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 411mania » Music » Columns

The Savage Animal 4.30.14: The Videography of Five Finger Death Punch
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 04.30.2014

The WWE is in a weird transition right now. It's really promising and awesome to see these newer faces take over the realm of the company. Guys like Daniel Bryan, The Shield, The Wyatts, Cesaro, and others are all stepping up and taking the company over. It's really good to see this. After losing my faith in the WWE and not caring all that much about the product I'm thrilled to see fresh and entertaining people being presented as the top stars. We all thought a few years ago was "the time". Punk, Kofi, Dolph, and others were on top for a little while, some longer than others, but it just didn't stick. We still got Cena, Orton, Big Show, Kane, Triple H, and other guys past their interesting points all shoved at us. Even when Punk's lack luster title reign was going on he wasn't REALLY "the guy". I honestly don't think he was ever ready for it. He's the equivalent of a Roddy Piper, but with a stolen Japanese move set. He is a great heel, but unless he can totally bury the company and his peers he's not a good face. His face act was good for a shock value because he'll say "edgy" stuff, but it can only go so far before he has to water himself down or just start making everyone look bad. There's no give and take with him. He was never one to convincingly look "weak". Even during his "personal feud" with Jericho, he never convincingly "took" anything. It was like he smugly half-assedly sold things and would then jump up, brush off and then say some more snarky stuff before doing the same match. Plus he couldn't throw punches. He's missed, but to a point. Right now we have Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, The Wyatts, and The Shield who are already showcasing that they can and will be the "full package".

But it's still the WWE. We still have to hear the shrill voice of Stephanie McMahon, the over rated nonsense of Triple H, and John Cena is still going to be pushed as a superhero. So one day it's looking like the future is here and the next day it's the same old soup just reheated.

I'm HOPING Extreme Rules is new soup.

There's a few matches, the Rusev and the Tag Title match specifically, that I just don't care enough about to put any more thought into them outside of THIS sentence.

Bray Wyatt takes on John Cena in a cage. Cena won at WrestleMania XXX so I'm thinking this is the "receipt" for that. I'm sure Wyatt wins. Paige has to beat Tamina. She's too new to halt her momentum now. The Shield will beat Evolution, despite me not being 100% on it. I could easily see Evolution going over and leaving the young'uns lying. I have a feeling and a hope that Triple H won't keep wrestling and this is his last match before coming in next Mania and taking another spot. I could also see this being the time when The Shield is ruined and one of them turns and becomes part of The Evolution. As crazy as it sounds I could see Roman Reigns pulling the swerve and going heel as the new "young guy" member of The Evolution.

This leaves Daniel Bryan and Kane for the title. I am not excited about this match at all. I appreciate Kane, but him being in the main event and going for the title is not how I want Daniel Bryan's first defense to be. This should have happened after "Team Hell Yes" broke up last year. They should have had a crazy blood lust feud to see Kane fade off into retirement or even fade into the whole "corporate Kane" character. This feels forced and too late. The stuff where Kane beat the hell out Bryan was impressive and will be enough reason for the match to mean SOMETHING, but I'm not having high expectations for this one. This way if it's half decent, I'll be surprised and get more out of it. We'll see what happens. I half-think that since this IS D-Bry and the fact that Kane has and can deliver this COULD be a good match. Shit. There I go with expectations. But yeah, Daniel Bryan wins.

So how about that WWE Network? I've not watched one second of the network since WrestleMania and I'm doubtful I will watch much of anything between now and Extreme Rules. I'm leaning towards going back to watching the PPVs the day after before RAW and cancelling come the 6 month mark. NXT is the only show I care about and I just don't have the time or motivation to care. Maybe if they put a Google Chrome cast application out there like any other respectable service. I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, I'll take these $10 PPVs and judge in a couple months when it's that time. Right now, it's no.

The Videography of Five Finger Death Punch
Can Modern Metal Not Suck?!
I don't know much about Five Finger Death Punch. I've heard from many respectable metal heads and rock fans that they are a solid band. I've even been told from a rockstar friend of mine who just got back from a national tour that HIS band has been compared to Five Finger Death Punch. That's a lot of push and credibility to back the band. I remember hearing about them years ago, but I just never dove in and gave them a shot.

