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By Curt Miller, Editor at Large
Thursday, September 10, 2015 @ 3:51 PM

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Got Your Six

Prospect Park

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is that band we all turn to when the chips are down, when things just aren’t going as planned. They get it. They understand. They’ve been there and they’re not going to give you a bunch of static about how the other side of the situation probably had a few valid points, too. Right or wrong, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is on your side and to hell with the other side. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

In a way, my grandfather was like that. When you came home after having had a bad day, he’d let you just pour it out, and he’d tell you that the whole world was crazy. Once you’d cooled off, he’d give you some really sage advice and help set you straight. It was that first bit, though, that made you feel like you had an advocate. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH does that, too. Some of their material just has your back, while others shares wisdom that’s been gleaned from the struggles we all face. That’s what makes this band one that resonates with such a wide variety of fans, and that’s what makes their overall message ever welcome.

“Got Your Six”: This song begins with a short period of undistorted open picking, then lights off when vocalist Ivan Moody screams, “Charge!” It’s the perfect beginning to a record that takes the listener on a bit of a journey through a bad day, a broken relationship, or really any difficult situation. Right out of the gate, you know that you’re not alone in the struggle, and most importantly, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH (FFDP) has your back. They’ve “Got Your Six”. The song has that signature FFDP sound with kick drums that’ll rattle your chest, low, heavy guitar riffs, and Moody’s vocals, which range from Sprechstimme (spoken word) to all-out growls.

“Jekyll And Hyde”: Moody kicks this one off with more Sprechstimme over some quick guitar picking. Next, the kick drums bring in the rhythm section and the song relives the familiar “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah” lyrics that take their origins from the Wizard Of Oz’s “Winkie Chant.” The track is slow and heavy, and Moody’s lyrics relay his struggle trying to wear a smile while containing the anger he feels from the ever-mounting pressures around him. He just wants to make it through day-to-day life, but he’s constantly holding back a demon inside.

“Wash It All Away”: By the third track, the pace of the music has sped up. The rhythm section is driving hard and heavy, the guitar riffs equally heavy. Moody is doing more singing here than spoken word or the growls heard on prior songs. This track delivers a terrific guitar solo, as well. Lyrically, it’s not angry. Rather, it focuses on searching for someone or something to make things right. It’s that moment of recognition that things have gone awry. Is there anything that can make it better or just make it all go away?

i<>“Ain't My Last Dance”: Keeping the energy high, this song opens with a quick drum fill, then jumps into a heavy, crunching thump. The chorus is much more melodic with Moody’s vocals again sung rather than screamed or growled. The track ties the album’s storyline together as the lyrics pass from solemn and introspective to determined. It acknowledges that there’s nothing more that can be given to the current situation, but all is not lost. There’s much more out there.

“My Nemesis”: Backing down to a slower pace, but keeping things equally heavy, this track takes the feeling of determination to the next level. The album’s journey through the strife is becoming much more evident. With lyrics like, “I gave you everything and in return you gave me nothing,” and “I will not hide from what’s inside of me,” it’s clear that the emotion of this story is moving from anger and frustration to feelings of strength.

“No Sudden Movement”: This song comes at you in that signature FFDP style; fast, hard, and heavy. Chunky guitar riffs permeate the verse as Moody growls the lyrics in a corresponding rhythmic pattern. There’s a bit more melody in the chorus, but the overall style remains fairly consistent. Of all the songs on the record this has one of the longer guitar solos, a definite plus. “Click, clack, reload. Click, clack, unload” are the prominent lyrics of the chorus. That’s exactly the level of energy this song brings and very much represents the track’s overall attitude.

“Question Everything”: Like the song just prior, this is another full-on FFDP assault, however; the verse is sung much more melodically. Moody shows off his range in the chorus hitting some higher notes, and then digging in for a couple of growls. There’s a Spanish-guitar-style guitar solo backed by a heartbeat rhythm section that’s very well executed. In keeping with the album’s theme, the mood of the lyrics has taken a turn away from strength and determination to that of reflection. It follows the ebb and flow of emotions that go along with getting through any difficult situation.

“Hell To Pay”: Having transitioned emotionally via the lyrics into a more introspective space, this song slows down the pace. It brings back the steady thump, which is doubled on the guitars. Moody’s lyrics, though screamed at times, are far more melodic and focus on the price paid for having been through this struggle. Though there’s a palpable pain coming through both musically and lyrically, an undertone persists of the stronger person who’s continued to grow throughout the record, that person who’s not going to quit.

“Digging My Own Grave”: Opening with undistorted guitars and arpeggiated chords this is the ballad of the album. Moody’s vocals are sung very melodically with nary a hint of screams or growls. Though definitely the softest song on the record, it still remains heavy and delivers an excellent, though short-lived, guitar solo. The lyrics are recognition that what is done is done. There’s also a questioning of whether peace will ever come and, ultimately, of what it was that caused the struggle at the core of the album’s theme.

“Meet My Maker”: Back to the fast paced riffs and kick drums, FFDP is on the attack again with this one. The overall drive is maintained throughout, and the kick drums double up during choruses. There’s also a quick but well-placed guitar solo. Lyrically, the message makes it clear that, though the past may be in the past, one forgives, but never forgets. Moody’s vocals range from clean and melodic to growls.

“Boots And Blood”: One word sums up this song, “Fuck!” It’s the track that represents the point in any struggle when you’ve pretty much just had it. You don’t really care what happened anymore or why. You’re at the, “Fuck it!” point, and those are the prominent lyrics of the song. Again, this track has that pound-your-chest-in thump combined with killer guitar riffs. Moody’s lyrics lay it out plain and simple, “Boots and Blood! Fuck it!”

“You're Not My Kind”: This song just keeps the freight train blasting forward as the one prior closes out. A great opening guitar riff leads into fast guitars and kick drums, which provide the underlayment for Moody’s in-your-face vocals. The verses are done in Moody’s chant-style growl, while the choruses are mostly sung. This song includes another quick guitar solo. The lyrics are now more self-protective. It’s about taking a stance, drawing a line in the sand, and stating, “You’re Not My Kind”. “This Is My War”: Slowing down the pace just a bit, but still maintaining a very heavy theme, this song drifts from grinding riffs to melodic grooves and back. At times the kick drums provide a steady doubled-up drive. Others, they’re a bit more syncopated. The vocals maintain the near-clean style along with some of the low growls that have been present on the previous few tracks. Lyrically, there’s a recognition that you have to fight for everything and that life isn’t just about overcoming any particular struggle or battle. It’s an ongoing war.

“I Apologize”: Having come through the struggle that began the record the lyrics of this closing ballad are once again introspective. It’s about discovering that there’s not only more than one perspective in the struggle, but also coming to terms with it, a self-acceptance. Though certainly a ballad, the song still hits hard. It’s very groove-oriented opening yields to more thunderous chords backed by a heavy rhythm section at the chorus. The verses retain the opening’s groove, but as the song moves along, Moody’s vocals become more intense and visceral. The amount of emotion that comes through in this song is incredibly moving.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH fans love this band because they can identify with the emotions that the band’s songs deal with. This album, in particular, does a fantastic job of taking listeners through the back and forth, the ups and downs of life’s struggles. We all have them and we all find a way to get through them. One way we do so is by relating to others who have similar problems and emotions. They’re in the trenches with us. Even though we don’t know the members of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH personally, we know that they’re in it with us. Somehow you just know that those guys have “Got Your Six!”

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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