Five Finger Death Punch are one of those bands that either generate a large degree of love for, or are purely despised by others. Undoubtedly not a thinking man's metal band, they instead dwell in the 'simplistic but fun' territories with music built purely for mosh pits and nothing more. Some people deride them for this simplicity, others enjoy the band for their non thought provoking charms. I myself fall in the latter category to some extent.
I myself became a fan upon buying their début album; 2008's The Way Of The Fist; it was as I expected, a very simple, no thrills collection of fast paced, shout along ditties; and it was good fun if not spectacular. The following years' War Is The Answer was much the same. It had stronger song writing, increased (marginally) maturity, much more memorable songs, and best of all a ballad that wasn't completely cringe-worthy (unlike TWOTF's 'The Bleeding'), but was still not an amazing, awe inspiring record, merely a quick blast for amusement. Third album American Capitalist however is not fun, whatsoever.
Five Finger Death Punch have not changed their formula whatsoever. Another personnel change with Matt Snell leaving his formidable bass position and replaced with Chris Kael has not affected the direction of the band musically whatsoever so there are no surprises here. What is quite shocking is how unmemorable and in most cases how plain boring the album actually is. Choosing any highlights from this album is quite a futile task as virtually none of the songs seem to stand out (other than 'The Pride' but purely for the wrong reasons). Musically the band is very talented, on previous albums we have seen how strong guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook have been at writing catchy hooks and riffs, on American Capitalist however they sound like off cuts from the previous two albums, and not one solo grabs you like 'Hard To See' did on WITA. First single 'Over And Under It' should be making you want to get up and smash everything in sight, not feel just a bit 'meh'. The only worthwhile song for me is 'Generation Dead' with its low bass growling intro and nu-metal era verses.
The biggest problem by far on the album however is vocalist Ivan Moody. I am quite a big fan of Ivan's vocals on the previous two albums. At times he has a ferocious growl and his clean vocals are particularly strong for this form of metal and that is once again the case here; but his talents here are vastly overshadowed by the terrible and at times embarrassing lyrics. Now these have never been the strongest part of FFDP's arsenal, not by a long shot, but here they reach all new lows. The opening lines to album opener and the title track made me feel ashamed as to what I was listening to: "I'm a red blooded, red-neck son of a bitch."; well bully for you. These kind of lines are simply un-relate able for much of their intended audiences, and they only manage to get worse. 'The Pride' see's Ivan apparently quick firing any words that spring to mind in an attempt to sound aggressive and menacing: "Disneyland, White House, JFK and Mickey Mouse. John Wayne, Springsteen, Eastwood, James Dean...." These lines could have been written by a child on a Cola high. At least Fred Durst we know not to take seriously.
Admittedly I wasn't expecting a classic album from Five Finger Death Punch but another good fun album wouldn't have gone amiss. Instead they appear to have forgotten to put any memorable music in and couple these pedestrian songs with some of the worst lyrics I have ever heard. This is a poor showing, and next to some of the major quality albums we have seen this year, absolutely appalling.
Recommended: Generation Dead...that's it.