I'm not sure if I want to get into a new metal band at the time. I love music and have been taking in just about every genre outside of country into my crowded brain. I seem to be leaning towards classic hippy rock lately, but life is full of phases. Tomorrow I could wake up want to hear some Rammstein and go light my yard on fire or I could wake up and crave some "Gin and Juice". Regardless, I'm always open to new captivating music.

Today I'm going to take a look at the videography of Five Finger Death Punch. I'm hoping for the best here. I'm optimistic that these guys will rock my ass so hard that I have no choice but to take some time in the near future to check out their actual albums.

I'll stop this little intro and jump right in…

Track: "The Bleeding"

Album: "The Way of the Fist"
Year: 2007
Director: Bradley Scott

This video cuts band forth between the band rocking out and a narrative about a couple having problems played by a hot chick (Danielle Harris) and the singer of the band. The band hangs out and Ivan, the singer goes home with a box of what is safe to assume his belongings. We cut to shots of the couple fighting and lots of big emotional drama. It gets really rough and eventually we see that the woman killed herself. The box from the start has her urn in it and he spreads the ashes over their bed. Well that was a pretty bold debut video. The direction and shots are pretty good. It's got a lot of the normal rock video imagery, but the direction is more inspired and takes some more creative approaches. The live performance shots are especially notable. The acting in the story portion is a little hokey, but it tells the story. It's not bad at all, but for a 2007 video it might be a little dated. I'm from the era its "dated" for so I'm not too affected but I'm surprised by its style being pushed as contemporary. This would have been popular as hell in 2002.
Rating: 6. 5

Track: "Never Enough"

Album: "The Way of the Fist"
Year: 2008
Director: Agata Alexander

The band continues to be super serious in their second video as well. This video touches on the façade people put on while doing crazy self-indulgent things on the low. It's basically when people do really bad things in order to fill some kind of void inside them. A husband cop is a druggie, their mother is a submissive sex addict, and their son is a robber who just killed someone. At the end, after seeing their demons, we see that they are a "normal boring family". This video is pretty awesome. Mainly because I like seeing hot chicks dance in a rock atmosphere. The song reminds me of Sevendust, respectfully. The story part doesn't really draw my attention that much. The performance stuff has my attention because of the energy of the band and the quicker cuts. The balance is off. I'd rather have just watched the band do their thing without any side story.
Rating: 7.25

Track: "The Way of the Fist"

Album: "The Way of the Fist"
Year: 2008
Director: Sxv'Leithan Essex

It's a futuristic worn down looking location. The band goes ape shit as the song pounds on. The vocals come from behind a cage as there's cuts to some MMA stuff. Of the couple of videos so far, it's the hardest song and in my opinion, the best. The bass line is sick and they don't hold back. I'm hoping there's more stuff like THIS moving forward. It's less drama and more just rocking out and being crazy. The performance shots are energetic and the MMA shots are all high impact stuff. It flows nicely and there's not a point in the video where my attention is elsewhere. I think I'm going ADHD in my old age so that says something. Good stuff.
Rating: 8.25

Track: "Hard to See"

Album: "War Is the Answer"
Year: 2009
Director: Matt Silverman

I think I've heard this song before, which is probably not too far-fetched considering it was a big hit that was part of Rock Band, Guitar Hero, video games, and even on TNA wrestling. I may have heard the song, but the video is new to me. This video explores the deepness of when people go so far into their own world that they can't see the actual world around them. It's basically a jab at close-mindedness and what one loses out on when they don't open up. The video is crazy. It's shot very well and it's the best looking and most captivating of the band's videos so far. The band shots are cool looking and have a yellowing glow to them while the story parts are more green and blue and have a darker vibe. The contrast works. The whole aspect of the band "resurrecting" and going after the evil suits is a bit much, but I liked it. It's a tongue-in-cheek type of thing that you just have to laugh with, not at. For such an aggressive song, it's cool to see them not take themselves so seriously. If it's MEANT to be something where it's "let's be bad asses and rock out in our bad ass song" then I'm not too keen on it. But if we're supposed to be in on the joke then I'm laughing. I'll go with the positive mentality and appreciate it for what (I think) it is.
Rating: 8.0

Track: "Bad Company"

