As we dance by the edge of the drop of one of the best hard rock albums of the year so far, Five Finger Death Punch have a lot to be grateful for, according to bassist Chris Kael. Personal turmoil and uncertainty, it’s been a rough ride for the band lately and how they’ve gotten through it is reflected in this release. And Justice For None bites, barks and beats your ears into a beautiful mess, Five Finger Death Punch offering no apologies for themselves – and nor should they.
Chris, your new album – you’re taking absolutely no prisoners and making absolutely no compromises, it’s brilliant.
Thank you very much! I think that’s a recurring theme throughout the Death Punch catalogue.
Absolutely, but I feel like you guys now have this beautiful balance of personal, political and social reflections – it’s aggressive but it’s also quite vulnerable at the same time, would you agree?
Oh yeah definitely. Ivan [vocalist Ivan Moody], when he writes his lyrics, he definitely writes what he’s feeling at the moment and is able to kinda get deep, particularly on the emotional songs. He’s great at that.
My particular favourite on the album is your rendition of ‘Blue On Black’. You guys tore yourselves apart and laid yourselves bare.
We always try to do songs that are fun for us and any time we do a cover song, it’s very important to us to do a different version from the original. It’s very important for us to add the Death Punch sound to the covers we do and I think we’ve done that on this record.
Absolutely, your cover of The Offspring’s ‘Gone Away’, I didn’t even realise was that song until someone pointed it out to me.
Yeah, a lot of people have said that. It’s a good indication that we’re doing it right!
You guys have had your ups and downs in the last year, Ivan had personal things going on, but you’ve really come through. But going through that stuff and writing that album, do you guys feel like you’re more solid than ever before?
Yeah I mean, any time you’re going through that it’s nice to have a creative outlet to work through all the stuff that you’re going through, individually and as a group. On this record you can hear the influence of all the things we had going on at the time. This album was definitely a therapeutic release, both musically and lyrically for Ivan as well. It’s certainly a blessing to be able to have that kind of therapeutic release available and use constructive song writing to get over the things we were going through.
Music is a great healer for that. There’s also a lot of telling people they haven’t got balls and getting up in the face of a lot of things. What was you reasons for wanting to do that, to have your say and talk about the world’s discrepancies?
We all realise none of this would have happened had we not stepped up and put in the effort and basically taken the success we’ve had. You’ve gotta take chances, me in particular – had it not been for me believing in myself and reaching out to Jason Hook on Facebook, I would probably still be bar tending in Vegas.
No one’s gonna give you anything. You’ve gotta put yourself out there, take chances, believe in yourself, and that has worked for us to this point, and it’s words of encouragement to others – if you do that as well, success can come your way.
I couldn’t agree more, it’s definitely something I know I needed to hear today so thanks for that.
[Laughs] Well there you go, we’re happy to help!
You’ve been doing a little bit of touring with album, right?
We’ve done a few festivals – here in our hometown of Las Vegas, Florida, headline dates with Shinedown and Bad Wolves. A lot of touring coming up – we’ve had a bit of a break but we’re ready to get out there and pay.
I’m not hearing the word “Australia” anywhere in there though.
Yeah, you know, that sort of thing is out of my pay grade [laughs]. I play bass and shake my beard to the art of Death Punch. It’s one of things we definitely wanna get back over – we are far overdue a visit to the wonderful place we love, Australia. A lot of good memories there, ready to make some more.
Each Five Finger Death Punch album has marked a period in time for you guys, be it where you are musically, creatively, personally, it’s set in stone that those points of your life are in your career. When you’ve been out playing these songs at these festivals, what’s been the reception to the new album and how do you feel it’ changed throughout Five Finger’s tenure?
I think this album represents triumph over the tribulations we’ve gone through both as a band and individually. We were able to raise the flag and say we’ve gotten through all this stuff and are ready to take on the world.
Reaction-wise, it’s been great. Obviously with the advent of social media we’ve been able to get direct responses from fans and find out exactly what they think, both positives and negatives. We are all social networking whores [chuckles] we do enjoy the ol’ social media, me in particular.
We’re doing a few of the new songs on the live shows we’ve put together now, taken away some stuff, added new stuff, and basically trying to one-up ourselves whether it be on the record, live, or in our personal lives. Things are feeling pretty good right now.
AND JUSTICE FOR NONE IS OUT TODAY, MAY 18 VIA ELEVEN SEVEN / SONY MUSIC AUSTRALIA
01. Trouble (Bonus Track)
03. Top Of The World
04. Sham Pain
05. Blue On Black
06. Fire In The Hole
07. I Refuse
08. It Doesn’t Matter
09. When The Seasons Change
10. Stuck In My Ways
11. Rock Bottom
12. Gone Away
14. Will The Sun Ever Rise
15. Bad Seed (Bonus Track)
16. Save Your Breath (Bonus Track)