Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory says the band’s ninth album is his favorite so far. “I believe AfterLife isn’t just an evolution but possibly even a paradigm shift in our career,” he tells Apple Music. “This record is so vastly different from all the previous ones, yet it is still unmistakably us.” Indeed, the meaty grooves of “Welcome to the Circus,” “Roll Dem Bones,” and “IOU” will surely satisfy longtime fans of the Las Vegas metal squad, while the album’s lyrical themes take on a global perspective. “We believe the spiritual-intellectual trajectory of the planet has been rapidly shifting, and it is changing the conversation about our ‘agreed-upon reality,’” Bathory observes. “Since every album is a time capsule, in some way AfterLife is a snapshot of that change, so naturally it was destined to be different.” Because FFDP vocalist and lyricist Ivan Moody doesn’t like to explain his lyrics, Bathory walks us through his thoughts on the tracks. “It’s a picture of what the words mean to me, as I am, too, just one of the listeners when it comes to the lyrics,” he says. “Of course, I probably have a better guess than most, but the magic of this is that it’s still just a guess, which leaves space for your own interpretation.” “Welcome to the Circus” “This is a straight-up arena banger plowing through a not-so-subtle social commentary about the epic clown show we are all living in today. Addicted to likes and thumbs-ups, people really will do just about anything for that digital dopamine.” “AfterLife” “At one point, you’ll have to decide if the world is happening to you, or you are happening to the world. Time to move past the ‘prayers and wishes’ and actually use that free will you were fortunate to be born with and do something. Make your plans your wishes and make your actions your prayers. You are here to manifest. Your time is short here on Earth. You don’t wanna wait for the higher power to intervene on your behalf.” “Times Like These” “It’s the artistic way of saying a giant turd-meteor is on a collision course with the fan and almost everyone is ignoring it. The world is too noisy or too busy to notice, let alone care. You wanna grab and shake people and wake them up, but it seems futile, so you just have to let it burn.” “Roll Dem Bones” “It’s an old-school Five Finger Death Punch smasher. Musically speaking, it’s a flashback to our first two records. It’s about that moment when you finally smash the eject button. Sometimes you just have to get rid of certain ideas, ideals, situations—or just the wrong people from your circle.” “Pick Up Behind You” “Everybody has that one friend or relative that keeps stumbling and falling down. You have to pick them up and glue the pieces back together, but they keep doing it and it’s harder and harder to be there for them. The more you care, the more damage they cause—and yet, out of loyalty, you pick them up anyway.” “Judgment Day” “This is one of the most adventurous songs on the record. Sort of a musical kaleidoscope of sacred geometry, Hemi-Synched minds, and the strange world of the machine-elves. Something you will all experience when Judgment Day comes and you cross into the afterlife. Were you good, bad, an angel, the devil, or a saint—it all ends the same.” “IOU” “This track is about entitlement. The world owes you absolutely nothing. So, just like every other creature that was ever born, you just have to stop whining and figure out how to survive. Between the lines, I think I can hear Ivan extending his middle finger toward some well-deserving individuals.” “Thanks for Asking” “Metaphorically speaking, what is your heaven and what is your hell? Sometimes the line gets blurred between the two. You all have been in that relationship, friendship, or job where you stayed much longer than you should have because, most likely, you got addicted to the drama or the pain. Heaven or hell, you can’t tell which is which.” “Blood and Tar” “Ivan is throwing some verbal darts in this one. In every situation, everyone has their own perception about past events—everyone is either taking credit for certain things or pointing fingers at each other and passing the blame. But when and if they realize that we—people in general—are all mad in some way, then ‘life stands explained.’” “All I Know” “You don’t think you are crazy, but how would you know? There is that moment when you start maniacally laughing into the face of adversity because you have been living in hell so long that nothing can scare you anymore. ‘The devil you fear is all I’ve ever known.’ If you recognize that you hit rock bottom and the only way is up, then you have nothing to lose and there is a lot of power in that.” “Gold Gutter” “This one is another old-school piece. It’s about the outcasts and the black sheep, the ones who were not born with the silver spoon in their mouth. No matter how far you came, how far you are reaching up, you never forget, and ‘they’ will never let you forget where you came from. So, even if your fist is in the gold, your foot will always be in the gutter. And that’s OK.” “The End” “On Earth, there are no survivors. Death takes out everyone. Both physically and metaphorically, everything is trying to kill you; everything is trying to take you out—be that your life, job, career, social position…you are always under attack, there is always a struggle. ‘The End’ is about the acceptance of the battle we have had to wage from the moment we came into the world. So, let the arrows fly—we won’t go down easy. It’s not over until it’s over.”

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