Album: "War Is the Answer"
Year: 2010
Director: Zoltan Bathory

The video is a collage of war and military clips. It's edited nicely and the filter gives it a rustic and harsh vibe, which is suitable for the environment. We get shots of the band interacting on a trip to see the troops and then shots of them rocking out while the troops rock the fuck out. The sentiment is good and the song works perfectly for the message. This kind of video has been done before. There's not a whole lot here that's not been seen before. It's just FFDP's own twist on it. The cover is good, but again, not very memorable. I mean it's really all good stuff, but not very memorable to the casual fan or viewer. Respect and all, but I don't think this video will stick with the fans as much as the actual band and troops that experienced it first-hand.
Rating: 5.5

Track: "Under and Over It"

Album: "American Capitalist"
Year: 2011
Director: Ethan Emaniquis

This band rocks out in front of flashing lights and tons of theatrics and is then cut. It's revealed to be a music video where the director tells them he "needs more attitude from the band". He is then slapped by the lead singer before the band plays again. If that's "based on a true story" I legit hope the director filed a lawsuit because that macho bullshit is uncalled for. Then I get egg on my face once I realize the narrative. The band then proceeds to rock out in random places and showing off riches and money. It's mostly a parody of excessive fame that ends with them crashing a plane and safely surviving via parachute. It's pretty tongue-in-cheek. The visuals rock. I know it's a joke, but the look of the video is nice stuff. The quick cuts, the direction, the various locations, the hot chicks, and everything is fun to watch. The band brings the energy and seems to be having fun. That translates and makes it a captivating video. It helps that the song is good too. I know it's a parody, but it's good. It's like a more modern metal version of the old "Spacelord" video by Monster Magnet but amped up A LOT.
Rating: 8.75

Track: "Remember Everything"

Album: "American Capitalist"
Year: 2012
Director: Emile Levisetti

Another serious video. This video showcases a white room where a child draws pictures. He draws his memories growing up and then he gets older as his memories mature into marriage, military, and adult life. Toss in some spaz outs and some fits of rage as he eventually dies. It's safe to assume the white room is heaven or somewhere in between the afterlife and heaven. It's a creative way to pretty much say "pay attention, life moves fast". Isn't that a paraphrased Ferris Bueller line? The shots are pretty remarkable. The director outdid everything the band has put out so far. The visuals are beautifully put together and are pretty enthralling. It's the most artistic looking video by far. I've fallen in love with movies that don't look this nice.
Rating: 9.25

Track: "Coming Down"

Album: "American Capitalist"
Year: 2012
Director: Nick Peterson

This is another super serious video that reminds me of the late 90's/early 00's. This is like a really graphic Korn or Papa Roach video. The angsty teens go crazy. One shoots himself in front of his parents and the female has an envelope, pills, and make up. It's revealed the girl throws up on the mirror and it's all a big suicide party. The parents read suicide notes, cry, and get all sad about things. We then jump to the lives before the incidents. They were beaten up, bullied, and have normal crappy lives. The video showcased the "real" stuff with violence and edgy language. I'm all for suicide prevention and have personal horrors that deal with it, but this video was just tacky and tawdry. If one was suicidal, and I've been there and felt the wrath first hand, this video would not make anyone feel better. The effort is appreciated, but this video seems a little sketchy. Other bands have pulled off the sentiment much smoother and more engaging. It's shot really well and is pretty intense, but it doesn't paint any pictures that haven't been dry for years. It's not a video to watch and enjoy. Instead it's a "watch this and learn" video. The only thing learned is that suicide happens and shouldn't. I'm afraid it'll draw more teens to the darker side than help. Teens and depressed people don't think clearly. If one was mad at their parents and wanted to ruin their lives this video would show just how badly parents would be affected by this. I'm SURE that's not what anyone wants, but it's just putting a spotlight on a bad thing without really saying how bad it is. Why not show it and then show the family and the friends for years to come? That's where the real pain harbors. Not the sudden impact or the lead up.
Rating: 6.5

Track: "The Pride"

Album: "American Capitalist"
Year: 2012
Director: Ethan Emaniquis

It's a live video. Zoltan, the guitar player explained the song meaning is "You can be a zebra or join the lion pride. You have to rebel against your circumstances, laziness and mediocrity — not the system." The description is interesting and would have been a cool narrative video if done with that kind of metaphor. The video is energetic as hell. We see the fans waiting, the band getting ready and then some great live performance shots. The camera roams around all over, the angles and cuts rock, and it's one of the best live metal videos I've seen in a LONG time. I think if you're into this kind of metal then this is a live show you really need to hit up. This kind of stuff puts these guys on my "must see" list. Whenever they get close to Chicago again, I'll try to make it out. Love the energy.
Rating: 7.5

