When 5FDP first came out there was lot of noise about them in the scene, and I really enjoyed their first few albums, but I must admit I have somewhat lost touch with what they have been doing over the years so when I had the opportunity to review this their ninth studio album I jumped at the chance. Undertaking some research, I was surprised to learn that since their debut album, ‘The Way of the Fist’ came out in 2007 the band has released seven consecutive albums that were certified Gold or Platinum by the RIAA, as well as two chart topping Greatest Hits albums. They are also the third biggest artist in the hard rock space measured by total consumption (sales and streams), surpassed only by Metallica and AC/DC. Now, I have never set much store in popular opinion, but that is quite something for a band who I have always viewed as being somewhat underground, but that is obviously not the case, and having heard this I can certainly understand why.

Only rhythm guitarist Zoltan Bathory and singer Ivan Moody have been there since the debut album, with a few line-up changes over the years, but none of that has upset the momentum, and ‘Afterlife” shows a band who are very much on the top of their game. This is nu-metal being taken in new directions, and while they continue to go down a path similar to that of Slipknot there is no doubt this is more commercial and not so overtly percussion driven. Some of these songs, such as “Pick Up Behind You”, actually have more in common with the likes of (whisper it) Nickelback than the masked ones, while songs like “Judgement Day” may be heavy but feel as if they have been aimed at a very different audience than the metalheads. They are blending metal with whatever they want, meaning this album is full of contrast and styles with the only constant being all their songs have incredible hooks and performances. Moody has a voice which suits the very commercial as it does the more brutal, and the rest of the bad lock in behind. They have again worked with producer Kevin Churko, who knows how to get the best out of the band and their material, and that working relationship is here for all to hear.

Released at the end of last year, this album has seen major chart success all over the world (although only #38 here in NZ I note), and for once the masses have it right as this is quite special.

Rating: 9/10