“The Way Of The Fist” (Special Edition) by Five Finger Death Punch

Artist: Five Finger Death Punch
Title: “The Way Of The Fist”
Label: Firm Music
Release Date: 7/31/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

I loved what I heard on the debut by Five Finger Death Punch and stated my views on the release “The Way Of The Fist” when it first hit the streets so I must admit to a little confusion when I learned that the band would be re-releasing the record with a few bonus tracks. Given I made my position clear on the initial recording I have copied my thoughts below for a reminder and then after them have added comments related to the bonus tracks.

“When a band is going by a name as intense as Five Finger Death Punch you have to hope that they are going to be a no-nonsense approach to Heavy Metal music and not some run of the mill, derivative, been there, done that sort of group. Luckily, everyone who decides to take their chances on FFDP is in for a very rocking surprise. The band takes its name from the killing blow delivered by The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill 2”, and don’t ask me why but the move very simply works as a band name as well. Fronted by singer Ivan Moody, the vocals at times sound a little like Tool’s Maynard, as he blends an atmospheric melodic vocal with guttural growling and takes the songs in multiple directions as a result. The powerhouse quintet was assembled by Euro-Metal veteran Zoltan Bathory, their guitarist, who presents a no-nonsense approach to the music that is able to be enjoyed by a wider demographic of Metal fans. If you like thundering double bass drums, its here, if you like tuned down guitar shredding, its here, if you want heavy, its here and memorable choruses, well I believe you get the point. The action packed listen is only ten-songs long but there isn’t a bad tune on the disk and it starts you off with “Ashes”, a tune that after a shouting count of some kind determines to kick your ass from here to next Sunday. “The Way Of The Fist” seems to set the bands premise of defiance and standing up for oneself in the face of trouble. It has a really angry verse part and the overall melody is destined to inspire either a circle pit or some really intense fist throwing. Joining Bathory and Moody in the group are Jeremy Spencer (drums), Matt Snell (bass), and Darrell Roberts (guitars). Roberts comes from one of the many incarnations of W.A.S.P. while Snell was the bassist for Anubis Rising. Spencer is the creator of “Drums From Hell: The Extreme Metal Loops” CD, and based on the playing this guy does on the album you can tell that he really knows his stuff.

The album is good and solid all around but is also definitely a double bass drummer’s dream based on the fluidity that he delivers on every track. The guys slow it down for “The Bleeding”, which can serve as a single of sorts or be the tune that brings them a little more exposure based on its blend of strained vocals ala Staind/Tool and the guttural growls that he delivers so well. I can go on and on about every track but I feel that would ruin the surprise of it for the readers and suffice it to say after giving this a full run through I was having a little trouble deciding which tunes were my absolute favorites. Other stand outs do include “Death Before Dishonor” and “Meet The Monster”. As you can tell by the titles these guys mean business and there is nothing wimpy or lame about them. There is some tasty guitar playing here and Zoltan really stands out as does Roberts and while they are labeling this as some kind of “Groove Metal” band, I like to consider them more on the straight ahead side with a twist of the current elements of success thrown in for good measure. The CD goes by very quickly as its just over forty minutes in length but that only means you get to give it another spin sooner than you would have done had it been longer. This was a promising and surprising debut that I admit caught me off guard and once I got locked into what they were doing it went from the stereo to the music player to the ears of whomever I could get to give it a chance as well. Let’s hope that some more of the new bands coming up today show as much promise as Five Finger Death Punch.”

So now that we have re-visited our original comments lets talk about the additional tracks which we are treated to on the albums re-release. “Never Enough” is a solid tune and it seems more catered to getting these guys some radio airplay. They’re a good enough band to deserve some of this so I was fine by that. “Stranger Than Fiction” seems to continue along the process and while also a pretty decent track there isn’t the absolute thrashing that we found ourselves getting over on the main record. These don’t come off as your typical “throwaway” tracks that we sometimes find bands adding to re-issues but songs that do stand on their own and present a slightly different feel to the band. Lead singer Ivan Moody sings in primarily a clean vocal register on them, and leaves his growling on the albums original tracks. Guitar wizard Zoltan doesn’t really get to show off his stuff nor does drummer Jeremy Spencer but despite those critiques my thoughts on the album remain the same. When the band offers up the acoustic version of “The Bleeding” they really reminded me of Tool and I am sure that Maynard would be proud of how his obvious influence has manifested itself in one of the group’s tracks. Better to be compared to Tool than Nelson in my humble opinion. I do admit to still being confused as to why the re-issue was done because there is nothing else new on the release. The booklet inside is the same and there are no videos presented. I think this would have been killer to add the tracks to the main CD and then also offer a live performance DVD like we find many bands doing nowadays. My hope is that this band goes continue to grow in popularity because they are quite good and it would be nice to see them have at least a few more albums in the catalog before they fall off the radar. Let’s face it, there are bands that really need to go away in today’s music scene but Five Finger Death Punch is by no means one of them. Feel the fist!!!!

Track Listing:
1. Ashes
2. The Way Of The Fist
3. Salvation
4. The Bleeding
5. A Place To Die
6. The Devil’s Own
7. White Knuckles
8. Cant Heal You
9. Death Before Dishonor
10. Meet The Monster
11. Never Enough – bonus track
12. Stranger Than Fiction – bonus track
13. The Bleeding (acoustic) – bonus track

Official Website: www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com

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