Five Finger Death Punch Bio:
After 3 years of heavy-duty groundwork supporting their highly successful debut album, Five Finger Death Punch enters the ring for Round Two.
The Los Angeles quintet known for their devastating live shows had embarked on quite a journey to get to this point and to become one of the most important bands of recent metal history. The newcomers of 2007 climbed a steep mountain in the last couple of years and fought for every inch of their success, but today they play sold out shows, headline prestigious festivals and command an army of die-hard fans across the globe.
“This band has been running on pure fan power since day one,” band founder Zoltan Bathory explains. “You can’t get successful on the wings of industry hype. No matter how much money you throw at it, you simply can’t twist people’s arms and make them like your music. They will step behind you on their own, or they just won’t. We’re honored to have such a dedicated militant fan base.”
5FDP started in 2005 when Hungarian Born guitarist, Zoltan Bathory recruited Jeremy Spencer (drums), Matt Snell (bass) and Ivan Moody (vocals) to a start-up project he named after the infamous "Dim Mak" - The Death Punch - as a nod to classic Hong-Kong Kung-Fu Cinema.
Five Finger Death Punch recorded their DIY album, The Way Of The Fist in 2006, produced by Bathory & Jeremy Spencer, and Mixed By Soulfly/Machine Head Guitarist, Logan Mader. After a few songs began circulating online, 5FDP became a word-of-mouth phenomenon that sent shockwaves through the underground metal community. The brute power of the band's live shows, and their quickly elevating notoriety soon became the talk of the industry.
Consequently, the finished record was picked up and released by Firm Music - the recording arm of industry powerhouse, "The Firm" Management (Korn, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit).
Five Finger Death Punch spent over two years on the road with bands such as Disturbed, Korn, Slipknot, Lamb of God, and built a hardcore following (deemed the “Knuckleheads”) that by now are infamous on their own as one of the loudest and rowdiest crowds of recent history.
The Way Of The Fist yielded 3 Top 10 U.S. Radio hits, aTop 5 MTV Metal Video, a Kerrang 'Best New Band' Award Nomination, and brought home Metal Hammer's prestigious Golden God Award for 'Best New International Band'. Record sales exceeded 400,000 Worldwide, propelling the band to the forefront of the current metal scene.
5FDPThe question of whether or not 5FDP's meteoric rise was a fluke was promptly squashed by the band's sophomore album. To the astonishment of the industry, 'War Is The Answer' debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release. Death Punch’s first single, "Hard To See" took only a couple of weeks before crashing the party in Rock Radio's Top 10 - becoming their fourth Top Ten Rock Radio hit in as many tries and cementing them as the most promising band in hard rock and metal.
This continued success was no accident; the band didn’t go to War unprepared. They enlisted an A-List production team in award winning co-producer, Kevin Churko (Ozzy) and legendary mixing engineer, Randy Staub (Metallica, Stone Sour, Motley Crue) to make sure 'War Is the Answer' lived up to its title.
Subsequently, Five Finger Death Punch fine-tuned their songs more than ever on this latest offering. Guitarist, Zoltan Bathory puts it best: "It was imperative to keep an open mind and evolve as songwriters while trying to stay true to the sound we already established. I think the outcome is more diverse, more mature - but undoubtedly, a ‘Death Punch’ record.”
According to the leading metal press, 5FDP accomplished just that with War IsThe Answer and has been called a "Juggernaut in the Making” [Kerrang!]. Billboard Magazine dubbed the album “A Sophomore Knockout,” while Metal Hammer referred to it as a “A Colossal Beast Of Hard Rock Brilliance.”
