyrics — 4
I'll admit it. FFDP's lyrics have never been their strongest point. At times it feels as if a rebellious 12 year-old sat down and started scribbling his frustrations down on a napkin. The lyrics tend to lack a considerable amount of substance and they aren't very engaging. Much of the album is a major bitch fest where Moody has decided to vent his anger regarding personal issues, war, politics - a seemingly very standard array of topics. I will give him props, though for "Far From Home" and "Crossing Over". They slightly make up for the lack of substance the rest of the songs contribute. Lines such as "I'll slap you so f--king hard it'll feel like you kissed a fright train" do not tend get me pumped, instead they make me laugh and wonder how anyone can take this guy seriously if he is truly this angry.
Overall Impression — 5
"War is the Answer" is a very hit or miss album. Musically, they haven't grown. I was hoping for some growth or at least something similar to "Way of the Fist" but having its own unique edge and qualities, showcasing a liking for change and expansion. But, I didn't get that. What I got was a decent -and nothing more, nothing less- ATTEMPT. Some songs shine, some songs just fail. More than a few songs tend to sound very similar when the chorus arrives and that makes the album fail to deliver in many areas. Some riffs are rehashed and recycled from other artists, and at times sound like they were recycled from their previous album. They could have have limited the record to containing one slow song, that being "Far From Home". The other don't stand up and honestly feel like fillers along with some of the heavier tracks that simply fail to impress. Perhaps they're trying to showcase their softer side? It's not working. Overall, the album is just okay. It's a disappointing ride many times througout. It gets you pumped up at one point, then it lets you down. I think I'll be listening to "Way of the Fist" more than "War Is the Answer". And no, I wouldn't buy it again if it were stolen.