War Is The Answer

Five Finger Death Punch

Prospect Park Records, 2009


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


They got it right. After their debut The Way Of The Fist, I wanted more. I wanted more hostility, more anger, more insight into their vision of the world, and more material from these musicians. Upon its release, the sophomore effort from Five Finger Death Punch rapidly became the CD I rotated in with my other favorite bands like Count The Stars, Bayside, and Spitafield when I needed a change from the generally positive outlook of those three bands. I’ll go on a limb over a boiling pot of metal and say War Is The Answer is easily the best sophomore effort from any band I can think of. I rank it next to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Skid Row’s Slave To The Grind, and Metallica’s Ride The Lightning.

Like most bands, there is a formula. The manner in which this band provides confrontational heavy metal with outstanding musicianship works. I did not track how many hours I have spent with this release. I know for awhile, I listened to this release at least five times a week. Each and every time I listen to this release, I hear attitude from vocalist Ivan Moody, musical talent from guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook, cutting lyrics, and attitude.

I’ll level the playing field and say that I don’t like the order of the songs on this release. I understand that sometimes there has to be songs that just get put to the end of the release just because something has to be at the end. I think the final three songs could have easily been the leadoff song. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In fact, in my playlist, I have made this song the album’s first track. The lyrics that make an evil grin come to my face are these: “I know it’s got to chap your ass to think / I just won’t go away / Affects me not, I’m writing you off / I got nothing more to say.” For me, personally, I think about all the times someone told me I would fail and yet, I did not give up. The cover of “Bad Company” could easily have been track number two. Comparing the two versions is normal, and I prefer the cover version. “Canto 34” is an instrumental that showcases each musician within the band. Drummer Jeremy Spencer and bassist Matt Snell deliver a hard hitting performance under the guitar riffs of Bathory and Hook.

That said, the opening of the release is good. The shortest burst of anger on this release at 2:54 is “Dying Breed.” Vocalist Ivan Moody is immediately past your face and down your throat, spewing venom as he sings, “I’m not like you / I’m a dying breed.” Second track “Hard To See” continue the hostility that was prevalent on their debut. Moody growls “projecting all my anger / I can’t seem to get this through to you.”

“No One Gets Left Behind” follows, taking on the theme of the military and making a bold statement. Moody sings, “Politicians bathing in their greed / No idea on how to be all they can be / Have you no honor? Have you no soul? / What is it they're dying for do you really even know? / Have you no backbone? Have you no spine? / Whatever happened to no one gets left behind?” Reading between the lines, I hear a modern day Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” in those lyrics. Very nice. The next song, “Crossing Over” features the best guitar solo on this release.

Towards the end of the release, the band seems to ratchet up the material. “Falling In Hate,” the short three minute burst, could have easily been the second track. Moody spells out the betrayal he feels when he sings, “Despite what you think of me / and despite what you say / I gave you everything / and you threw it away.” The next track, “My Own Hell,” is just as gut-wrenching with a breakdown in the middle of the song that grooves along at a fist pumping tempo. “Walk Away” offers insight into Moody’s mind when he sings, “I apologize for the cruel things that I did / But I don’t regret one single word I said.” It’d be safe to say Moody lives in a world of chaos.

Every time I listen to this release, I smile because the music makes a connection. I appreciate the emotions in Moody’s delivery and the musicianship throughout the release. There is no filler material – each track could have been the first.

Rating: A

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