Five Finger Death Punch has built a following around their highly aggressive and brutal sound. They proudly carry the metal flag into battle, but do so without forsaking the art of the song. While many “metal” bands go out of their way these days to be as angry and unmelodic as possible, 5FPD has managed to stay true to the rebellious, raise your fist and bang your head defiance of generations of rockers, yet still make their music relatable to the masses. Of course their ability do so often leads to shouts of “sell out” by the extreme, “if it sells, it can’t be heavy metal” crowd. But who can hear them over the screams of the Death Punch Knuckleheads? The band’s devoted and rabid followers.
Does the band care what these naysayers think? Not at all. If you don’t like what they’re about, they’ve got a finger for you…or a fist. After all, as their 2007 debut album reminds, they are all about The Way of The Fist. That album, has sold about a half million copies, in a market of pirated downloads. The band’s subsequent follow up, War Is The Answer, has already sold over a quarter million. Their third album will likely land in 2011 according to bassist Matt Snell. Though the band has yet to sit down and decide on the focus of record number three.
This month the band are tearing up the main stage at the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The one day event sports a dozen names from the genre’s top young acts and veteran legends, including the likes of Hatebreed, In This Moment, Atreyu, Rob Zombie and Korn.
During the band’s Boise performance, lead singer Ivan Moody razzed the crowd, asking how many had purchased the new album, followed by how many had illegally downloaded it. The crowd cheered equally loud to both questions, leading to Moody’s calling them pirates, and turning out his empty pocket proclaimed, “so for the nickel you stole from my pocket, now you’re gonna pay me back. You’re all gonna sing on this next song.” And they did.
Five Finger Death Punch‘s performance was one of the event’s highlights. Moody and company, which also includes bassist Matt Snell, drummer Jeremy Spencer and guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook were only allowed to use half their stage set, but they left nothing it all on the stage; blood, sweat and bullets. With mic stands shaped like guns, and a massive drum cage replete with dual chrome M-60 machine guns, Death Punch hit the stage with “Burn It To The Ground.” They tore through a tight and heavy set which included several tracks off their newest album, including the hit “Hard To See” and the band’s newest single, a cover of Bad Company’s “Bad Company.” Moody sent a shout out to the troops yelling, “I don’t care if you believe in the war or not, but you’d better give it up for our men and women over there fighting for us!”
You can read a full review of the event here.
Last summer, shortly before War is The Answer was released, I spoke with the band’s newest member, Jason Hook, formerly of Alice Cooper. We talked about his role in the band, and the new record. Prior to the band’s Boise Mayhem performance I sat down with Matt Snell. We discussed the band’s recent exploits over in Europe, plans for the their next record, and a look back at their 2008 visit to our troops in Iraq.