There’s no clear and easy way to describe this album within the context of their discography; its not clearly better or worse, its not clearly faster or slower, its not clearly more experimental or more simplistic and there isn’t even a noticeable shift in the number of loud or soft bits compared to previous albums. Its more of the same thing that the band have always done. If you don’t mind that, then you’ll get a lot out of this record. If not, then it may not be the record for you.
Sometimes you’ll notice a lyrical idea, or a guitar part that is reminiscent of one of their old songs, which may cause a few raised eyebrows, but for the most part, the band manage to write things you haven’t heard before in a formula you’ve heard a hundred times already… rather clever really.
If you like big meaty riffs, guitar solos and plenty of rhythmic double kick patterns being mixed with radio friendly choruses, power ballads and plenty of crowd-ready parts designed to be chanted along with, that’s all still as present on this album as on any of their previous efforts. Basically; Everything you could like about American Capitalist is also represented well here.
Highlights include the brief instrumental ‘The Agony Of Regret’ and its accompanying piano-led ballad ‘Cold’ (which apparently is a remake of a song by Moody’s old band Black Blood Orchestra) as well as the punchy ‘Weight Beneath My Sin’ and ‘Matter Of Time’ which see the band mixing in types of riffs you aren’t used to in with their usual sound.
As with the previous album having an unusual cover (‘Momma Said Knock You Out’) this album ends with a version of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ which sounds exactly like you’d expect based on their cover of ‘Bad Company’ and is quite good fun.
All things considered; this album is an absolutely solid, well-made and consistent album with a big, clear production job and a lot of guitar solos. I really enjoy it on its own merits and there are some very enjoyable songs here. I don’t think it would ever become my favourite album of theirs, but its not a disappointment by any means.
It may gain some complaints over ‘staleness’ or ‘riff recycling’ from longer-time listeners, but if this was your first Five Finger Death Punch album there’s no reason that you wouldn’t love it. The only problems I can find with the album are that the formula has been well established by this stage. Its worth remembering that if they changed their style drastically though, people would complain about that too.
Overall; ‘Volume 2 is a very good record and if you like the band, but aren’t sick of them yet, then I recommend that you try it out.
**** The special edition comes with a Live DVD version of the “Purgatory:Tales From The Pit” Live CD that accompanied the previous album’s special edition. It’s a very welcome extra, although not good enough to be released as a stand-alone feature. I can understand why they kept it as a bonus feature.
There are editing, DVD-authoring and sound & picture-quality standards for a Live DVD that this doesn’t meet, and on some tracks the visuals for an outdoor show are played over the audio for an indoor show, making it feel more like a music video than a live concert, but as an extra, not having to be judged on the same standards as a an official concert release, it is worth a watch. Its enjoyable watching the band’s big budget stage show and confident live performance. My advice is that if you see the special version for a reasonable price and don’t own the album yet then pick it up, but don’t buy two copies just to get this. ****
**Oh, and if you found this review by search engine, when you discover it again on Amazon it is me posting it. It hasn’t been copied and pasted off here by a stranger, I post my reviews on Amazon as ‘Gentlegiantprog “Kingcrimsonprog.”’ So please don’t unhelpful-vote it because you thought it was stolen from me.**