Warrior’s Heart: Five Finger Death Punch at the Ruoff Music Center

Five Finger Death Punch Thrills at the Ruoff Music Center

I knew what I was in for when the curtain dropped away from the stage and revealed a giant plastic skull with crossed metal baseball bats behind it. This would be a furious crush of sound delivered like a back-alley beatdown, the kind you don’t get up from. But when the medics came to scrap the audience’s mangled remains off their seats, they would at least know that they had gotten their money’s worth. Five Finger Death Punch acquitted themselves marvelously at Noblesville’s Ruoff Music Center on the 31st of August and a fine time was had by all.

A Very Brief History

Since their 2005 debut, Five Finger Death Punch has been one of the top metal acts on the scene. Although roughly of the same generation as Breaking Benjamin and Linkin Park, their harder, more aggressive sound sets them apart. As does their refreshing approach to their chosen genre.

A Note on Sound

As far as sound goes, FFDP largely eschews the nu-metal stylings that were still popular when they formed. Instead, they lean more on the thrash sound pioneered by Metallica in the eighties as well as groove metal. Even so, their music is more melodic than the above description would suggest. But only slightly. Their guitar section, led by Zoltan Bathory, snaps and crunches like the lethal stutter of a machine gun. The vocals meanwhile, courtesy of Ivan Moody, fall somewhere halfway between iron shavings and lead on the metal spectrum. The combined effect hits the audience like a careening truck. Driven by a speed-crazed Gila monster.

The Show

Five Finger Death Punch wasted no time, going straight into a hard driving number as the curtain fell. It certainly fulfilled the promise made by the skull-and-cross-bats and formed an immediate connection with the audience. Even better, Five Finger Death Punch managed to keep that pace up for the better part of the show.

The Audience Loved It.

The audience was out of their seats for the better part of the performance, impressive since FFDP was the last act on a four-show ticket. The audience had been standing all night, but Bathory and co. brought them to their feet once more. Now, one could attribute this to coasting on the momentum generated by the previous three bands, but it just isn’t so. Five Finger Death Punch generated their own momentum.

Of course, it wasn’t just their music alone. Apart from their powerful sound, Five Finger Death Punch lives up to their ferocious name in terms of stage presence. To wit, Ivan Moody struts about the stage like a warrior on an ancient battlefield. He stares straight into the audience as if challenging them to come up and take the stage from him, while funneling his intense aura into his voice. Zoltan Bathory is more sedate, playing his guitar almost like a jazzman who plays the music for its own sake, indifferent to the audience. Sedate, but still intense. In a way, the concert felt more like a battle.

But if it was a battle, it was one well-fought.

Keep listening, everybody.

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