War is an expansive collection of unbridled melodic metal. Tracks like "Bulletproof" illustrate Five Finger Death Punch's diversity, switching from a spellbinding chorus to a neck-snapping solo in a flash. “Burn It Down” is a nihilistic exploration in pure rage -- a new storyline with the same popular characters from The Way of the Fist. Meanwhile, “No One Gets Left Behind” is an up-tempo crusher that leaves room for lyrical interpretation. “You can take it literally, or as an underlying theme we often talk about,” relates Zoltan. “We are all soldiers in one tribe or another: a band, a football team, an army, or the whole collective - the human species. You protect the tribe, you stick with your brothers. No one runs, everybody fights – and no one gets left behind.”
Jason Hook of 5FDPThe band has been known for their intense guitar playing since day one, and War kicks it up several notches. Guitar virtuoso, Jason Hook joined the fold in 2008, lending an uncanny repertoire to the fold.
"Jason's rhythm playing is very similar to mine," says Zoltan. "We have our signature sound all over War Is the Answer. It's a heavy machine-gun style of playing. There are more solos too, because we wanted to utilize Jason's talent. We still focused on writing great songs though because those stay around forever."
The songs on War will certainly stand the test of time, and the emotions encapsulated in them are extremely tangible. Ivan confronted many of his own demons, waging war through words. The singer says, "It's a more personal record. On War Is the Answer, the band encouraged me to write from the heart. There is a lot of stuff, as painful as it may be, that I tried to project on this album that I didn't get a chance to on the first record."
"Walk Away" is an especially poignant song. The band incorporates acoustic guitars for a haunting, heavy sound, and the track's infectious, heartfelt chorus makes it a surefire single.
"On ‘Walk Away,’ I wanted to wash my hands of this particular relationship in my life that has gone sour. It's a cleansing. I really did put my heart and soul into this entire record—no matter how hard it was. You have to expose the most ugly and raw parts of your life to really convey anything," say Ivan.
Ivan conveys true pain in his lyrics across the entire album. He pulls no punches, especially on the powerful "Crossing Over." His touching, episodic narrative propels the song under melancholy, melodic guitars. The entire album plays out in cinematic fashion with drama and true tension in every note. He continues, "We wanted to make an album that was going to feel like a major motion picture and not just a B-movie."
Ivan Moody"Hard to See" could be the soundtrack to that epic. Ivan goes on, "The politics of the music industry have baffled me since day one. 'Hard to See' is me lashing out at the industry. I'm so tired of being pulled in every direction and being told what to do. The song is about melding into the industry and learning the politics so we can be freer as artists."
About their international appeal, Zoltan offers some insight. "If you really dig down to the roots of the music, American bands are more groove-oriented and based on rhythm and blues. European bands grow up on classical music because it's very much embedded into that culture. Five Finger Death Punch has both of those roots because I'm from Europe, and Ivan and the rest of the guys are American. We ended somewhere between, with an ‘international sound’ that’s different and separates us."
The album's title sums everything up for the band right now. Zoltan elaborates, "War is the nature of man; it always been, and it'll never go away. War has many different manifestations so it doesn’t have to be taken literally, but that urge to conquer is embedded in our genes. We were not meant to live our lives caged in cubicles.”
Ivan follows, "I think everyone has their own personal battles whether they're religious, political or family-oriented. To us, [our first album] The Way of the Fist was a swift punch to the face. War Is the Answer is the progression from that first album. You listen and you know we have to keep fighting. You can never just give up and throw in the towel.”
In the end, this record is for the people. Ivan concludes, "I want fans to be as proud of War Is the Answer as we are. We're not going anywhere. I want people to realize that this is from our hearts. I want the younger generation of musicians to realize if you stick to your guns and put forward the militant foot, you can get there. This band isn't afraid of anything. We will go out there, sweat, bleed and play our hearts out - that's everything I've looked for my entire life in a band. Mankind is nothing but a cluster of opinions and nobody knows the real answers; nothing is ‘for sure.’ However, you can move, even change people through music. That’s the power of art."
Since its release in September 2009, War Is the Answer has sold over 150,000 copies in the US alone. The band accomplished one of the most successful headlining tours of the fall, the USA and UK dates sold out in advance. Look for 5FDP on the road in 2010.