It's that simple, and that maxim holds true for every species. Either you can change with the tides or get swept away in their wake. Either you can grow or you can stagnate. Either you can stand out or simply be another face in the crowd. With their third album, American Capitalist [Prospect Park], Five Finger Death Punch—Ivan Moody [Vocals], Zoltan Bathory [Guitar], Jason Hook [Guitar], Jeremy Spencer [Drums], and Chris Kael [Bass]—morph into the melodic heavy metal machine that they've been moving towards since their 2007 debut, The Way of the Fist. Not only is their sound bigger; it's better. Not only has the music become more intricate; it's become more infectious. Not only are they more direct; they're more dangerous.
Evolution gave birth to American Capitalist. Since their formation in 2006, Five Finger Death Punch continue to progress in the face of all odds and opposition. Darwin himself would be impressed at their list of accolades. The Way of The Fist and 2009's War is the Answer have both surpassed Gold status. Those two albums have spawned seven consecutive top ten singles at Active Rock Radio with "Bad Company" peaking at #1 and "Far From Home" hitting #2. Other tracks have appeared on the hit game Splatterhouse and NBC's Criminal Minds, with a brand new track set to appear on Madden 2012. The group has graced the cover of Revolver, Metal Hammer, and numerous other tastemaker publications as well as performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. They've massacred stages all over the world- everywhere from Download Festival, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park to Mayhem Festival. This was all via independent label and management company Prospect Park. Along the way, they've amassed a diehard, devout fan base fondly referred to as "Knuckleheads."
Right now, they're gearing up for the next phase of their evolution—the reign of American Capitalist. "This record crystallizes the sound of Death Punch," says Bathory. "The band has really come into its own. Everyone contributed to the music, and this is what we are capable of as a unit."
Whether it's the anthemic riff beat down of "Back for More"—featured on the Madden NFL 2012 soundtrack—or the ominous bass, gnashing guitars, and hypnotic vocals of "Generation Dead", each element enthralls. Five Finger Death Punch are about to seize their spot at the top of the musical food chain.
The assault commences with first single "Under and Over It". A propulsive thrash stomp from Bathory and Hook rolls into Moody's sharp lyrical jabs. The singer announces, "Did you hear the one about me being a punk? Did you hear the one about me being a drunk? Did you hear the one about me giving a shit, ‘cause if I ever did I don't remember it."
Dispelling any and all rumors, the song targets shit-talkers of all kinds and silences them once and for all with a cataclysmic chorus. "It's a statement that puts all of the bullshit to rest," declares Moody. "There's a dry sense of humor in the lyrics, and the song shows another side of the band. In the past, I've stuck to writing about relationships or personal issues. I wanted to lash back a little bit on this album."
Bathory affirms, "For every fan, there's a hater. The overall message is to fight for your survival and success, but there's a little sarcasm in there too."
In early February 2011, the band retreated to "The Hideout" in Las Vegas, NV with producer Kevin Churko [Ozzy Osbourne] to record. Until June, each member brought numerous ideas to the table, encouraging the expansion of their collective sound. Before entering the studio, Moody hunkered down in his grandparents' cabin in the mountains of Colorado. It was the perfect spot for him to truly dig inside of for lyrics. In addition, he penned tunes on the road while relocating to Nevada and at night in his new abode. He wasn't going to hold back at all, and as gut-wrenching as the process was, the results are glorious.
"When I write, I quarantine myself," he reveals. "I shut everybody out, and I made it a point to deliver so much emotionally. Around midnight every night when the world shuts down, I would turn on my studio equipment, crank the songs as loud as I could, and get deep."
"Deep" is an understatement when it comes to cuts like the deft, divine, and deadly "Coming Down". A violent energy courses through the verse after an airy acoustic intro. Another visceral buildup crashes into one of Moody's bleakest melodies. "The song came at one of those points where you feel like you've done so much and you're given so little in return for it," he recalls. "You're trying to please the whole world, and you've got to pull back and realize that, at the end of the day, it has to be about you first and foremost. Otherwise, you're useless to anyone else."
Then there's "If I Fall." It's another pummeling canvas for the band to bleed over, complete with a piano bridge and sledgehammer of a hook. Bathory adds, "On that song, we purposefully merge musical landscapes. Classical guitar and full blown heavy metal collide. It's about creating a complex journey of visualization, emotion, and feeling with every song."
"Menace" and "100 Ways To Hate" bludgeon and batter with every note, while "Everything" sees Moody allowing fans closer than ever via a harrowing and hypnotic tale of his own past. He continues, "There's so much honesty in this album. Instead of writing about metaphors, I went straight for the jugular."
The album's very title holds an important message. Bathory explains, "America adopted a form of capitalism that closely resembles the dynamics of nature. Darwinism and capitalism share many similarities. You get your shot at greatness, and it's up to you to take it or not. You can be a zebra or join the lion pride. You have to rebel against your circumstances, laziness, and mediocrity—not the system. The best will make it, and that notion is genetically embedded within our fabric. If we were all equal, evolution wouldn't exist. The human spirit encourages us to excel."
That same spirit has pushed Five Finger Death Punch to develop a formidable stage show for the ages to accompany these songs live. For Bathory, the show is of paramount importance: "I want to interpret this record visually and make it as big and crazy as possible."
Ultimately, Five Finger Death Punch is making music for the lions. Bathory goes on, "This music is for survivors. People listen to different bands to get into a certain mood. I want people to fucking feel like lions when they listen to this. Here you go brother, go kill it."
Moody concludes, "I literally laid every ounce of blood I had on the street with this one. We are a people's band. Our fans admire and understand us because of who we are. We've never tried to be anybody else. We're Five Finger Death Punch."