2. Top Of The World
3. Sham Pain
4. Blue On Black
5. Fire In The Hole
6. I Refuse
7. It Doesn't Matter
8. When The Seasons Change
9. Stuck In My Ways
10. Rock Bottom
11. Gone Away
13. Will The Sun Ever Rise
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Now on their seventh album in barely over a decade, whatever you think of Five Finger Death Punch, lazy they most definitely ain’t. Las Vegas’s finest have shamelessly stuck to a formula comprising of chugging, meat ’n’ potatoes metal sprinkled with the occasional kickass power ballad or surprisingly on-point cover, and why not? It’s a method that has seen them determinedly march up metal’s ranks into a position where they can lay claim to being one of our scene’s biggest bands, and a genuine shout for that hallowed ‘future festival headliner’ tag. And so, to the surprise of no one, And Justice For None (coming three years after Got Your Six, practically making it Chinese Democracy by their standards) is filled with all of the above ingredients… and a little more on the side for good measure. In fact, while their latest album does little to dispute the notion that 5FDP are yet to make a truly classic album, when it slams, it slams hard, and it certainly takes enough interesting sidesteps to diffuse any idea that the guys are resting on their musical laurels or afraid to stretch themselves a little.
That said, both rollocking album opener Fake and decent follow-up Top Of The World are as Five Fingered as it gets – big, dumb, thumping riffs crashing around Ivan Moody’s red-blooded bellows as he switches between his hallmark themes of self-pitying soul-searching and furious, triumphant defiance. Is it derivative? Of course. Is it still fun as shit? Abso-fucking-lutely, and as always with 5FDP, it works.
Sham Pain (see what they did there, etc) is the first of a few tracks to switch the formula up a little, slowing the pace down into a ballsy, glam-rock-on-’roids stomp, as Ivan sarcastically waxes lyrical on life on the road and the pressures of having to grin and bear it when you’d rather be doing anything but. Their cover of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Blue On Black, meanwhile, might be the band’s most shameless attempt at a mainstream rock radio hit yet – a country-fried rock’n’roll anthem that could have been written by Chad Kroeger (wait, come back!) if he’d been downing JD and listening to a shit-ton of Black Stone Cherry. That’ll doubtless read like aural kryptonite to a lot of fans who like their metal fast and heavy at all times, but against all odds, it also works, and Ivan’s vocals – perhaps the most underrated in metal today – fit the style flawlessly.
Fire In The Hole is a more foot-to-the-floor number, but its galloping drums and earnest ‘Whoa-oh!’s make it the closest thing to a power metal song the band have ever produced (yes, really). And guess what? Yep, they pull that one off, too.
5FDP know their way around a great power ballad, and there are a clutch of them here. I Refuse is the schmaltziest of the lot and may be a little too syrupy-sweet for some, but When The Seasons Change and, in particular, Stuck In My Ways hit the spot. It Doesn’t Matter and Rock Bottom are on hand to top up the chug quota, if with less aplomb that the album’s openers, while the band’s well-received take on The Offspring’s Gone Away ticks that aforementioned covers box. By the time it gets to mid-paced numbers Bloody and Will The Sun Ever Rise, it’s hard not to feel that this album could have done with losing a couple of tracks, but ultimately, this is a 5FDP record that’ll appease longterm fans and, quite possibly, win over a fair few newcomers in the process. Job done.