In a recent interview with Kerrang! magazine, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory was asked what he attributes his band's mass appeal to. He responded: "We know that we're a very polarizing band. Our fans are hardcore. They love us, and there are a lot of people who can't stand us. But even the haters don't compare us to other bands. We stand on our own. Beyond that, Ivan's [Moody, vocals] lyrics are always personally, politically or socially relevant. We're not singing about history or Viking warriors. Ours is a social commentary, about the hope and the tragedy, and things we all go through in life."
Bathory also acknowledged that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH can be pretty provocative, too.
"We like to press buttons," he admitted. "When everyone was on streets with signs saying 'War is not the answer!', we released [2009 album] 'War Is The Answer'. When Occupy Wall Street was going on and socialism was growing in America, we brought out [2011 album] 'American Capitalist'. That's all intentional."
During the same chat, Zoltan addressed the perception that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is an archetypically "American" metal. He said: "I'm never sure what 'typically American music' is. Is it about what we play? How we look? What we say? Perhaps it's because we blew up in America first and focused mostly on touring there at the start of our career? Musically, if you look at most European metal bands, there's classical influence in the background — it's about harmonies and melodies and how they interact. American music is much more rooted in folk, and in rhythm and blues. It's about the groove, the vibe and the feeling. I feel like our band is more international."
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's latest album, "F8", was released on February 28. The follow-up to 2018's "And Justice For None" caps a turbulent period for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in which Moody finally got sober after a near-fatal struggle with addiction, while co-founding drummer Jeremy Spencer bowed out of the band due to physical issues.
Much of "F8"'s lyrical content deals with Moody's battle with addiction, its aftermath and his recovery. The singer is celebrating two years of sobriety this month.
Spencer announced his departure from FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in December 2018 after going through two back surgeries and sitting out a tour. His replacement is Charlie "The Engine" Engen, who makes his recording debut with the band on "F8".