Way of the Fist may not be on my list of the greatest albums of all time, but it was fun, and it was interesting. It was a mix of metalcore/groove metal/and thrash with some nu-metal aggression mixed in for kicks. While listening to the majority of War is the Answer, I felt like it was ripping off a bunch of commercial metal acts.
The major problem this album is there are way too many ballads. This album is littered with blatant radio friendly crap, and it kills the momentum of this album completely. Way of the Fist was loaded with melodic elements, and was accessible to a wide audience, but it got back to being aggressive and NEVER lost its momentum, mixing both styles in a very effective manner. I have no problem with one or two slow songs on a metal CD but SIX is overkill. To make matters worse, very single slow song on this album is Commercial Rock 101. Here’s how they break down:
Hard To See is basically a Linkin Park style ballad. But hey, at least it sounds like it’s trying to achieve the quasi-epic sound of Linkin Park’s current single “New Divide.” If you’re going to rip off a band’s sound, at least make it their current one.
Crossing Over & Walk Away ~ Pretty much can be compared to 99% of the commercialized hard rock bands out there now.
Far From Home ~ Acoustic intro? Check. Violins? Check. Obligatory 80’s hair band ballad solo. Check. This thing pretty much rolls three decades of ballad clichés into one. Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t get Amy Lee to duet on this.
My Own Hell ~ Basically a Godsmack ballad with some screaming in it. Shame since it has a decent death metal gallop to it.
Bad Company ~ It’s like the original, if it was covered by Reload era Metallica…then that version was covered by Nickleback, which is a travesty because they original song is pretty cool.
I wish the aggressive songs fared better, but that’s not the case. Dying Breed would be a killer opener if it wasn’t Slipknot 101 (and I say that as a Slipknot fan). As much as I am a fan of free speech, No One Gets Left Behind is the 8th billionth anti-Iraq/Afghanistan War song (YAWN), plus it seems hypocritical IMO to have an anti-war song on an album titled War is the Answer.
The only tracks that fare well are Bulletproof, Burn it Down, Falling in Hate, and the title track. Canto 34 is a bittersweet track, in that it is a good instrumental, but reminds you that other than some damn good solos, the guitarists are on vacation. Makes sense since Darrell Roberts (ex W.A.S.P) was replaced by Jason Hook, whose previous jobs includes guitar work for Mandy Moore and Hilary Duff. Very metal.
A lot of fanboys for this band will simply say that the band has “matured.” Why is it the preconceived notion that to “mature your sound” you have to sound like every other band on the planet? And what’s the point of evolving if you’re going from a unique sound to a commercialistic, homogenized mess? Is it so weird that I think a band called Five Finger Death Punch should sound different and aggressive?
5FDP shoved their fist into the music scene, with their interesting and addictive debut. I hoped their follow-up would push their lyrics and music to more complex and talented material, instead the fist must have broken some fingers along the way, and now the Punch won’t even leave a mark on your ears.