Five Finger Death Punch. Loved, loathed. It wouldn't be dramatic to say that in the current spectrum of heavy music they are a bit of a unique enigma. Undoubtedly a gigantic band in terms of mainstream sales there is still a shroud of suspicion over their role in Metal at the moment and the love for them cannot exactly be described as widespread - they've got a gigantic core for sure, one that's certainly big enough to allow them to take over arenas globally on a consistent basis but what direction is this big colourful train heading at the moment? With the fact that they do now quite consistently play these big-time shows, there was a sense that with this entire tour there's a real drive and push to push them onwards in to the next bracket.
We've noted there that Five Finger Death Punch feel like this gigantic colourful train ploughing full speed towards you and as soon as the curtain dropped tonight at Wembley Arena and the cartoonish, brash figures in the band burst on to the stage with a huge skull and crossbones (in the form of two baseball bats) inflated above them the place was absolutely awash with fervent joy. The description of them being 'cartoonish' isn't in any way designed to be derogatory - these are five huge characters and the image, tone and method is all very deliberate indeed. They may be accused of writing big dumb American Heavy Metal, but these guys certainly aren't idiots.
As noted, the crowd's enormous reception as soon as the band launched in to Lift Me Up in to Trouble then Wash It All Away the entire place was totally glued and zoned in. The floor became a sea of spontaneous pits and fist pumping whilst barely a soul was left sitting down across the seats. The set-list dropped off quite a bit midway through as the ballads and overly earnest covers came in. It was a curious decision to smash together all of the acoustic and slower sing-alongs together where it would likely have worked far better had they been spread out and had the big stompers carrying the energy through. Instead there was a section which just felt like a bit of a drag.
Overall then, Five Finger Death Punch have built this huge level of support through their simple, hard-hitting, chest-beating breed of Metal and it should come as no surprise that their name often gets bandied around when discussing consistent festival headliners of the future but we live in strange times indeed. The mere suggestion years ago that a band consistently headlining Wembley Arena wouldn't already be topping Download Festival bills would have been outrageous but it's a different time now and the thought-process has certainly shifted. The brashness, the larger than life characters and the nonsense will be what tips it for this lot - let's just say it hasn't exactly hurt the super-giants in the scene over the years has it?