Five Finger Death Punch and Daughtry Lead This Week's New Releases
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2 (Prospect Park): The only album this week that delivers what it promises—Five Finger Death Punch sound like a five-finger death punch. That is, an uncreative but reliable blunt force, with the occasional guitar harmony, impressive Chinese Democracy guitar solos, melody and lyrics that vary things up without distracting from the skull-cracking, Meshuggah-learned motor-propellor of the dual kick drum. And if Ivan Moody's melisma on the piano and strings-heavy tear-vehicle "Cold" has far too many James Hetfield-isms in it, Jeremy Spencer's hypnotizing stutter-rolls on "Matter of Time" make up for it by earning the "groove metal" tag more accurately than Pantera ever did.
Daughtry – Baptized (RCA): Chris Daughtry could win big in the long run — over Boston or even Back in Black. This is a guy who turned down an offer to join his favorite band Fuel after they lost a singer because he could make more on his own, and he was right: his debut album is the biggest-selling rock debut since Soundscan began. But we all know that's because it wasn't really his debut, and like Rick Springfield, he was a TV heartthrob with rock dreams. This includes joining his fellow D-heads Dokken, Dio and Danzig in a surname brand, er band, whose name has its own section on Wikipedia: "We could've come out with a really obscure name, but coming from the TV show and having name recognition, it was easier just to go with my last name."
There are the usual pros and cons to his Idol roots, with his clean and s4lick voice occasionally trailing off in interesting ribbons, over some of the least interesting music ever made. His too-big-to-fail stature keeps it from being wholly unlistenable, and since it's his fourth album, enough boredom has set in for him to Add Other Things. He challenges Katy Perry on the synthable "Waiting for Superman," (which you bet her label wishes was on the fast-sinking Prism) and Nashville on the only thing here you might actually remember in 2014, a "Long Live Rock and Roll" that claims he prefers bad-for-business David Lee Roth to corporate-penguin Sammy Hagar. Far more believable is when, on "Long Live Rock and Roll", the heartthrob can't possibly conceive that Courtney Love (a woman!) wrote her own songs. See who else made the list.
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