5FDP pull off a conceptual epic for album #9
There's something of the Shakespearian tragedy to 'Afterlife': it's deeply human, somber, pretty bleak, poignant, and totally epic. Think King Lear raging at the sky, unwilling to accept fate, his situation and battling with demons inside and out. Despite the battle lines that this album draws, there's also resilience, with the central protagonist - or perhaps anti-hero, refusing to lie down and take the shit. Just like the Bard, this album is packed with future fan classics and is speckled with insightful and quotable lyrics.
Thematically 5FDP have created an unintentional concept album, and it's probably one of their finest. They appear comfortable with their sound, and more cohesive having enveloped new guitarist, Andy James, into the fold. The band hasn't managed to sound this cohesive for a while.
From the splitting anger of the titular track, to the anthemic 'Gold Gutter' and the glorious swagger of 'Judgment Day' this is a Knucklehead classic. 5FDP also knows how to write a ballad! 'All I Know' has flavours of Disturbed, with Moody's dark, rueful vocals and a haunting refrain. 'Thanks For Asking' is an impressively executed deep cut to listen out for too.
Ivan Moody's lyrics, as already mentioned are on form - "the Devil you fear is all I've ever known" "God gave us our wings, but she forgot to teach us to fly' and "It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees" are piercing and brutally blunt, from a skilled metal wordsmith.
Long time collaboration, Kevin Churko seems to beef up the production - as if that were possible - an layers things up with diverse soundcapes, and once again manages to sprinkle some magic Devil dust onto this album.
Due to the nature of the album and its recurring motifs, I recommend listening to the album as it was intended to be enjoyed, and turn the bloody shuffle button off!