Five Finger Death Punch - F8 review


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Band: Five Finger Death Punch
Album: F8
Release date: February 2020

01. F8
02. Inside Out
03. Full Circle
04. Living The Dream
05. A Little Bit Off
06. Bottom Of The Top
07. To Be Alone
08. Mother May I (Tic Toc)
09. Darkness Settles In
10. This Is War
11. Leave It All Behind
12. Scar Tissue
13. Brighter Side Of Grey
14. Making Monsters [bonus]
15. Death Punch Therapy [bonus]
16. Inside Out [radio edit] [bonus]

Eight albums in and Five Finger Death Punch have decided it is time for change, as if to turn the page with a new label and drummer in tow; where they made tentative steps towards altering their direction on the preceding And Justice For None, it is here on F8 that the band make strides to this end.

While F8 still has a lot in common with the band's past, you will notice subtle and clear alterations that are an unexpected but welcome addition. The biggest switch up is in their approach to song structure; previous new Five Finger Death Punch seemed like the latest Windows update, a new gloss of paint that did little to change your perception of what you were engaging with. F8 still has the same aesthetic of old, but these songs are freshly baked rather than rehashes. "Full Circle" follows in the vein in "Dying Breed" on War Is The Answer but it sounds nothing like it; while still the same 'you moan about me but what about you' it sounds like a fresh take on the topic. It is changes like this that breathe life into the album and blow away the pre-conceived notions that the band has conditioned listeners to. Gone are the cookie cutter replicates of old and in comes the band cooking from scratch.

Subtle changes are present throughout this album but make a difference without you necessarily recognising it at first. Kael's bass is brought up in the mix and is used to give the songs a grittier edge, adding depth to the guitar lines rather than sitting underneath them like before. Take "Scar Tissue" as an example; it gives the song a low-end rumble that accentuates the guitar and creates a dual attack rather than a prop for the guitars to stand on. Also of note is that the tempo of the songs are slower; rather than the quick flurry of punches of before, the band slow down but ensure there is more power in each blow.

So, is it good? Well I can say for the first time a Five Finger Death Punch album has more good elements to it than bad. While that does not sound like a ringing endorsement, you have to put it into context of how big a difference this is to the albums of before. "This Is War", "Leave It All Behind" and "Inside Out" amongst others are songs that stand tall and rank amongst some of the best the band have done.

It is little flourishes like the guitar run in "This Is War" where the band up the tempo before returning to the rhythm of before that give the songs a sense of purpose and vitality that had been lacking for a while. Add into that Moody does sing the occasional witty lyric, like the opening verse on "Living The Dream", which is a clever analogy for the point he is trying to make.

For all the band change and do right, they unfortunately don't put light between them and some of their past problems. While Moody does sing some good lines here and there, it is him that proves to be the link (tied to an anchor) with the band's past. While not a criticism of him as a singer, the material he is given still dwells in the 'I hate those who hate me' us vs them mentality that sounds like Moody having to run back and give the dead horse another kicking because old habits die hard.

Added to this, there are some songs that don't really work. "Bottom Of The Top" has a chorus that will shake you out of the comfort zone you had to this point found yourself in. Additionally, "Mother May I (Tic Toc)" will give you flashbacks of "Frantic" by Metallica, which is still too soon to bring up 17 years later.

Have Five Finger Death Punch finally turned a corner with F8? Well, at the very least they've committed to the turn, if they haven't fully got all four wheels around the bend. Although it has its flaws, it is an album with bumps in the road rather than potholes that puncture your patience. F8 is easily the best record by the band and hopefully one that will shake the band out of complacency to ensure they carry on challenging themselves moving forward.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written by omne metallum | 20.06.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 13 users
21.06.2020 - 00:25
I'll admit, sitting through a full 5FDP album for a review feels like such a chore. You didn't have to put yourself through this.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
22.06.2020 - 00:13
omne metallum
Written by RaduP on 21.06.2020 at 00:25

I'll admit, sitting through a full 5FDP album for a review feels like such a chore. You didn't have to put yourself through this.

Careful now, you don't want them to write a song about how you're one of their haters

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