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INTERVIEWS: FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

Darren Sadler
Darren Sadler 28 September 2009 at 21.47

Rock Sound catches up with Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory as his band prepares to release their second studio album and tour the UK…

Rock Sound catches up with Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory as his band prepares to release their second studio album and tour the UK…

Let’s talk about the record first, are you happy with the result? “Yeah, absolutely. There is always pressure when you’ve had a record that was fairly successful. There is always a question mark like, ‘Was it a fluke or can these guys do it again?’ I think that we’ve proved we’re here to stay.”

How would you say this record compares to your previous material? “The new record is more polished, more macho, more robust. I think we’ve done even better than we did on the first one. You can’t move away from your sound – it was very important to keep all those signature elements – but we didn’t want to make the same record. When you repeat the same thing a couple of times people just loose interest and that was something we were keeping in mind. We try to write real songs, it has to have choruses, it has to has to have balance between melody and aggression but it still has to progress.”

Did you approach recording this record differently? “Yes, in several cases. The first record was self-produced so we paid for it on our own. We went to studios and got the ‘bro rate’, we just used them whenever they were free. We didn’t have access to the people that we have now. Another thing was that we had more time on production than on the first record. Also, Ivan [Moody, vocals] was only in our band for three days before he started recording vocals on the first record. This time it’s three years and some 800 shows later. It’s a well-oiled machine now and it’s a totally different story, which I think you can hear on the record.”

Is the title of the album deliberately controversial? “You can take the title that way. I think it will mean something different to everyone. It also means, ‘Here is this band’. We came out of nowhere with a lot of question marks surrounding us, ‘Who are these guys? Are they a fluke? They’ve sold a lot of records, so what is going on here?’ It’s our answer, ‘Fuck you, we’re here to stay!’ This is something we have hoped for our entire lives. Every single one of us has been in and out of bands trying to do what we are doing now. Finally it’s getting some traction and it’s happening, we’re on the right path.”

How do you decide what tracks make the album? “The opening track, ‘Dying Breed’, was actually the last track that we added to the record. When we look at the record, it’s not just songs, it has to work as a composition. We will look and say, ‘Okay, we have five mid-tempo songs and we need more up-tempo songs’, because when you’re listening to the album it has to be like a journey. We needed another up-tempo song so we added that one and it came out pretty amazing in my opinion. It has the perfect balance of heavy fucking metal and a huge chorus.”

What can we expect from the tour with Shadows Fall and Otep? Are you looking forward to it? Shadows Fall are one of those bands that have brought back heavier music. They have a cult-like, very hardcore following, the same with Otep. We always say there are metal fans and then there are ‘Death Punch fans! So on the tour there are going to be three bands that each have a very hardcore fan base, which is going to be very interesting. Plus, this is our biggest headlining tour to date and we’re coming over to Europe. We’ve been playing headlining shows with one record so we’re excited to play something new.”

Are you looking forward to the UK? “Absolutely. I’m from Europe and I know how hardcore the European fan base is. It’s always very important to me to see what the European fans’ reaction is, especially the UK. It’s a hot bed of metal, so if you get accepted there then you’re doing something right. We’re really, really looking forward to it, especially after playing at Download festival.”

Gemma Burns / Darren Sadler

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