It’ll be interesting to see how history ultimately judges Five Finger Death Punch. For a band who’ve been vilified, criticised and shrouded in controversy as much as they have, they’ve managed to weather through it all to become a genuine force in modern metal. And when taking their music in a vacuum, it’s easy to see why. It’s not cerebral to any degree, but in terms of arena-sized hooks backed by formidable metal muscle, few are able to rival them.
With that in mind, ‘A Decade Of Destruction’ serves as the ideal celebration of everything that Five Finger Death Punch are and all that they’ve achieved. The obligatory new tracks aside (‘Trouble’ is fairly by-the-numbers for this band and a slowed-down rendition of The Offspring’s ‘Gone Away’ doesn’t do anything that their other ballads do a lot better), it’s exactly what you’d expect from a greatest hits package. It brings together the big singles that show off the band in the best possible light. This is an entertaining listen regardless, primarily by showcasing just how good these songs are; with the likes of ‘Under And Over It’ and ‘Remember Everything’, it’s not hard to see how FFDP have got to the stage where they can comfortably call arenas home.
Of course, it also highlights some of the more valid criticisms, mainly how Five Finger Death Punch aren’t exactly the most versatile band. Of their two primary modes – the slamming, burly metal side (‘Lift Me Up’, ‘The Bleeding’ et al) and the overtly spacious power-balladeers (see ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven’ and ‘Battle Born’),are both plentiful here. And it’s not as if the band don’t do either well. Ivan Moody has the sort of power-tripping vocals that can slot into whatever instrumental canvas he’s given, and again, the playing has all the necessary hallmarks of a sizeable modern metal band who know exactly how to capitalise on their greatest, most populist strengths.
At the end of the day, while ‘A Decade Of Destruction’ won’t convince the detractors of anything but the band’s own longevity, it remains a testament to how resolutely the band have ploughed on to reach the stage they’re currently at. It’s not a critical release by any means, particularly for the longtime fans who’ll already be more than familiar with these songs, but as a celebration of a pretty fruitful career, it’s hard to deny Five Finger Death Punch the glory.
‘A Decade Of Destruction’ by Five Finger Death Punch is out now on Prospect Park/Eleven Seven Music.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)