Track: "Battle Born "

Album: "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2"
Year: 2013
Director: Emile Levisetti

It's a live video with some candid stuff mixed in. The band is quickly becoming one of the biggest road dog metal bands out there. They're on the road 10 months a year and are tearing it up. The video shows them rocking out, meeting with fans, hanging out, getting ready for shows, coming down from shows, and just doing what they do. It's well done and it's got a lot of really great shots. The pits are INSANE looking and I think this probably captures the band better than 99% of the live metal videos out there. I don't know really anything about this band, but this video makes me like them and want to hang out with them. Mission accomplished.
Rating: 9.0

Track: "House of the Rising Sun"

Album: "The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2"
Year: 2014
Director: Brian Neal, Zoltan Bathory

What a bad ass video. The roadser car does donuts in the desert until we cut to the band going crazy and hanging out with a whole bunch of hot chicks. It's like a Mad Max military type of thing with tons of partying. They pass out and wake up for a meeting with some guys in a suits. They make a deal and head out as the song kicks in. It's a really sweet cover that gives the original even more bass and balls, which you wouldn't think was possible. The dudes play cards and have a good time. It's all fun and games until some violence goes down. It's pretty much a no bullshit environment. Have fun, rock out, and do your thing. BUT if "your thing" is being an asshole you are dealt with. The video is great looking. It's like a mini-movie. Being the most recent, it's cool to see they've grown and evolved as musicians and video makers as well.
Rating: 8.5

What is YOUR favorite Five Finger Death Punch video?



I'm pretty sure if Godzilla were real that Heisenberg would dip into his own supply. Bryan Cranston's life after "Breaking Bad" moves forward with the lead role in this new take on Godzilla. The idea of a new Godzilla movie is almost cringe-worthy on paper. A big lizard going around knocking buildings down is almost comical now. Then you see a trailer like this and understand the angle they're taking with it. It seems as if science screwed up and created this monster and that we had to and have to use nukes to take the beast out. Apparently there's no luck in their efforts and Godzilla goes crazy despite Cranston's cries and pleas. The world crumbles at the beast's feet and we have to overcome. This looks like it's going to be a fun action movie where the good guy wins in the end. I'm sure they'll dig into the whole "we should stop screwing with nature" thought in the process. I don't expect much and that may be beneficial if the movie turns out half-decent. I expect Cranston to deliver enough conviction and emotion to make the outrageous plot something to connect to. Then the supporting cast includes the likes of Elizabeth Olsen, David Straithaim, and Sally Hawkins so that's a plus. It would be pretty crazy if the movie ends with Godzilla eating everyone and hanging out on the planet all be itself. If that's the ending to the movie then I will be amazed and give it a standing ovation. I highly doubt this will be the result, but it should still make a for a fun movie-going experience.

"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…

"ROH: The Shoot Fighting Fed!"

Ring of Honor was once a really promising company. They showcased amazing talent that would eventually grow and develop into the biggest names in the current era. The product was inspired and was on its way to becoming a mainstream option for wrestling fans everywhere.

Then it just wasn't. Ownership changed, creative minds were replaced with Jim Cornett, good talent left, bad talent stayed, and before we knew it the ROH was just another Indie fed but with above average internet media coverage.

Good and even potentially great wrestlers are there right now but it sadly falls under a whole "if a tree falls in a forest and no is around" category.

I blame the marketing and direction more than anything, but the actual wrestling style. It's been too sterile. It's a hybrid of spots and stiffness. While dudes like Steen and Cole are fantastic, the overall stigma of ROH feels like overly stiff exhibition matches with no soul behind them.

Instead of denying how piss poor the product is on terms of engaging entertainment, let's explore the idea of them embracing it.

ROH announces that in this bizarre mind of mine that they are abandoning the art of professional wrestling and will be a freestyle MMA company from here on out.

The fighters fight for "real" now. So it's even more "grapple-y", even less charismatic, and isolates even more potential fans.

5 three minute rounds, specific weight class mandatory rules, tag MMA matches, ring girls, and the whole thing.

Sadly this is still ROH so even these MMA fights will probably turn out as lackluster as possible.

