Review

Five Finger Death Punch first stormed rock radio in 2007 with "The Bleeding" (from debut album The Way of the Fist), a powerful, emotionally tense track that matched vintage Metallica-style thrash with a throat-shredding chorus more typical of late-aughts metalcore. The Los Angeles-based band's sophomore disc, War Is the Answer, mines much of the same territory as that breakout song, keeping the flame of the classic '80s Four Horsemen sound alive with snap-tight chugga-chugga guitar rhythms, minor-key, classical music-inspired clean/acoustic passages, and vocals dripping with a James Hetfield-approved combination of sensitive angst and macho defiance. First single "Hard to See" backs a catchy, harmony vocal-laden melody with a syncopated groove so rhythmically engaging it could almost be called funky, while the closing track, "War Is the Answer," takes a headbanging riff seemingly straight out of the Anthrax songbook and uses it to drive home one of several ultra-aggressive sentiments ("To me you're just a cancer/War is the answer"). Elsewhere, Five Finger Death Punch delve into somewhat more diverse sonic territory; "Bulletproof" pairs a throbbing industrial feel reminiscent of late-period Ministry with Yngwie Malmsteen-esque melodic shred guitar solos and a vocal hook that recalls the '80s pop-prog of Asia and GTR, while "Far from Home" is a straight-up power ballad, complete with dramatic strings and a soaring chorus that could sit on a compilation album right alongside any big lighter-waver, from Staind's "It's Been Awhile" to Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." ~ Pemberton Roach, Rovi

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