After a tough couple of years, including a legal battle with their label and several controversial incidents involving vocalist Ivan Moody, metal heavyweights Five Finger Death Punch have finally released their seventh album, And Justice For None. The Las Vegas band recently celebrated 10 years since their debut by releasing a ‘greatest hits’ album titled A Decade of Destruction, so there was a fair amount of pressure on them to live up to past successes.
Judging by the cover, with its almost too on-the-nose depiction of a monstrous dictator initiating the apocalypse, one might expect this to be Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘political album’, potentially tackling issues like political corruption and the threat of nuclear war. But these themes don’t really present themselves on the album itself, which is unfortunate as Moody’s furious vocals could have been well suited for this. Opener ‘Fake’, about an egotistical figure, could be interpreted as being directed at Donald Trump, although they’re a bit too vague to say for sure.
Five Finger Death Punch’s aggression, particularly Moody’s vocals, has always been a signature part of their sound, and is something which fans have come to expect from the band. And Justice For None continues to deliver this aggression, on storming tracks like ‘Fake’, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ and ‘Rock Bottom’. Songs like these, while nothing groundbreaking, carry on the FFDP tradition of massive riffs and huge angry hooks to yell along to.
On ‘Sham Pain’ Moody venomously retaliates to those who have criticised him in the past, calling out various music sites and the label who tried to sue him. He sings “All in all it’s a good life, I got what I want, I can’t complain” yet goes on to complain about meeting fans and his life in general, saying “The whole thing’s turned into one big joke.” Doesn’t sound like such a good life to me…
Alongside the aggressive, heavy tracks there are a few which demonstrate Five Finger Death Punch’s slower side. The melodramatic ballad ‘I Refuse’ sounds like FFDP trying to achieve their equivalent of ‘Nothing Else Matters’, although Moody’s growling, over-the-top delivery and cheesy acoustic guitar solo causes it to sound almost like a parody of these sorts of songs.
Aside from Moody, the rest of Five Finger Death Punch do a fine job, particularly guitarist Zoltan Bathory and drummer Jeremy Spencer, providing thick, meaty riffs and and a punchy rhythm section. However, there’s nothing to really set And Justice For None apart; instead the band seem to have just created another FFDP record. This may be good news to some fans, but overall it seems like FFDP are treading water a bit, with Moody seeming unenthusiastic about his life in the band. There has been talk recently of Ivan Moody starting some kind of side project and maybe that’s not such a bad idea, as trying something new might lead to him creating something a bit more interesting, with or without Five Finger Death Punch.