With serious addictions to overcome, many wondered if Five Finger Death Punch would make it to album eight. Thankfully, despite the public struggles, the band and singer Ivan Moody are still with us. Moody uses F8 to expel some of his fears and slay some badass demons. The result is a ferocious album, that could only have been born from hitting rock bottom and taking the long way back up from the abyss.
Alongside the anger, loneliness, despair and rebirth is a heavyweight artillery of guitars and percussion that make their sound more visceral than before. In fact, the band sound as if they are throwing everything at album eight because it could have easily all slipped away.
The orchestral into heralds what is to follow with suspense and tension before blasting into Inside Out. Moody’s guttural vocal smacks you in the face before the first of many infectious choruses takes hold. Full Circle has one such chorus that was tailor-made for a stadium full of knuckleheads to rock out to. It's a track that comprises all the things we dig about FFDP.
A Little Bit Off will no doubt do for FFDP what The Sound of Silence did for Disturbed, thanks to producer Kevin Churko's uncanny ability to drop a radio-friendly track in the middle of armageddon. When Ivan Moody was singing about being a bit off, he wasn't kidding. Earlier in the album, he refers to himself as Iron Man, but on Bottom of the Top, he turns into the Hulk once more pulverising everything in his path. IVAN SMASH!
This Is War continues the rampage with one of the most extreme tracks they've ever recorded. This is partly helped by new drummer, Charlie Engen's steamrolling twack of the kit and Moody's baritone growl being unleashed to best effect.
Brighter Side of Grey slows things down, with a more reflective vein to end the album. "I'm writing this in case I'm gone tomorrow" Moody sings with sincerity and sobriety. It's a tender track that serves as an elegy for what might have been if he hadn't made it through the last few years, but it's also a reminder that in the darkest times there is light.
The three bonus tracks seem pretty superfluous after an album that says so much about where the band have come from and where they are going. This isn't just a return to form, it's the start of something far bigger and greater for the band.