Five Finger Death Punch are fast becoming the music equivalent of Marmite – you either love them or you hate them with a passion. Despite having their fair share of haters, they have always refused to bow to pressure by changing their music dramatically to appease their critics. Saying this, however, there has been a subtle change over the albums since Way of the Fist, and The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1 is no exception.
As you can tell by the title of the album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1 is the first instalment of two albums that the band intends to release this year, after the disappointing commercialisation of American Capitalist the fans were hoping that FFDP might have returned to what made their first two albums such hits.
Lift Me Up – A perfect song to start the album off with, it incorporates that classic FFDP sound that the listeners have become used to and I doubt they could have found a better guest singer than Rob Halford to accompany it.
Watch You Bleed – This song lulls you into a false sense of security, it starts out with a melodic guitar rift as Ivan Moody softly sings, and then it smashes you in the face as the tempo changes and Moody screams “what do you want from me!?”
You – The grittiness continues with this beast of a tune and shows just how in tune Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook are as their rhythm guitar & lead guitar bits mix perfectly with each over and really extenuates Moody’s growling lyrics.
Wrong Side of Heaven – This is easily one of my favourite songs on the album, an amazing and quite beautiful ballad that you just don’t get on metal albums that much anymore. Many people who question Moody’s singing abilities should stick this track on.
Burn MF – As if to apologise for the ballad of track four the band kick it up a notch with possibly the most aggressive song on the album (as if you could not tell by the name of the track), sadly the lyrics do not match the awesome job Bathory, Hook and Chad Kael (drums) have done.
I.M.Sin – a combination of cool rifts, aggressive lyrics, and amazing vocals from Moody, make this one of the standout songs on the album, FFDP certainly show their thrash side here.
Anywhere But Here – Although some consider this a ballad is it done in a much heavier tone than what you would expect, certainly when you consider the other ballads FFDP have performed over the years, but experimenting is what music is all about and it certainly works here.
Dot Your Eyes – This is my absolute favourite song on the album; the heavy bass drum from Kael helps to give this track a meaty backbone that will have you stomping along to it. I don’t think we have seen such a song since Way of the Fist. The lyrics are blatantly a response to the band’s haters, but many can translate the lyrics into their own lives.
M.I.N.E (End This Way) – another ballad that is in the same kind of style as Wrong Side of Heaven, but the lyrics are much more poignant, Moody again proves what a great voice he has.
Mama Said Knock You Out (featuring Tech N9ne) (LL Cool J cover) – Many were not sure about this when FFDP announced this track on the album, can a metal band really do a good job of covering such an iconic rap song? While it is the weakest song on the album the transition from rap to metal works very well, if Moody intends to do more rapping then he should be taking lessons from Tech N9ne who outshone him here.
Diary of a Deadman – Initially this was meant to be an instrumental track, but Moody decided to do a bit of speaking over it. It takes a bit of time to get into before you will fully enjoy the track and has some nice rifts and drumming.
If anything let this album down then it would be the decision to include three tracks that had already been included earlier in the album. I.M.Sin, Anywhere But Here and Dot Your Eyes where already on the album, and in my opinion were pretty damn good, but they included them again at the end of the record with guest vocalists.
Although Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Sepultura), Maria Brink (In This Moment) and Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) are all good vocalists for their respective bands I can’t help feeling a little cheated by FFDP, especially since they made a big song and dance about writing so much material that they would release two full albums this year. They should have only included one of each of those songs, if they wanted all six then include them as a bonus.