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‘F8’ is yet another mundane Five Finger Death Punch record

by Brandon Carson Every time I see Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) release something new, I remember a time when I enjoyed their music: I was a middle school teenager with pent-up rage and had three FFDP albums that channeled it. The first two of these were pretty good. The Way of the Fist is their first record that brought them some fame. Songs like “The Bleeding,” “Ashes,” “Salvation,” and “Can’t Heal You” feature brutal screams, killer riffs, and fast tempos that still manage to fit in melodic choruses. Their next album, War is the Answer took those features to new heights. With the help of “Hard to See,” “Walk Away,” and their cover of “Bad Company,” the band was on every metal and hard rock radio station. Unfortunately, with their third release American Capitalist, they start pandering to a specific audience, and started to fall into a repetition that continues with their eighth record F8. From American Capitalist to now, all their albums have followed the same flow, featured the same cringy lyrics, had the same guitar solos, and contained an overproduced metal sound with questionable musical choices. After American Capitalist, their two-part Wrong Side of Heaven albums were an embarrassment and did nothing to differentiate from other artists and themselves. Got Your Six buried them deeper in the hole of not trying anything new, and And Justice for None further cemented them as one of the most boring bands in modern metal. They found a formula, a never-changing recipe I like to call the Five Finger Formula. Before I get into the album, allow me to explain the Five Finger Formula. Every FFDP album:

  1. Sounds like the last album
  2. Has a big ballad or two (including at least one crowd-pleasing, patriotic ballad)
  3. Has atrocious, cringy lyrics that feature the same topics as the last album
  4. Has boring filler tracks
  5. Has a bridge with quiet vocals reciting the chorus you have heard three times already
  6. Has the same guitar solo at least six times
  7. Has a heavy song that tries to fool longtime fans by saying, “See? We are still heavy!”
  8. Has verses with the same melody
Every FFDP album since American Capitalist has followed this formula. Now don’t get me wrong; every album has had a song or two that I find pretty good. Also, good on them for getting so big that they can write the same album every two years and still remain relevant. Unfortunately, on F8, they don’t do anything to change this formula. Instead, they made the same album for the eighth time.

Same songs, different titles

There isn’t much to talk about on this album because there is nothing new, fresh, or interesting that it does. There are a few songs that are heavier than the others, but they still don’ t stray away from the Five Finger Formula. “Inside Out” contains the same angry, loner-y lyrics that singer Ivan Moody writes all the time, with screamed verses and a big hook like all their big singles. “Living the Dream” just gives the album another song to fill time; nothing is memorable about it. “To Be Alone” features a chorus that is too similar to their hit “Coming Down” from American Capitalist. There also these weird moments where they seem to be ripping off Slipknot’s live breakdowns, especially at the end of “Bottom of the Top.” Then the mandatory ballads come into play as they do on every album. “Darkness Settles In” just follows the same footsteps as the ballads on their other albums. It’s incredibly boring and at this point carries no emotional weight whatsoever. “Bright Side of Grey” is the foretold ballad with patriotic tones at the end of the album that feels formulaic (no surprise there) and cheesy with more bottom of the barrel lyrics.

Cringy, cheesy, and bland

I understand that the lyrics for FFDP songs have never been the best, even on the first two records, but if they are going to keep making songs with these big hooks and a lack of instrumental variety, then the listener is going to pay attention to the lyrics. “Full Circle” begins with whiny lyrics and bland rhymes, “That's it, I f*ckin' had it, I can't take it anymore/Yeah, I know now why I'm losing, well, just look who's keeping score” Moody screams. “This Is War” might have the award for Worst Chorus on the Album with, “You want it?/You got it/Take it/This is war.” The vocal melody for “A Little Bit Off” gets old really fast with cheesy “Hey Yeahs.” I was fully taken out of the song by the second verse when Moody solemnly sings, “I'm a little pissed off today and there ain't nothing you can do about it/I'm a little bit put off today and I could not tell you why/Got a really short fuse today and everyone around me's f*cking crazy/I'm a little ticked off today, a little pissed off today.” For this album, I think the lyrics are easily the worst aspect. They take me right out of a song with their bottom of the barrel rhymes and word choice. The instrumentals don’t add anything new or interesting to the tracks, so naturally I will gravitate toward the lyrics more, but unfortunately, they are just as boring.

Who are they trying to fool?

F8 is full of filler and unmemorable tracks like “Living the Dream,” “Mother May I (Tic Toc),” and “Scar Tissue” (which is thankfully not a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover). These tracks all cover the same ground as the one before with boring riffs and vocals followed by a bland guitar solo. They’ll sometimes throw in a heavy riff to try and prove that they can still write a good riff (which they can; listen to the beginning of “This Is War”). But this appears as a mere illusion because once the vocals come in, it’s all downhill from there. There are also these really weird production choices in a lot of the songs that just feel jarring, like a static voice filter. F8 is just another FFDP album to get them touring again. It has a big ballad and two driving singles they can play, along with their back catalog of the same sound. The only thing they did differently on this album was not including an emotional cover, which I am perfectly fine with. I’m sure if they did a ballad it wouldn’t differentiate form anything on the record. Best Tracks: None Recommended if you like: Breaking Benjamin (speaking of bands who make the same album every time) Disturbed Mudvayne
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