The music of the 17-year-old American band Five Finger Death Punch is a prime example of Alternative Metal – a blend of the looseness and ruggedness of Alternative Rock, matched with the technicality and thick, distorted sound of Heavy Metal. Formed in 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Five Finger Death Punch has consistently silenced naysayers and critics to be one of the biggest modern Metal bands in the entire world. Released nine studio albums, from 2007’s The Way of the Fist to the brand new AfterLife, many are curious what they will do next.
Unleashed on Friday, August 19, 2022, via Better Noise Music, AfterLife sees the band working with Kevin Churko as a producer once again, but also found themselves without long-time Guitarist Jason Hook in the studio since The Way of the Fist. Hook, who departed in 2020, was replaced by Andy James who joins Zoltan Bathory (guitar), Ivan Moody (lead vocals), Chris Kael (bass, backing vocals), and Charlie Engen (drums).
Together they bring twelve new tracks that begins with the crunchy and sharp, splintery burst of “Welcome to the Circus.” And then after the cinematic, machinegun rhythm of the title-track comes the folky Grunge sentiments of “Times like These” and the Hardcore grate of “Roll Dem Bones,” reflecting the perceived decline of society and cyclical decay of cultures.
Two more highlights ensue with the Gothic-tinged yet lyrically optimistic “Pick Up Behind You” and the eerie “Judgment Day,” tackling hatred and feelings of social division. Then grinding afterwards is “IOU,” which treats the listener to an Industrial kind of noise, subtly in the beginning and then building up to a massive power trip.
For a change of mood “Thanks for Asking” then swings its bluesy swagger and subtle grace, whereas the following “Blood & Tar” begins unassumingly with a short piano-led intro then explodes into blast beats of a doomy future. Another relatively slow track then plays next in the form of “All I Know,” which oozes with Post-Grunge sensibilities. Aptly placed in the penultimate position, “Gold Gutter” then growls its angst and displays its metallic guitar pyrotechnics. Finally, Five Finger Death Punch close their latest effort with the ominous imminence of the string-laden “The End.”
Five Finger Death Punch remains one of the purveyors of the genre that it operates within – along with the likes of Disturbed, Staind, and Godsmack. With AfterLife, the five-men-strong group continues to assert its relevance and influence. Like them or not, Cryptic Rock gives AfterLife 4 out of 5 stars.