Five Finger Death Punch are the cover stars of the new issue of Metal Hammer, and inside guitarist Zoltan Bathory and singer Ivan Moody go deep inside the making of the Las Vegas band’s new album AfterLife.
Zoltan recently compared the new album to Queen in terms of its scope and range of music: "This is the ninth record, and at this point everyone knows who we are and the sound. It's very difficult to achieve a signature sound, but when you have that, you have nothing to prove and it allows you to venture farther away. Take Queen: you can't categorise Queen, and that's the place you want to be, because you can do anything."
“For us, I think this is the record where that's really starting. For an artist, as much as you want to be free, there's all this expectation, and you set yourself up, like, 'I have all these hit songs so I have to keep repeating that.' That's why I mentioned Queen, because those guys didn't give a shit, they wrote whatever the hell they felt like writing. That's as honest as music can be."
With AfterLife due for release on August 19, Zoltan breaks down the album’s 12 songs track by track…
Welcome To The Circus
“This is a straight- up arena banger plowing through a not-so-subtle social commentary about the epic clown-show we are all living in today. Addicted to ‘likes’ and ‘thumbs ups’, people really will do just about anything for that digital dopamine.”
“At one point you’ll have to decide if the world is happening to you, or you are happening to the world. Time to kiester your prayers and wishes and actually use that free will you were fortunate to be born with and DO something. Your time is short here on Earth. You don’t wanna wait for some ‘higher power’ to ‘intervene on your behalf’.”
Times Like These
“It’s the artistic way of saying a giant turd-meteor is on a collision course with the fan and almost everyone is ignoring it. The world is too noisy or too busy to notice, let alone care. You wanna grab and shake people and wake them up but it seems futile, so you just have to let it burn…”
Roll Dem Bones
“It’s an old-school Five Finger Death Punch smasher; musically speaking, it’s a flashback to our first two records. It’s about that moment when you finally smash the eject button. Sometimes you just have to get rid of certain ideas, ideals, situations, or just the wrong people from your circle.”
Pick Up Behind You
“Everyone has that one friend or relative that keeps stumbling and falling down and you have to pick them up and glue the pieces back together, and they keep doing it and it’s harder and harder to be there for them. The more you care the more damage they cause and yet, out of loyalty you pick them up anyway.”
“This one is the most adventurous songs on the record. Sort of a musical kaleidoscope of sacred geometry, Hemi-Synched minds and the strange world of the machine-elves [a term coined by Terence McKenna to describe entities reported by people using DMT]. Something you will all experience when judgement day comes and you cross into the afterlife. Were you good, bad, an angel, the devil, or a saint… it all ends the same…”
“This track is about entitlement. The world owes you absolutely nothing. So, just like every other creature that was ever born, you just have to stop whining and figure out how to survive. Also, I think between the lines I can hear Ivan extending his middle finger toward some well-deserving individuals.”
Thanks For Asking
“Metaphorically speaking… What is your ‘Heaven’ and what is your ‘Hell’? Sometimes the line gets blurred between the two. You all have been in that relationship, friendship or job where you stayed much longer than you should have because most likely you got addicted to the drama or the pain. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you have wings but are scared to take that leap – you gotta jump.”
Blood And Tar
“Ivan is throwing some verbal darts in this one. In every situation, everyone has their own perception about past events – everyone is either taking credit for certain things, or pointing fingers at each other and passing the blame. But when and if they realise that we – people in general – are all mad in some ways, then ‘life stands explained’.”
All I Know
“You don’t think you are crazy, but actually, how would you know? There is that moment when you start manically laughing into the face of adversity, because you have been living in hell so long that nothing can scare you anymore. ‘The devil you fear is all I’ve ever known.’ If you recognise that you hit rock bottom and the only way is up, then you have nothing to lose and there is a lot of power in that.”
“This one is another old-school piece. It’s about the outcasts and the black sheep, the ones who were not born with the silver spoon in their mouth. No matter how far you came, how far you are reaching up, you never forget, and ‘they’ will never let you forget where you came from – so even if your fist is in the gold, your foot will be always in the gutter. And that’s OK, because fuck ’em all!”
“On Earth, there are no survivors. Death takes out everyone. Both physically and metaphorically everything is trying to kill you, everything is trying to take you out. Be that your life, job, career, social position… you are always under attack, there is always a struggle. The End is about the acceptance of the battle we have to wage from the moment we came into the world. Fine, so let the arrows fly – we won’t go down easy. It’s not over until it’s over.”
The brand issue of Metal Hammer is out now. Order it online here (opens in new tab)