Metal heavyweight Five Finger Death Punch is back with their highly anticipated ninth studio album AfterLife… so, let’s dig in. The first song, “Welcome To The Circus”, opens with a bang. I love the joker laugh that Ivan Moody planted in here! This was the third single previously released leading up to the full-length drop and, of course, it’s a classic Five Finger Death Punch smasher, especially for fans of the first album, The Way Of The Fist. The album’s title track follows next and I love the lyrics to this one: “I heard the rumors // And, the rumors all were true // They may be looking for me, but they’re comin’ for you.”
We’re well-aware of this song and its antics, being the first single released off the album.
“Times Like These” follows next in line — a more melodic song. I love the country vibes it brings while also feeling like a rock song at the same time, thus satisfying both country music fans and rock fans in one blow. With a nice mellow tone, it’s a nice break to catch a breath before going right back into the heavy stuff. Like “Roll Dem Bones”… omg. Ivan Moody unleashes his inner monster. This kind of track exemplifies what I love about this band, with lyrics screaming out “THIS WILL BE THE LAST TEAR I SHED FOR YOU”. It’s definitely one that fans can keep coming back to, before launching into the next, “Pick Up Behind You”. This one is giving me vibes from the band’s third album, American Capitalist, with phenomenal guitar work from Zoltan Bathory. The opening lyrics are similarly strong with this one: “Do you remember when you said this wasn’t real? // Life was just a game we played and time was made to kill?” Ivan Moody is asking some tough questions here.
Halfway through the rundown sits “Judgment Day”, with Moody messing around with spoken word and trap-style lyrical delivery.
Spoken word was experimented with on the bands eighth album titled F8, so I’m glad to see it make a return. “IOU” stands as the second single released off AfterLife; the message is really quite clear that the world owes you nothing, nobody owes you anything… this song is very straight-forward. “Thanks For Asking” is another balled and definitely one that I took to instantly upon hearing it. It is so incredibly peaceful, I can’t stop singing the beginning part. On the other hand, “Blood And Tar” is heavy, folks. The acoustic guitar at the beginning of the song threw me for a loop, since I thought it was gonna be another ballad. NOPE. It smashed me right in the face. I do have to say the acoustic guitar was a nice touch, though, and I can see myself listening to this one over and over again.
“All I Know” is downright brilliant, with whistling at the beginning.
I thought they were doing a western song for a second, but it’s better than that. I love how it goes from melodic to heavy by the end! Last in line before “The End” is “Gold Gutter” — aka, ultimate heaviness. This is a song that grabbed me by my throat and didn’t let go until it was over. Ivan Moody, you are a genius. I had the wind knocked out of me with this one. And then, “The End” takes it home as it’s a nice dose of both heavy and harmonic. I can’t wait to go back and listen to this song again, it is that powerful.
In conclusion, AfterLife is an album that not only succeeds in taking you on a journey, but is a huge step up from the band’s last work. I feel like this album is a step in the right direction for Five Finger Death Punch and I want to see more of this. It’s a perfect 10/10. This is easily the band’s best writing in years and it shows. What can I do, but salute Ivan moody and the guys?! Welcome back, Five Finger Death Punch, it’s been a long two years without you!
Purchase or stream ‘AfterLife’ album:
- Welcome To The Circus
- Times Like These
- Roll Dem Bones
- Pick Up Behind You
- Judgment Day
- Thanks For Asking
- Blood And Tar
- All I Know
- Gold Gutter
- The End
Five Finger Death Punch – “Times Like These”
Cover photo by Travis Shinn
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.