American metallers, Five Finger Death Punch, have released their latest album called And Justice For None. And Justice For None came out on the 18th of May and is the band’s seventh studio album and first since 2015’s Got Your Six.
The band went through some well documented issues with their label Prospect Park where the label actually took them to court. It was believed by them that Five Finger Death Punch were in breach of contract as they were recording a new album with their newest label, Rise Records. So apparently, And Justice for None was actually recorded back in 2016 but the court action meant it couldn’t be released.
Add into that frontman Ivan Moody’s well known issues with addiction. This has lead to mood swings, him storming off, quitting the band etc… Five Finger Death Punch have really been through the ringer this last few years. Still, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Also, in metal, these troubles tend to lend themselves to lyrics well providing context for the new album. As such, And Justice for None has a lot of focus on tough times, inner strength and fighting back.
And Justice For None is 13 tracks and just over 47 minutes of music. There are 2 versions of the album, a standard and deluxe both with different covers. The deluxe includes 3 extra songs as well though this review is focused on the standard edition. If I have one criticism of Five Finger Death Punch, through the years since their formation in 2005 it would be how utterly predictable they are. FFDP are not known for awe-inspiring variety or changes in style. They release mostly heavy hitting, groove laden riff based music with thick bass lines and aggressive “I’m gonna beat you up” lyrical content. A term I quite like for it is “Bro metal”.
Now, if you are a fan of heavy metal, and you must be to be here reading this, it is impossible for you to not occasionally like their music. Their often generic riffs and crashing drum blasts are almost metal by numbers so how can you not like it? What you may find though is that albums are hard to deal with when you have song after song of it and you are crying out for something to change things up.
Well, you do get a few changes over the course of And Justice for None, though not too many. We open up with the single Fake which is exactly what you would imagine a Five Finger Death Punch to sound like. Big grooving riffs from Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook on the guitars, a steady drum beat and Moody telling everyone how fake they are. He is obviously pissed and ready to tell the world all about it. The problem is that the song is repetitive and grows boring quickly. This happens a fair few times on the album actually. Rock Bottom is terrible. Boring, repetitive and with childish lyrics. The same with Bloody, though I do like some of the mixed up drum beats Jeremy Spencer chucks in here. I also don’t like It Doesn’t Matter at all. Again it suffers from terrible lyrics and overly recognisable riffs.
However, it is not all bad though. There are actually a few songs on here that offer something a little different which is unexpected and welcomed. There are a couple ballads, sort of ballads, on And Justice For None which show a level of maturity and style I wasn’t expecting. I Refuse is a nice song with passionately sung vocals and has a beautifully melodic and sorrowful acoustic solo. When the Seasons Change isn’t quite as touching but is still a decent track with a catchy chorus.
Away from ballads and there are some faster tracks that are good and less predictable. Sham Pain has some clever lyrics and plays off the word Sham Pain being Champagne. It has a really catchy hook and loads of grooving bass from Chris Kael. Fire in the Hole is decent too with some intense drumming rhythms and well sung vocals. There are alsoa cpoupel of covers on the album. FFDP give a take on Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Blue on Black. I do’t know the original well enough to judge but I like this version and the mix of acoustic and electric guitars. I’m a bit unsure of the cover of The Offspring’s excellent Gone Away.
For the most part it is a straight cover with no real changes other than tone and at that they do a great job. The problem comes more with the intro verse which is slowed down to a ballad and sounds weak, mistimed and irritating. It is quickly forgotten once it kicks in though and becomes very enjoyable.
And Justice For None is far from a perfect album with some really dull and flat tracks, childish macho lyrics and repetitive riffs. There is hope there too though. A couple really catchy songs. Some positive messages on a few too. There are also a couple very decent ballads showing a level of maturity I didn’t expect from these guys. Not perfect but not bad, not bad at all.
And Justice For None is available on all the streaming sites now, like Apple Music and Spotify. You can grab a physical copy from the band here. You can also pick it up, and more, from the links below. Keep up to date with news on the band at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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And Justice For None by Five Finger Death Punch (Prospect Park/Eleven Seven)
The Final Score - 6/10