Fueled by the burgeoning metal scene of the early 2000s, an obsession with classic kung-fu films, and pure, unadulterated American rage, Five Finger Death Punch aka FFDP was officially founded back in 2005. After recording some initial material, it took them a year to get the iconic former Motograter vocalist, Ivan Moody aka Ghost, onboard. Since then, they’ve been one of the most influential heavy metal bands to hail from Vegas.
Before their meteoric rise, the band hailed from humble beginnings and during their early years played gigs in dingy Vegas dive bars. These bars would have been the perfect setting for finding fellow metalheads, and establishing a cult following for the band’s signature groove metal sound.
For FFDP, 2006 was all about putting themselves out there while also simultaneously self-producing their debut album, ‘The Way Οf Τhe Fist‘.
Armed with percussive guitar playing, the album’s namesake track was a pivotal step in the right direction for heavy metal in the mid-2000s. As guitarist and founding member Zoltan Bathory recalls in an interview with Team Rock, “…it was different to the time, and it established a sound that now belongs to Five Finger Death Punch. It had a sound and a vibe that established what the band is and the direction we were going into. It was very percussive, fast metal or whatever we can name it, it was different to what was around us.”
This is why more than a decade later, long-time fans of the band still get pumped when they hear Ivan Moody screaming the song’s first lines: Break this shit down! Zoltan, open the sky! – prompting Bathory to launch into an aggressive cascade of guitar shredding that continues to entertain old fans and attract new ones to this day.
After the release of their debut album in 2007, the meteoric rise of FFDP could no longer be contained by Vegas dive bars. Later that year, they were chosen by Korn as one of the supporting acts on Korn’s Family Values Tour – FFDP’s first major tour cycle. But despite all their success, 2007 was not without its challenges.
In an archived news article via Blabbermouth, 2007 was when vocalist Ivan Moody developed calluses on his vocal chords. The reasons for this are very evident in tracks like ‘White Knuckles‘, ‘Salvation‘, and ‘Ashes‘ in which Moody really lets loose. Doctors advised him to take 2 months of vocal rest and rehabilitation in order to prevent permanent damage, prompting FFDP to pull out from a scheduled tour with fellow metal outfits Chimaira and All That Remains.
Fortunately, Ivan managed to make a full recovery and the band began touring again, this time with even bigger names like Slipknot and Disturbed.
Today, FFDP play at some of the biggest venues across the globe, with their 2018 U.S. tour alongside Shinedown running from April 20 until May 30. The second date on the tour will be back home in Vegas at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. FFDP have always remained loyal to Vegas, and even demanded a concert at the T-Mobile Arena in 2016 after Las Vegas was left off the tour schedule. The T-Mobile Arena is part owned by the MGM Grand, a casino, PartyPoker states is “revered the world over” because of its “history and character”. Like Vegas’ iconic casinos, FFDP is also now making history in the city’s entertainment scene.
In 2008, ‘The Way Οf Τhe Fist‘ was re-released with 3 new bonus tracks, including ‘Stranger Than Fiction‘, which has Ivan Moody singing melodically with a slow guitar track for the first 20 seconds, after which the band explodes into its usual cacophony of aggressive, but intensely harmonic rock – reminiscent of ‘The Bleeding‘, one of the original songs in the album.
While ‘The Way Οf Τhe Fist‘ garnered mixed reviews after its release, it managed to sell 500,000 copies by 2011, officially certifying the record as gold. Today, the album continues to attract new listeners, some of whom mistakenly think that it was recorded and released in this decade – a testament to its timelessness and reigning influence on modern heavy metal.