Five Finger Death Punch - And Justice For None review


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Band: Five Finger Death Punch
Album: And Justice For None
Release date: May 2018

01. Trouble [deluxe edition bonus]
02. Fake
03. Top Of The World
04. Sham Pain
05. Blue On Black [Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band cover]
06. Fire In The Hole
07. I Refuse
08. It Doesn't Matter
09. When The Seasons Change
10. Stuck In My Ways
11. Rock Bottom
12. Gone Away [The Offspring cover]
13. Bloody
14. Will The Sun Ever Rise
15. Bad Seed [deluxe edition bonus]
16. Save Your Breath [deluxe edition bonus]

Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP)[b] return with their seventh helping of their sonic brew; while we are given a fresh serving of what the band have come to perfect, by now it has however grown stale and flat where once it looked to be youthful and effervescent. And Justice For None does try to address this issue, not straying far from their roots but at least taking a few steps away from it.

And Justice For None is a record of two halves; on the one side you have songs that sound like near-identikit versions of what the band reproduces on each album, re-treading the same ground to point that they're digging their own creative grave. On the other side you have songs that at least try to show some variation and originality, which provide much of the high points on the album.

"Fake" is the obligatory anti-hater song; there is usually at least one on each release by the band. Indeed, it is just one of three on here alongside "Sham Pain" and "It Doesn't Matter". It does start to smack of a gimmick that the band present themselves as not caring given this is such a reoccurring theme throughout their discography. The line "This is where I'm fuckin' drawing the line" in "Fake" rings hollow, given how often this imaginary line is redrawn on each subsequent record.

Other tracks in a similar mould like "Top Of The World" and "Rock Bottom" sound like the band have run dry creatively when they try to add to their metal canon. The tracks could easily be switched out with much of what appears on their past albums and not sound out of place. While sticking to a working formula is the key to the success of countless bands, they usually offer some level of variation rather than grand redesign; unfortunately neither can be applied to Five Finger Death Punch here.

The low point of the album has to be the band's version of [b]The Offspring
's "Gone Away". I will give FFDP[b] credit for attempting something different rather than copy and pasting the original but wow, they butcher the song. Whereas the original had a melancholic energy that burned bright from the passion injected into the song, [b]FFDP[b] drain it of life and emotion, leaving it to sound like a hollow shell of what the original was, devoid of the charm that permeated [b]The Offspring version.

It would be unfair to not point out that the album does have some good tracks and moments dotted throughout. Bathory and Hook do throw in some good solos on songs such as "Fire In The Hole", which sits perfectly in the song around it while sounding strong. Spencer (on his final outing with the band) does a solid job behind the drumkit; while he doesn't get to push the boundaries, much he does throw in some fills here and there that punctuate the more formulaic moments.

It is the quieter songs on And Justice For None that serve as the highlights; while tracks like "Will The Sun Ever Rise", "When The Seasons Change" and "Bloody" may not be the first songs in the [b]FFDP[b] canon to attempt this sound, they provide a breath of fresh air compared to what is around them. Instead of trying to cram the hallmark tirades that the rest of the albums contain, it is these tracks that sound organic and written naturally rather than to a formula (at least by [b]FFDP[b] standards). They serve to be amongst some of the best moments in the band's career, showing that the band can succeed in shaking up their approach should they want to make a change.

And Justice For None is a very hit or miss record. Where the band try to loosen the creative constraints they sound revitalized and full of ideas; this is tempered by the hindrance of adhering to the formula of old, sounding stale and worn thin by this point in [b]FFDP[b]'s career. While I can't say I'd recommend it as an album, I would advise giving it a listen if you want to hear what the band could do if they broke free of their formula.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 4
Production: 7

Written by omne metallum | 24.07.2020


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