To begin, this was a challenge. Personally, Five Finger Death Punch is one of my favorite bands. They’ve been a favorite since I first discovered them in high school. I’ve always believed they have a strong catalog, their album sales support this theory. If you love the bass thumping sound they have been honing over the last decade, it becomes even harder to place them in any order other than a chronological one. Most of their albums are filled with standout, single-worthy tracks.
Their stylish sound is very unique, and very heavy. To me, this is one of the most attractive features of the band. They have a very good mix of slower, more emotional songs and headbanging anthems. And so, after heartache and blistering decisions, this is the order I have chosen.
#7 Got Your Six
It was a tough choice deciding which album would come in last place. I knew it was a toss-up between The Way of the Fist and Got Your Six. In the end, I picked their latest album. This choice was made because the first half of the album is loaded with some great songs, while the second half kind of peters out. Even though it boasts a few good tracks, such as “I Apologize” and “Jekyll and Hyde”, this album falls short of their others. It is missing the focused, yet very agitated spirit this band carries with it. However, Got Your Six is still worth listening to, especially if you are a fan of the band or metal and hard rock. The lead single “Jekyll and Hyde” is probably their most catchy song to date.
#6 The Way of the Fist
Their first album lands in the fifth spot. The biggest downfall of this disc is the obvious lack their trademark “death punch sound”. While this doesn’t sink the album, it doesn’t give it that unique and aggressive Five-Finger-Death-Punch-vibe that elevates the band above the rest. However, this disc is packed with high energy tunes that invoke combative images, which is a trademark of Five Finger Death Punch.
“The Bleeding” is an obvious take away track. It isn’t a ballad, nor is it a balls-to-the-wall metal song. It is something in between. Chugging guitars urge the song forward while Ivan Moody’s mostly clean vocals deliver dark lyrics. Tracks such as “Death Before Dishonor” and “The Way of the Fist” illustrated my all-day Call of Duty marathons in high school. They also make for a good listen while grinding away at the gym, writing an essay late at night or zipping along to work.
How Much Do Singles Matter?
The second half of this list presents the real challenge, as Five Finger Death Punch’s top discs are all stellar, especially to someone who really enjoys the band. These albums are full of singles, or songs that easily could have been singles. This makes it rather difficult to nail down an order to the albums. There are also some covers, specifically their version of “Bad Company”, that is worth replaying many many times. The question while constructing this list, quickly became; how much do I weigh the volume singles, if at all? Do album sales factor in? In the end, I concluded I should follow what my ears love and my gut decides on.
#5 The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1
After a lot of internal debating, headbanging and listening, I decided to place it in fourth place; and almost every song on this album could have been a single. Somehow, this album only spawned three singles. This is a testament to the strength of Five Finger Death Punch’s music.
To me, this album is a rendition of what Five Finger Death Punch could be like. Many of the songs are bursting at the seams with energy, grit and noise. The slow songs are built with passion and pain. The rest of the songs could be filed into a vibrant and fun section of the “heavy metal” genre, as opposed to dark brooding metal. Most importantly, this disc is ready for the masses. It kind of sounds like the classic Five Finger Death Punch sound wrapped in a radio friendly coating. For me, this is a draw back.
One of the best elements of this album is the presence of guest artists. Rob Halford of Judas Priest sings on the lead single and opening track. His voice soars far above the groovy instruments, adding texture to the disc. Maria Brink of In This Moment brilliantly lends her voice to the track “Anywhere but Here”. Tech N9ne even makes an appearance in the cover “Mama Said Knock You Out”.
#4 And Justice for None
After some deliberation and intense reflection, I decided to slip the band’s seventh record into the fourth slot. I feel it lands above The Wrong Side of Heaven Volume 1 because the of some technical changes the band employed. There are moments where the music feels more raw and live. Given the nature of the band’s music, this enhancing the strain already created within a Five Finger Death Punch record.
I mentioned above The Wrong Side of Heaven…Volume 1 was what I always imagine as the classic Five Finger Death Punch album. It is loud, ballsy and angry. The same could be said for And Justice for None. The difference, however, is that The Wrong Side of Heaven…Volume 1 boasts a less diverse selection of music. Both albums have songs made for headbanging and songs that are laced with gentler tones. However, And Justice for None has changes up of the kinds of headbanging anthems. For example, “Sham Pain” is a little slower and bouncy, yet it is heavy.
This album features two covers that have been converted to showcase the band’s trademark sound and style. First, the band rehashed Kenny Wayne Shepard’s “Blue on Black“. The band darkens the track with their sound, while allowing it to bring a bluesy groove and texture to the record. The second cover is grim version of “Gone Away” by the Offspring. This power ballad was released months before And Justice for None and generated a lot buzz.
#3 The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2
Listening to the evolution of their sound, this album almost seems like a misstep. A wonderful misstep that is better than Volume 1 in a few ways. The band “regressed”, you might say, to a deeper, more throaty sound on this album. The instruments are a little darker. The vocals are a little coarser. All of this is an improvement from Volume 1. I feel this lands closer to the “death punch” sound heard on previous albums.
Oddly enough, the two singles are the two most radio friendly sounding tracks; the power ballad “Battle Born” and a cover “House of the Rising Sun”. These are both good songs, and good additions to their catalogue, they are just tinted with a more “popular” sound than the rest of the disc. “Wrecking Ball” is a prime example of what you might call a classic Five Finger Death Punch sound, with their trademark style and swagger. “Here to Die” and “Weight Beneath my Sin” are two more solid tracks that are rooted in the bouncy groove that put the band on the map.
#2 War is the Answer
This is the album that gave the band their “claim to fame”, otherwise known as the “death punch sound”. It is the angsty, grit covered, and yet totally groovy vibe that alerts every one to their presence. Many of the songs on this album are also responsible for serenading me, and thus indoctrinating me, into the community of metal heads.
This is the first Five Finger Death Punch album to include a cover, of Bad Company’s tune “Bad Company”. This cover is loved by many, including myself. It set the tone for every slower song the band would write. It’s also a good cover, as it doesn’t reinvent the song, nor does it mangle it. Five Finger Death Punch merely added their flair to the song.
Another interesting track is “Canto 34”. This one is an instrumental track. The band doesn’t sacrifice any of their trademarks as they play through the riffs and drum fills. The only thing missing from this track is the one thing that makes it unique: Ivan Moody’s voice. Jason Hook, however, does a fine job filling this gap with this guitar work.
There are of course the “main” songs, such as “Bulletproof” and “War is the Answer”. These songs are cornerstones of the band’s sound. They’re brilliant examples of the classic Five Finger Death Punch sound. And of course, they make great additions to almost any playlist.
#1 American Capitalist
War is the Answer may have been key in seducing me, and bringing me into the world of heavy metal, but American Capitalist was certainly one of my first loves. This album offers countless memorable tracks, and is thick with singles. In the end, five of the eleven songs were released as singles.
As expected, this record is overflowing with energy, attitude, wicked guitars and pounding drums. There are also a few moments where the band slows things down, showing off another side of the group. “Coming Down” and “Remember Everything” are two very infective tunes. These two are not “all out”, if you will, rock songs, rather they are slower and more measured. To the joy of many, “Coming Down” even features a brief drum solo.
Overall, this album mixes their “fuck-you-all” attitude and thick groovy style with a hint of radio friendly mindfulness. The end result is a well-crafted and tight album that not only enjoyed many replays, but continues to populate my iTunes library.