Whatever happens, happens. ROH is a boring place.

"Runner Runner"
In this 2013 crime thriller, we rehash not-so-old ideas and put it into a not-so-original story. Justin Timberlake plays a dude who is trying to make ends meet at Princeton. He's not a rich kid like the others so he hustles students through getting them to gamble online. He's such a rascal and the pilot episode of "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" comes to mind. You know, the one where Zack and the gang put up a fake raffle to pull in cash. It's just like that. Anyway, he ends up getting in over his head and puts it all on the table in order to stay in school. He is cheated and loses all of his money. He looks into it and finds a "glitch" in the online gambling system. Enter Ben Affleck. He's the super-rich entrepreneur who owns and runs the gambling system. Timberlake confronts him and gets in his hair a bit. Affleck not only reimburses Timberlake his cash but offers him a job within his operation. This leads to a love triangle, finding out Affleck is (obviously) a dirty businessman, and typical FBI hijinks. It's like Casino meets The Social Network without any of the substance and impact of either. Brad Furman did a nice job directing the movie though. Outside of the exhausting plot and characters, he delivered style and depth within the world provided. The movie just didn't work. It's a fun ride for the hour and a half or so it's on, but none of it sticks with you. It's like an over the top rap video without a catchy chorus; all flash and hype. There wasn't much promotion for this movie and it's easy to understand why. It's too smart for the demographic that should like it and too lackluster and dull for folks who like deep crime thrillers. It's not the worst movie in the world or anything. If you want to check it out and have nothing to do, I'd say go for it. It's better than "The Great Gatsby" and other over-stylized "swanky crime" movies to come out in recent years. The performances were good, the direction was solid, and it moves at a good pace. It's just a disposable pop-culture movie that just doesn't engage beyond a single bucket of popcorn. If you have the time and the popcorn go for it! C+

That's 394! Wow. We're done to only five editions of "The Savage Animal" left? Crazy. When I said I was retiring the column at 399 I thought it would be longer, but we're getting closer and closer to taking this "Animal" out back and putting it down Ol' Yeller style. This was fun column to do. I've heard a lot about Five Finger Death Punch for a while now and never gave them a fair listen. This was a nice sampler of what they do. They're not a band I'd listen to every day, but I really enjoyed some of the stuff I heard and saw. Some stuff wasn't my thing, but all in all it was a good time. I went in with an open mind and took away some new stuff to listen to from it. That's always been the spirit of this column. Over the next five weeks I'm going to let go graciously with some columns I've always wanted to do. I'm going to be doing a "10 Artists I Never Got" where I'll explain why I don't understand or never connected with some of the most popular acts of all time. I have another column penciled in called "The Arc of The Savage Animal" where I pick two of everything before the big biblical flood hits and wipes everything away. That'll be fun. I want to fit in an interview or a big piece of a personal favorite band of mine that I DEMAND everyone give a listen to. And my final column will be a finale comparable to "MASH" and "Six Feet Under". There's a few more ideas to squeeze in there as well. Regardless, I'm sticking with the plan. 399 will the end and will come 6/4/2014. Nearly 8 years after debuting this beast in 06. I'm still going to be releasing weekly "Preview Reviews", "Random Movie Reviews", "Rant and Raves", and "Worst Case Scenarios" on DigitalLizardProductions.com. I'm also exploring the possibilities of what to fill the Savage Animal gap with. I have a few NEW ideas that could be cool and interesting. We shall see. Two concepts that come to mind off the bat are "OMG", which would be "Obviously Mike Goodpaster", a column where I'd share the thoughts and opinions that are clearly from my own twisted and silly mind. The other would be a bit more ambitious and ballsy. I have around ten screenplays under my belt and I full accept that a few of them will never go into production. Maybe the budget would be too much, it's not on par with other things I've written, or we'd just rather do something else…. Regardless, I put my heart and soul into these full length screenplays. Instead of letting them collect digital dust on my hard drives I'd just flat out share the pages with the world. I'd want to do something like put out 2 pages a day for however long it'd take to get the entire project out there. Would THAT be something anyone would want to take in? Along with watching the daily web show we provide and the numerous blogs and columns would YOU be interested in reading every day? A few pages of an on-going story? Huh? Would'ya? Would'ya? Huh? Huh? TELL ME!! Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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