It’s easy to write Five Finger Death Punch off as a lowest common denominator Michael Bay-directed cartoon version of a metal band, all flashy explosions and set pieces with a romantic sub-plot crowbared in to boost sales, but what many people forget when talking smack about those films, is that they do very well at the box office, very well indeed. It’s their innate ability to force an enormous smile onto your face for the short time they are on, then disappear quicker than the popcorn, that makes them so enjoyable, and the same can be said for 5FDP. While album number seven, And Justice For None, adds little extra to their explosive canon, it’s hard to deny that the band do what they do exceedingly well, and when those cannons go off, they go off like a Transformer in a teacup.
Ivan Moody may sound like a crap teenage Sid Vicious tribute act, but he’s always been larger than life and he’s in fine voice here. Yes, he sprinkles his lyrics with more motherfuckers than will ever be necessary, using the expletive to pave over the cracks in his cadence like he’s icing a cake, and yes, those lyrics are often pretty ripe, but in all honesty, that’s exactly what this kind of shameless, stomping fun needs. Romping battlecries such as Rock Bottom and Sham Pain, a 21st century Get In The Ring that names and shames those who have wronged Moody of late with both barrels, openly tackle some of the very public problems he has experienced in recent years, while the rest of the band are on top form too, chugging like the little engine that could and stamping their signatures on some of the band’s best material yet. However, while the album starts well, it runs out of steam and loses acres of pace in the second half with way too many mid-paced ballads. I Refuse is arguably one of the better takes on this side of the band, and Gone Away has a little of the Tears For Fears Mad World about it, which is nice, but overloading the final eight songs with five such tracks will test the patience of even the most dedicated knucklehead. By far the best of the bunch is Black On Blue, a full divebomb into outlaw country territory that suits the band far better than the acoustic balladry that has plagued previous albums, mainly because it manages to retain some of the Las Vegas showmanship that defines the Death Punch.
Much like those Michael Bay films, it’s when the band try to be serious that the plot holes start to emerge, but there’s more than enough firepower left in the tanks to fill the gaps and keep this juggernaut rolling, and more than enough knuckleheads out there to take Death Punch to the top. Leave your brain at the door, check your cynicism at the cloakroom, and suspend your disbelief as far as you can, and just let yourself enjoy the flashy colours and loud noises for what they are. It’s meant to be fun after all.