Before They Were Cool – American Capitalist

Band: Five Finger Death Punch
Album: American Capitalist
Label: Prospect Park Records
Released: October 11, 2011
Genre: Heavy Metal

Today I am taking a look at Five Finger Death Punch’s (From now own will be referred to as 5FDP as I do not want a Five Finger Hand Cramp. Ha see what I did there, I’m clearly a comical genius) most recent album “American Capitalist.” Let’s see if this hard hitting American metal band stays true to their namesake and delivers a heavy handed hit with their music, or just a half-assed haymaker.

Hey Ladies. I’m Famous.

5FDP has over the years been gaining some mainstream success over the last few years, with some of their better known tracks being “The Bleeding” and their cover of “Bad Company.” Altogether they definitely lay out some nice heavy tunes and I really quite enjoy seeing metal bands make some mainstream success opening up more people to heavier styles of music. However, there are many people who would frankly disagree with this notion as it leads into large discussions of bands “selling out.”  Something I would like to touch on a little as I review American Capitalist as I feel it fits nicely thematically with most of this album.

Altogether, “American Capitalist” is a damn well solid album, and while not quite as heavy as previous albums, still fits very nicely in their discography.  Ivan Moody’s vocals are excellent as always: powerfully angry growls and excellent cleans. Zoltan and Jason constantly deliver crushing riffs and smooth legato’s through the solos. However, I felt American capitalist didn’t quite have the same caliber on the guitar as previous 5FDP albums have displayed.  It is the first album to feature bassist Chris Kael, but unfortunately it seems that the bass fell victim to the common problem of being lost in the mix. Being a bassist myself I even took no attention to any of the bass in this album, although it did its work simply backing the guitar and giving it more of the thick heavy metal sound.

Now here comes my problem with this album.  None of it, absolutely none of it stood out. Sure it was all good, but it wasn’t exceptional, it wasn’t great, it was just there. Sure the songs are good, but when there is so much better out there, it all seems to get lost in the mix.  This album is nice for the odd casual listen, but if I really wanted to listen to 5FDP I would grab one of their older albums. Furthermore this leads to the rest of my problems with this album leading in to my nice segment about “selling out”. (Sorry I really am prattling along with this review, but bear with me.)

I tend not to complain about bands selling out. I just ignore it and continue enjoying the music, if not I just don’t really listen to those albums. I enjoy the music at face value and I leave it at that. However, for some reason this album rubbed me the wrong way. Mostly because a lot of the promotion and the theme of the album was dedicated to being a poke at capitalism. Throughout some of the songs (American Capitalist, The Pride, Under and Over It….etc) they are mocking it directly and saying how they couldn’t care less about the money, yet it felt with this mainstream surge from this album that in fact, they do care. Maybe they don’t but the album comes across completely hollow to me because of that. I feel like I can’t jump on board to the message they are delivering lyrically on most of the tracks, and therefore I overall felt less engaged listening to this album.

With all that being said though, the album musically is still very strong as I said before and while it may not be there best, it’s still worth a  good listen or two, even though I would personally turn your direction to the other albums. Going back to what I said about nothing really standing out on the album, I will retract that and say that two songs piqued some interest with me. Those being “Menace” – I love the lyrics and the Zoltan’s  solo is incredible on it; the second being “Coming Down” – Once again I love the lyrics, it is a beautifully paced and powerful song and I actually suggest that if you have the time, listen to at least this song and watch the video.

Overall: 7/10

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