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And Justice For None delivers what you expect from 5FDP, heavy aggression and heart felt ballads.
on May 18, 2018
Modern day metal Juggernauts, Five Finger Death Punch, have returned after a tumultuous couple of years with And Justice For None.
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Five Finger Death Punch are undeniably one of, if not the, biggest modern metal bands today. For me personally, their meteoric rise was a bit of surprise. I had seen their albums before they got huge. Way of the Fist I'd seen on a Best Buy shelf with their unique album art. I thought it looked cool, but was in a musical rut during that time and didn't pay too much attention. Periodically I would hear friends or Co-workers speak about War is the Answer. I'm not sure if War is the Answer was the album that shot them into stardom, but American Capitalist was undeniably their massive hit of a record.
It's a shame because I really didn't care for American Capitalist. I liked a few of the songs, but that album had this strange mix of poppy lead guitar over bombastic palm muted guitars, bass and drums. It personally didn't mix well to my taste. So that is where my support stopped for a few years album wise. However, no matter what time of day, if a rock station was on Five Finger Death Punch's signature sound could be heard pumping away with Ivan Moody's gruff baritone vocals and screams. So of course 'The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell' Volume 1 and 2 released the singles were really good. Whoever is in charge of 5FDP's music videos deserves some recognition for their rise. While of course the music and lyrics are great, their visual presentation really maximize the meaning and impact of the bands music.
Regardless of my renewed interest, not until a year ago did I pick up another 5FDP album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 2. The album was great and reignited my interest in the band. I of course plan to pick up the rest of their back catalog, but the last two years of Rock and Metal has been really good, so I haven't really had time enough to repurchase older efforts. So with faith restored, I pre-ordered And Justice For None, which absolutely no doubt the title a play on Metallica's own ...And Justice For All. I pre-ordered the deluxe and got lucky enough that Amazon was able to momentarily obtain my copy for about $9.50. I chose it due to the extra tracks and I liked the album art much better than the standard edition. The album packaging is cardboard, printed with that awesome album art, but the booklet is like most artists CD booklets these days. The CD itself has some cool looking print on it as well.
Onto the music, there is no denying love it or hate it, 5FDP have a very recognizable sound that many have tried to adopt. The drums always sound like an arena set with bombastic double bass. The guitars have a very muddy chug to them, highlighted by clean leads. While of course the band has said that if Ivan left, they would continue, I think it would be quite a detriment to their identity. Ivan's unapologetic baritone clean vocals and deep growls are now instantly recognizable. The band do what they are known for, mixing it up with double bass heavy aggressive music and heart felt, usually still heavy, ballads. Wrapped up with Ivan crooning his troubles with constant fame and struggles like that of his alcoholism and bad life choices.
I'm not going to lie, there isn't much change up in the formula here. If you've heard the last few albums, you know what to expect. That being said, And Justice For None does seem to have a bit more groove to the heavy songs than before, while the leads seem to be more prominent in this effort as well. Another notable difference is that Moody's scream seems a bit more ferocious here than it has been in the last few years. They don't mess with the formula enough to call it a true evolution, but it is enough of a deviation it doesn't sound worn out. If you are a fan of 5FDP, then And Justice For None is a fantastic addition to their catalog.
Chris, Jason, Zoltan and Jeremy perform solidly on this album. Jeremy's double bass is very clear throughout the album, while he throws in some fills here and there to spice things up. It sounds to me Jason is pushing more leads through on this album, they just seem more stand out than prior albums. His solo's are also excellent. Zoltan's rhythm guitar is solid and cleaner than on previous albums as well, not quite as much mud in the chug. Jason and Zoltan complement each other very well. Whether the two are chugging heavy riffs together or Zoltan is supporting Jason's leads, they are in sync, even switching up to acoustic a few times throughout the album. Chris is a versatile bassist, chugging along during heavy songs, but switching up to a more individual groove during slower songs.
Ivan, the beast himself, sounds great on this record, his screams sound better than they have in awhile. He delivers his rage driven songs about fame and life issues, while serenading on slower songs about loss and sorrow. His cleans have come a long way with vibrato and really puts meaning behind it. His lyrics are as always personal and relatable, especially to those in the armed forces. I will always have respect for 5FDP for supporting them so heavily. A big point lately for Moody as well is that he has finally gotten sober for the last year and has been really focusing on bettering himself.
The album also has a few covers, most notably 'Gone Away'. Gone Away was originally released by The Offspring back in 1997. They do an amicable job of covering the song, but The Offspring's original will always be close to my heart. As mentioned before, their video however, add's much leverage to the songs impact. However their the bluesy cover Blue on Black cover is really nice change up for them and adds a bit of freshness to the record. I Refuse is also a very nice addition of piano and acoustic driven music. All three bonus tracks are banger's as well, they are actually some of the heaviest work on the record.
All in all And Justice For None delivers what you expect from 5FDP, heavy metal songs filled with chugging riffs and aggressive lyrics and ballads that tug on your heart strings, spice up by some small changes to their usual formula, with Ivan sounding great.
Five Finger Death Punch deliver a follow up to 'Got Your Six' that is worth picking up.