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FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH - F8

Release date February 28/20 (Better Noise Records)

The latest release by Five Finger Death Punch, F8 is a formula for what is perceived as great hard rock/heavy metal. Unfortunately, that formula becomes a parody. The guitar playing by Jason Hook is technically great, just as is the drumming by Charlie Engen. In actuality what the listener gets on F8 though is paint-by-numbers music that you can randomly hear by turning into Sirius XM’ Octane channel. The biggest let down is Ivan Moody’s vocals. They are not terrible, instead they are formulaic. I love Corey Taylor in Slipknot and Stone Sour. In fact, being a big fan of Stone Sour’s 2018 release Hydrograd jades this reviewers opinion of F8.

The album begins to rock with the song “Inside Out”, which is very good. That sets the tone for the rest of the album. Tuned down guitars, technically great leads and drums, plus vocals that are cliché. You can see the tattoos and hear the fake angst about anything that is not that controversial. Every song has the obligatory warnings and the use of the word "fuck" and it just becomes boring. “Full Circle”, the second song on the album, is a clear example of this with the “this is not a test” warning and Moody’s awful crooning after the expected growl. Great music should be dangerous and/or cutting edge. This is not.

It’s a parody of what is dangerous. Why does Moody have to sing about super-heroes while lamenting about the higher powers on “Living the Dream”? “A Little Bit Off” sounds like Finger Death Punch going for a Nashville hit factory sound. Here Moody’s vocals border on an American Idol sound as he talks about how pissed off he is while dropping the obligatory “fuck" (again). “This is War” would be the highlight of the album if it were an instrumental, but unfortunately, Moody needs to add routine tough guy vocals that kill the buzz.

F8 sound like a bunch of talented hired guns who decided to make a blueprint metal record. The end result is average and cliché.

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